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Contact: Sharon Kim, (907) 422-0546
An Environmental Assessment (EA) evaluating alternatives for the feasibility of an interagency multi-modal trail along the Herman Leirer Road is now available for public comment.A multi-use trail (bicycle, pedestrian and ski) is being considered along the Herman Leirer Road, starting from the Seward Highway and ending at the Exit Glacier Nature Center in Kenai Fjords National Park. The approximately 8.2 mile trail would pass through public lands and right-of-ways managed by the State of Alaska, United States Forest Service, and National Park Service.No private lands would be involved, but in some areas private lands would be adjacent to the trail corridor. This environmental assessment analyzes the impacts of different trail routing concept alternatives.
The purpose of the project is to increase the recreational opportunities and public safety along Herman Leirer Road.Project goals are to provide increased safety and a more enjoyable recreational experience for both trail users and road users by separating conflicting uses. Project alternatives would create a non-motorized, multi-modal trail along the Herman Leirer Road corridor for use either in short sections or in its entire length.
It is important to note that at this time there is not a funded project to construct any of the proposed alternatives. This EA will serve as a common vision for state, federal, and local agencies as well as organizations to pursue funding for such a project by any number of sources. Funding the entire trail through a single funded project may not be possible and each agency may need to seek funding for their respective segments over a period of several years. The goal of this multi-modal trail which traverses across a variety of public lands and right-of-ways is to offer an outstanding visitor experience while protecting the resources over which each agency has responsibility.
The environmental assessment analyzes a range of one no action alternative and three action alternatives for consideration:
Alternative A - No Action - No designated trail for non-motorized use
No designated trail exists and non-motorized travelers use the paved road or road edge for bicycling, skiing, mushing, and pedestrian travel.
Alternative B - Meandering Separated Trail (Preferred Alternative)A non-motorized trail would be designed and constructed for use by pedestrians, mountain bikes (bicycles), skiers and mushers. A 10 to 12 foot wide soft surface pathway that meanders farther from the road would be constructed with a number of new trail bridges separated from the road.
Alternative C - Minimum Separation Roadside TrailA 12 foot wide soft pathway would be added to the north side of Herman Leirer Road (using existing trails when feasible), separated from the road by a 5 foot vegetated buffer.Connections to existing trails would be improved.
Alternative D - No Separation Road Edge Trail and Upgrades to Existing TrailsFor most of the length of the corridor, the existing road (currently with 12 foot wide driving lanes and 4 foot paved shoulders) would be reconfigured and restriped to 10 foot driving lanes and 6 foot paved shoulders marked as bicycle lanes. Existing hiking trails would be upgraded to soft surface trails suitable for pedestrians, hikers, off-road cyclists and non-motorized winter uses.
The National Park Service has published a draft EA entitled " Herman Leirer Multi-Modal Trail Feasibility Study Environmental Assessment."It is available at http://parkplanning.nps.gov.The EA was completed in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and the regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality (40 CFR 1508.9).
Comments on the EA may be submitted through Friday, June 7, 2013, preferably via the website, http://parkplanning.nps.gov. Comments may also be faxed to (907) 422-0571, or mailed to: Superintendent, Kenai Fjords National Park, ATTN: Herman Leirer Trail EA, P.O. Box 1727, Seward, AK 99664