January 23, 2017
Contact: Nathan Hale Sargent
SAN FRANCISCO -- The National Park Service fulfilled the next step toward the future of Alcatraz Ferry Embarkation today with the release of a Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for establishing a long-term embarkation site for passenger service between the northern San Francisco waterfront and Alcatraz Island. The Port of San Francisco is a cooperating agency for the EIS.
The Final EIS evaluates four alternatives for a ferry embarkation site and identifies Pier 31½ as the Preferred Alternative. The Preferred Alternative would also allow for limited ferry service between Pier 31½ and the historic pier at Fort Baker in Sausalito and interpretive cruises to Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) parklands around San Francisco Bay.
This action would create an identifiable and high quality visitor welcome and support area that connects visitors to Alcatraz Island, other GGNRA sites, and the national park system in general. This action is needed to alleviate visitor confusion, community concerns, inconsistency in visitor support services, and constraints of the existing site’s current lease provisions.
“The National Park Service is pleased to have reached another important milestone to establish a long-term Alcatraz visitor welcome area and embarkation point,” said Craig Kenkel, acting general superintendent of Golden Gate National Recreation Area. “We look forward to continuing work with our partners, the Port and City of San Francisco, as well as the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, to make this important project a reality.”
The Preferred Alternative would expand the current operation at the Port of San Francisco’s Pier 31½ beyond the wharf between Piers 31 and 33, to include portions of the adjacent pier structures. This alternative includes rehabilitating the historic bulkhead buildings that front the Embarcadero and constructing a second ramp and float to support ferry travel to other GGNRA sites.
The Final EIS addresses substantive comments received on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement published in 2015 and meets compliance requirements under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). Based on extensive review and public comment, the National Park Service is not proposing to construct improvements to support or to implement special ferry service at Fort Mason.
The proposal to site the ferry facility at Pier 31½ has been approved tentatively by the Port and City of San Francisco. The Port and National Park Service have begun subsequent planning to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and NHPA.
Consistent with National Environmental Policy Act, the National Park Service will execute a Record of Decision (ROD) no sooner than 30 days following publication of the Notice of Availability of the Final EIS in the Federal Register by the Environmental Protection Agency. When signed, the ROD will also be published in the Federal Register and available on https://parkplanning.nps.gov/AlcatrazFerry.
Signing of the ROD brings NPS a major step closer to releasing a prospectus for the next ferry concession contract. The National Park Service will continue to engage the public with timely information on future planning and design activities. Interested parties are encouraged to sign up for email updates at this link.
For further information please visit https://parkplanning.nps.gov/AlcatrazFerry.
B-roll and images of Port 31 1/2 available here