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Park Superintendent Martha Bogle announced today that the public is invited to review and comment on the revised Shenandoah National Park Rock Outcrop Management Plan (ROMP) and Environmental Assessment (EA).
The EA has been prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to provide the decision framework for the following:
• analysis of a reasonable range of alternatives to meet management objectives
• evaluation of potential issues and impacts to natural and cultural resources and values and the human environment
• identification of mitigation measures to lessen the degree of those impacts.
Shenandoah National Park has completed an extensive three-year project to inventory the natural resources of, and assess recreation use and impacts to, rock outcrops and cliff areas in the park. The results are a Rock Outcrop Management Plan and Climbing Management Guidelines that meet the park mission's goal to preserve resources and allow recreation activities at an acceptable level of impact. The plans are based on scientific inventories and research, which involved hikers, climbers, nature enthusiasts, and other park supporters who could be affected by park management decisions.
The National Park Service encourages public participation through the NEPA process. The public has the opportunity to comment on the EA until December 13, 2012. The EA is available for review and comment online at the National Park Service park planning website http://parkplanning.nps.gov/shen. Comments may be posted online or sent to: Superintendent, Shenandoah National Park, Attention: ROMP EA, 3655 U.S. Highway 211 East, Luray, VA, 22835.
The National Park Service released the original ROMP EA on October 1, 2007, but suspended review of that document due to technical problems. The document was released again on November 18, 2008, for a full 30-day review period. Public comments received during this review period were compiled and responded to by park staff; however, the EA administrative process was delayed at the park level. The delay was due to the need for revisions to the climbing management guideline. These issues have been addressed with minor edits, and this latest review is provided to allow the public an opportunity to comment on these changes. Comments received from the public on the 2007 and 2008 releases have been retained and will be considered by park staff.