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Contact: Denise Germann, 406-888-5838
WEST GLACIER, MT. Officials at Glacier National Park announced that public scoping has begun for a proposal to expand the Apgar Transit Center parking lot, improve parking at Apgar Village, and relocate visitor center operations to the Apgar Transit Center.
Inadequate parking at Apgar has led to congested streets and heavy crowding between pedestrians, traffic, and vehicles parked both on and off the roadway. During the summer when visitation is highest, existing parking lots are nearly always full, parking for RV’s and towing units is limited, RV’s parked at the boat launch inhibit access to the dock and boat ramp, and vehicles parked overnight take up valuable parking space. Previous improvements have alleviated some parking issues, but have not fully addressed the problem. Park planning documents call for additional actions, and the park has now identified a number of locations where new parking may be developed.
Additionally, the park plans to move visitor center operations from Apgar Village to the Apgar Transit Center just north of the Going-to-the-Sun Road (GTSR) and Camas T-intersection. The existing visitor contact center in Apgar Village is too small to accommodate a high number of visitors and will be closed. Plans for appropriate use of this vacant space have not yet begun. The new visitor center within the Apgar Transit Center will contain more interpretive exhibits, offer educational programs, and provide information. A small addition to the existing transit center structure may be required.
The existing parking lot at the Apgar Transit Center was designed to provide parking for visitors using the transit system and is too small to accommodate additional parking once visitor center operations are relocated to the transit center. The park is therefore proposing an expansion to the parking lot. The NPS is preparing an environmental assessment (EA) for the proposed expansion, which would affect approximately 2.0 acres of adjacent lodgepole pine forest. Public scoping is the first step involving the public in the environmental assessment process.
To date, two alternatives have been identified: 1) take no action, and 2) expand the Apgar Transit Center parking lot.
At this time, the NPS does not find it necessary to prepare an EA for additional parking at Apgar Village, nor for the relocation of visitor center operations since these actions were identified in previous NEPA documents. But the NPS is welcoming public comment on both actions to determine if there are any new resource concerns that were not identified in the original environmental impact statements.
A public meeting is scheduled for September 7, 2011 from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the Apgar Transit Center in Glacier National Park. Presentations will be given at 3:30 and 5:00 p.m. Comments and concerns regarding the proposed project should be submitted online by Thursday, September 15, 2011 at www.parkplanning.nps.gov/ApgarTransitParking, or mailed to Superintendent Glacier National Park, Attn: Apgar Transit Center Parking EA and Apgar Parking Plan, PO Box 128, West Glacier, MT, 59936.
There will be another opportunity to comment on the project when the EA is completed.