At any given time, staff at Shenandoah National Park may be working on tens of projects. These range from small maintenance and repair efforts to major projects like the re-design, fabrication, and installation of exhibits at the Byrd Visitor Center. In some cases, projects are one-time efforts while others are ongoing, such as the effort to eradicate and control exotic plants in the park. Many of these projects have very limited environmental and cultural resource impacts. They are therefore considered to be Categorical Exclusions or exemptions and within the authority of the National Park Service to complete without public involvement. Even so, review does occur within the agency and with selected other authorities such as the State Historic Preservation Office and, on occasion, public input is sought.
When the extent of environmental and cultural resource impacts is unknown or deemed more significant, the National Park Service is required to prepare an environmental assessment (EA). Public comment is one of the initial steps in the preparation of an EA. If a project is very complex, has many environmental impacts, or is determined to be highly controversial, the Service is required to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) instead of an EA. Very few projects meet the requirements for preparation of an EIS.
Because multiple EAs are often underway at one time and because each is progressing on its own timeline, the easiest way to determine what planning is currently underway in the park is to consult the Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) system. You will find a current list of plans at that website. You will also find instructions on how to make comments during the various stages when the planning process is receiving comments.