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Contact: Jim Nepstad, 563-873-3491 ext 101
Effigy Mounds National Monument to Initiate Targeted Development Review
Planning Effort to Decide Fate of Boardwalks, Other Infrastructure
On October 17, the National Park Service (NPS) will begin accepting comments in advance of a public planning effort aimed at deciding the fate of infrastructure constructed within Effigy Mounds National Monument between 1999 and 2009. This planning effort will result in a document titled Targeted Development Review and Environmental Assessment (TDR/EA) for Effigy Mounds National Monument. An initial scoping period, in which park stakeholders and the general public are invited to share their thoughts and comments prior to the NPS developing any formal alternatives, will run from October 17 through November 18.
The Targeted Development Review will focus on two boardwalks, three bridges, the foundation of a modern hoop structure, and railings at the Fire Point Overlook. All of this infrastructure was constructed between 1999 and 2009 without proper compliance with the requirements of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act. “Whether we keep this infrastructure or remove it, we want to make sure our decision making process faithfully fulfills the requirements of the law,” said Superintendent Jim Nepstad.
One of the two boardwalks to be addressed by the planning effort stretches between the bridge adjacent to the Visitor Center and Tree Mounds. The other is the Yellow River boardwalk, which extends for roughly a half-mile from the Visitor Center area through the wetlands on both sides of the Yellow River.
The bridges the TDR/EA will consider include the pedestrian bridge spanning the yellow River along the Yellow River boardwalk, and two pedestrian bridges towards the northern end of the Hanging Rock trail.
A modern hoop structure was constructed in the park’s North Unit in 2007 to store mowing equipment. While it is currently dismantled, the foundation remains. The TDR/EA will determine whether this structure remains, or if removed, to what degree we will rehabilitate the area.
Finally, ironwood railings were installed at the Fire Point Overlook in 2004. Prior to this installation, no railing had been in place at this location in its 50+ year history. The ironwood railings altered the scenic view from the overlook and cannot be reliably strength-tested, making them vulnerable to breaking unpredictably when visitors lean, stand, or sit on them. The plan will guide the decision on whether or remove the railings entirely-restoring the pre-2004 appearance to the overlook – or replace them with something more substantial and reliable.
Park staff will be hosting a pair of open houses in order to describe the planning effort, answer questions, and gather comments from the public prior to preparing a draft TDR/EA. The first meeting will be held on October 25, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm at the Marquette City Hall, located at 102 North Street in Marquette, Iowa. The second meeting will be held on October 26, from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the Effigy Mounds National Monument Visitor Center, located 3 miles north of Marquette on Highway 76.
Comments received will inform the NPS as alternatives and a proposed approach are crafted over the course of this winter. At this time, it is believed that a Draft Targeted Development Review and Environmental Assessment will be available for public review and comment before the spring of 2017.
How to Comment: Beginning October 17, comments may be submitted electronically at the project home page at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/efmotdr, or mailed to the park at Effigy Mounds National Monument, 151 HWY 76, Harpers Ferry, IA 52146. To receive consideration, comments must be received by the end of the day on November 18, 2016. For more information, or for questions about the planning process, please contact Superintendent Jim Nepstad at e-mail us or 563-873-3491, extension 101.