August 30, 2007
Contact: Patty Dorris 573-323-4236, ext. 225
For Immediate Release
Ozark National Scenic Riverways Superintendent Noel Poe announced on Friday, August 24, that the Midwest Regional Office in Omaha has approved the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Environmental Assessment (EA) on the Flying W Plans.
The EA was released for 30 days of public review on June 5, 2007. The EA proposed three alternatives, plus a no action alternative. The ONSR preferred alternative was to provide one good road into the Flying W area and close and re-contour and re-vegetate all the other roads on the old Vogel Ranch site. In addition, the river fords below Bluff School and near the Flying W Bluff would be closed to motor vehicles. The horse trail that currently follows the river on an old river road would be re-located on a bench about 100 yards away from the river and is approximately three-quarters of a mile. This alternative was approved in the FONSI.
Poe stated that about 46 individual comments and a petition with 1027 signatures were received during the public review process. The comments ranged from "do nothing" to "close the entire Flying W Ranch to vehicles and let the public walk into the area." The petition was focused on not moving the horse trail but to allow horse riders to continue to use the trail adjacent to the river.
Poe also stated that the changes approved in the FONSI are necessary to protect the natural and cultural resources. He stressed that this section of the park will remain open for horseback use and that riders can continue to ride through the old ranch site on designated trail and on roads that are open to motor vehicles. The designated horse trail uses the river fords below Bluff School and near the Flying W Bluff and riders can continue to cross the river using these fords.
Copies of the FONSI are available through the park.