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Contact: Maureen Oltrogge, 928-638-7779
Contact: Paula Homan, 928-638-7956
Contact: Laura Shearin, 928-638-7351
Grand Canyon, Ariz. – The National Park Service (NPS) is developing an Environmental Assessment (EA) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to analyze potential changes to concession operations at Grand Canyon National Park.
These changes could be implemented during the next contract term for visitor hospitality services on the South Rim. The NPS will complete the EA prior to issuing a prospectus for the future South Rim visitor hospitality services contract. Issues that will be addressed in the EA include improvements to visitor services, concessioner operations and concession employee housing. The NPS is accepting comments from the public as a first step in the EA planning process. Comments will be accepted for a period of 30 days and will be due by March 11, 2010.
The planning process will consider the following:
Among other things, the park will explore improvements to visitor services that would result from converting an employee dining room currently located in Bright Angel Lodge to visitor use. In addition the EA will explore the creation of additional visitor parking for the Maswik Cabins. Maswik South lodging, one of several Maswik lodging facilities, is at the end of its useful life; therefore, demolition and reconstruction of this facility will be evaluated. The EA will also evaluate the relocation of employee housing currently located in Trailer Village, an area adjacent to Mather Campground which offers visitor RV sites.
Concessioner Employee Needs
The park’s 1995 General Management Plan (GMP) calls for the conversion of Colter Hall, Victor Hall, Victor Annex, and the historic Maswik Motor Court Cabins from employee housing into visitor lodging. At the time the GMP was written, the NPS anticipated displaced employees would be relocated outside the park in Tusayan. However, housing outside the park is not a feasible option at this time; therefore, the EA will consider locations where additional housing needs can be met in the park.
Concessioner Operational Needs
The EA will evaluate facility improvements including separating NPS and concessioner fueling facilities, and reassigning the NPS maintenance yard, near Albright Avenue and Center Road, for concessioner warehouse, maintenance, and office space, as outlined in the GMP. A new kennel annex to house stray animals will also be assessed. This EA will also consider relocating the concessioner laundry operation outside the park, and reuse or demolition of the current laundry facility.
The NPS encourages public participation throughout the NEPA process during which the public has two opportunities to formally comment on the project – once during initial project scoping and again following the release of the EA.
Written comments may be submitted at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/grca or mailed to: Steve Martin, Superintendent, Grand Canyon National Park, Attn: Concessions EA, P.O. Box 129 (1 Village Loop for express mail), Grand Canyon, AZ 86023 by March 11, 2010. Additional information about this project can be found at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/grca or by contacting Paula Homan, Project Planning Lead, at 928-638-7956 or Laura Shearin, Project Manager, at 928-638-7351.