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(MAMMOTH CAVE NATIONAL PARK – January 24, 2008) Superintendent Patrick Reed announced today that the park is seeking public input through March 24, on the Draft Comprehensive Trail Management Plan (Plan) for Mammoth Cave National Park. A public open house is scheduled Thursday, February 7, 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the Mammoth Cave Hotel to receive written comments and answer questions.
“The Park staff has drafted the plan and its environmental assessment,” said Reed. “Five alternatives were identified and evaluated, which led to the selection of a preferred alternative. Now it’s time for the public to look it over and let us know if the Plan adequately represents their interests.”
The planning process began in June 2006, when the park held a public meeting to gather information to determine the scope of the trail plan: visitor use issues; facility issues; maintenance issues; and administrative issues. Subsequently, to address these issues, the Park identified a wide range of alternatives; five were chosen to be included. The five alternatives were evaluated through a “value analysis” decision-making process to reach the Preferred Alternative.
“We want the public to review all the alternatives, not just the one designated as preferred” added Reed. “The public’s perspective may give us new insight, new concepts that we have not considered. This Plan is still in draft form and subject to change based on public comments.”
A summary of the alternatives are listed below:
Alternative #1: this is the No Action Alternative. It is required by National Environmental Policy Act to serve as a baseline for comparing other alternatives. In some cases the best solution to a problem is in taking no action, leaving a situation at the status quo. However, in this trail plan, the No Action Alternative is not acceptable.
Alternative #2: this alternative would allow bicyclists to use Sal Hollow, Buffalo, and a portion of Turnhole Bend (north) trails all year. All northside trails would be designated for hikers and horse users.
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Alternative #3: this alternative would permit horse use on Sal Hollow from June through October (during the driest months of the year); except for this restriction, horses would be allowed on all other northside trails. Hikers are allowed on all trails. Bicyclists would be allowed on Sal Hollow, Buffalo, and a portion of Turnhole Bend (north) trails all year.
Alternative #4: this alternative proposes a new six-mile, single-track loop trail which would be constructed east of the Green River Ferry Road-North for bicycle and hiker use only. All other northside trails would be designated for hikers and horse users.
Alternative #5, PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE: this alternative would establish First Creek Trail for bicyclist and hiker use only. All other north side trails would be designated for hikers and horse users.
Common to all the alternatives:
• A new 1.5-mile connector trail between Maple Springs Trailhead, Raymer Hollow Trail, Maple Springs Group Campground, and the Mammoth Cave International Center for Science and Learning would be developed; portions of it would be a shared use trail.
• A special regulation would be promulgated to authorize bicycle use on designated trails.
• Improvements will be made to trailheads/parking areas to better accommodate backcountry users in association with changes in designated use and anticipated patterns of increased visitation.
• The trailhead and trail access at Good Spring United Baptist Church will be eliminated; road access to the church and cemetery will remain. Connector trails would be developed to replace the trail access eliminated at the church.
To view the Plan:
The entire draft Comprehensive Trail Management Plan may be viewed online at https://parkplanning.nps.gov, or from the park website (www.nps.gov/maca) click on the management folder. For those who do not have web access, a hard copy may be obtained from the Park through the Superintendent’s Office by calling 270.758.2189, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comments may be submitted via the National Park Service Planning, Environment & Public Comment (PEPC) website at https://parkplanning.nps.gov; click on Mammoth Cave National Park from the drop down menu; or comments may be emailed to email@example.com. Written comments may also be submitted to Mammoth Cave National Park, Attn: Vickie Carson, P.O. Box 7, Mammoth Cave, KY 42259. Use of the PEPC website will reduce mailing costs and employee workload.
It is the practice of the NPS to make all comments, including the names and addresses of respondents who provide comments, available for public review. Individuals may request that the NPS withhold their name and/or address from public disclosure. If you wish to do this, you must state this prominently at the beginning of your comment. Commentators using the PEPC website can make such a request by checking the box “keep my contact information private.” The NPS will honor such requests to the extent allowable by law, but you should be aware that the NPS may still be required to disclose your name and address pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act.
Questions? Contact Vickie Carson, Public Information Officer, 270.758.2192.
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