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Contact: Ken Woody, 406)-638-3216
Crow Agency, MT – The National Park Service recently finalized its plan to approve a new visitor center and 7,000-square-foot curation facility for Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. The next step, before construction can begin, will be to secure funding.
“This is the first big step of many for a new visitor center and curation facility that will improve interpretive and educational programming at the monument,” said Wayne Challoner, Superintendent. “Tribal input was a critical component of the planning process and will continue to play a significant role as we work through the design and construction phase.”
The current visitor center is at risk for flooding and does not have appropriate fire suppression mechanisms in place to meet curatorial standards to house sensitive artifacts, but is safe for public use. The vast majority of artifacts key in telling the story of Little Bighorn were temporarily moved to the Western Archaeological and Conservation Center in 2011 where they remain in curation and available for study.
In 2014, NPS initiated a public planning process to review the visitor center in an environmental assessment (EA). During that process, affiliated tribes and the general public were given the opportunity to provide comments. NPS used their input to finalize the plan, and on Feb. 19, 2019, signed a Finding of No Significant Impact. The plan gives way to begin applying for funding. The new visitor center will maintain the same footprint as the existing visitor center and is estimated at $11.4 million. The cost analysis for the curation facility is slated to begin summer 2019.
Funding for such a plan will likely take a few years. Once approved, the park will conduct outreach to the public and affiliated tribes, providing opportunities for engagement during the Visitor Center design process. The outreach would focus on feedback for design concepts and/or other key design milestones.
About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees carefor America’s 419 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.
Last updated: March 29, 2019