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Contact: Gene Wesloh, (606) 246-1054
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park is in the process of updating the park fire management plan. The current fire management plan does not allow for management of wildland fire for multiple objectives in appropriate zones within the park. Additionally, the current plan does not include evaluation of fire management activities within the 4,000 acres that have been added to the park since 2008. A draft environmental assessment is being prepared along with the fire management plan to analyze the effects of the fire management activities on the human environment and provide an opportunity for public input in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA).
Chief Ranger Gene Wesloh explains, “National Park Service Policy requires the park to have an updated and approved fire management plan before changes can be made to the way the park manages wildland fires, and public input is an important part of this process.”
Two alternatives are being evaluated in the draft environmental assessment:
No Action Alternative: Under this alternative the park would maintain the status quo with regard to unplanned ignitions and the fire management plan would not be updated. Use of prescribed fire and mechanical treatments would continue at current levels within the park.
Proposed Action Alternative: The Proposed Action would allow for implementation of a full range of fire management activities, including wildland fire suppression, the management of wildfire for multiple objectives, and fuels management (prescribed fire/mechanical treatments) within the entire park.
A 30 day public review period for the draft environmental assessment opens Monday, August 8th, 2016. All comments must be submitted by Tuesday, September 6th, 2016.
Comments can be submitted online at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/cuga. Those preferring to submit a written response can do so at:
Superintendent, Cumberland Gap NHP
Attn: Fire Management Plan
91 Bartlett Park Road
Middlesboro, KY 40965
A public meeting, during which comments can also be submitted, will be held at the park visitor center on Tuesday, August 30th, 2016 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Questions concerning this project can be addressed to Park Superintendent Sula Jacobs at the address above or by connecting with Chief Ranger Gene Wesloh at 606-246-1054.