Public Review for Environmental Assessment for Bridge to Blue Blazes Parking Lot

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Date: November 17, 2013

Public Review for the Environmental Assessment for the Bridge to the Blue Blazes Parking Lot at Catoctin Mountain Park

See news release.

The Federal Highway Administration, Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division (EFLHD), in coordination with the National Park Service (NPS), has made available for public and regulatory review the Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Bridge to the Blue Blazes Parking Lot. This project would repair/reconstruct the bridge to the Blue Blazes Parking Lot at the visitor center and proposes to replace the culvert over Blue Blazes Creek at the entrance to Camp Misty Mount in Catoctin Mountain Park.

Several years of damage culminated in a spring 2011 heavy rainfall and high water event in Blue Blazes Creek causing the severe damage and collapse of a wing wall. The bridge to the Blue Blazes Parking Lot is not currently passable on its own. A temporary Bailey bridge, a prefabricated, portable truss bridge, was loaned to the park from Frederick County and has been installed over the existing bridge to maintain vehicle and pedestrian access to/from the Blue Blazes Parking Lot. The Bailey bridge is not a permanent solution and could be removed by Frederick County at any time.

This EA examines four alternatives: a no action alternative (alternative 1) and proposed improvements (alternatives 2, 3, and 4). Alternatives 3 and 4 each include two design alternatives (identified in the document as alternative 3A, 3B, 4A, and 4B, respectively). The NPS has identified alternative 3A as their preferred alternative because this alternative best meets the project's purpose and objectives and would result in the fewest impacts on natural, cultural, and aesthetic resources and visitor experience. The preferred alternative would include replacing the bridge to the Blue Blazes Parking Lot with a new 30-foot-long concrete deck bridge that is approximately 22 feet, 8 inches wide and equipped with timber rails on either side. The existing bridge deck and historic wingwalls would be removed and replaced with new wingwalls, to be constructed as close to the former location as possible.

The ongoing participation of the public is very important to the success of this project. Information about the project and the EA will be posted on the NPS Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website at: starting November 18, 2013. We welcome your input on the EA. To share your thoughts, ideas, and concerns with us, we encourage you to comment electronically via the NPS PEPC website. You are also welcome to mail comments directly to:

P. Scott Bell
Chief of Resource Management
Catoctin Mountain Park
6602 Foxville Road
Thurmont, MD 21788

Comments are requested no later than the public review period on December 23, 2013.

Please note:

Before including an address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment including your personal identifying information may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

Catoctin Mountain Park is one of 402 units administered by the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. Correspondence should be addressed to: Superintendent, Catoctin Mountain Park, 6602 Foxville Road, Thurmont, MD 21788. Our website address is calls should be directed to the National Capital Region Communications Center at 1-866-677-6677. The Visitor Center is open from 9:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. daily.

Last updated: May 16, 2018

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Mailing Address:

6602 Foxville Road
Thurmont, MD 21788


(301) 663-9388

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