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The National Park Service (NPS) is proposing the construction of a new visitor contact station at Loft Mountain within Shenandoah National Park. The NPS will be preparing an Environmental Assessment (EA) in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the National Historic Preservation Act, and is soliciting input from organizations, agencies, and individuals as part of the scoping process for the purpose of identifying the range of issues and resources that should be addressed in the EA as well as potential alternatives for project.
The proposed Loft Mountain Visitor Contact Station project consists of the construction of a 1,610 sq. ft., one story building just south of the Loft Mountain Wayside dining room. The new visitor contact station would provide visitor information, office space, and restrooms (men's, women's and a single unisex/family). The primary purposes of the proposed facility are to: 1) house a small visitor information/sales center (Loft Mountain Information Center), 2) provide office and workspace for up to four employees to staff information center and provide ranger programs at Loft Mountain Campground, 3) provide a Discovery Station exhibit on "global climate change", 4) provide a location for external orientation panels and 5) prepare for a future winterized family bathroom in the south district of the park.
The new building will be connected visually and physically to the current outdoor eating area and take advantage of the scenic valley view to the west. The architecture will be similar to other Shenandoah NP buildings, such as Dickey Ridge Visitor Center Comfort Station, Byrd Visitor Center Comfort Station, and the Rockfish Entrance Station. The public restroom will provide a flush toilet/waterless urinal, sink, and baby changing station. The project will also demolish the existing cinderblock restroom building, replacing it with a designed landscape visible from the Skyline Drive.
The proposed project will provide a strong connection between the existing restaurant and the new information center through a designed landscape, plaza, renovated parking area, and outdoor exhibitry. Passive seating areas and viewshed-oriented decking will provide opportunities for contemplative recreation and enjoyment of the redesigned space.
The public is invited to submit comments, questions, or concerns about the proposed project electronically through the NPS Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website (http://parkplanning.nps.gov/shen) or in writing to the address shown below. Please submit your comments on or by April 20, 2009.