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SOURCE: Federal Register, September 6, 2000.
National Park Service
Revised Draft Environmental Impact Statement and General Management Plan
Death Valley National Park,
Inyo and San Bernardino Counties, California, Nye and Esmeralda Counties, Nevada;
Notice of Availability
SUMMARY: Pursuant to section 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental
Policy Act of 1969 (Pub. L. 91-190, as amended), the National Park
Service, Department of the Interior, has prepared a Revised Draft
Environmental Impact Statement (REIS) identifying and evaluating
potential impacts of a proposed General Management Plan (GMP) for Death
Valley National Park. This document provides updated and revised
information that was prepared largely as a result of public comments on the original Draft EIS/GMP
that was released in September 1998. Death Valley is a unit of the
National Park System, created by Congress on October 31, 1994, in the
California Desert Protection Act. The REIS/GMP also includes a draft
Land Protection Plan (LPP) that addresses management options for non-
federal lands that exist inside the park boundary. The LPP and REIS
were prepared as a component of the Northern and Eastern Mojave
Planning Effort (NEMO), a coordinated interagency project involving the
National Park Service (NPS), Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service. The NPS anticipates that this document could
proceed separately from other components of this coordinated planning
effort, and separate Records of Decision will be prepared accordingly.
The REIS identifies and evaluates the environmental consequences of a
proposed action and two alternatives. No significant adverse
environmental impacts are anticipated. When approved the GMP will serve
as the overall management strategy for the next 10-15 years, under
which more detailed activity or implementation plans are prepared as
Proposal: This REIS/GMP presents the proposed management approach
and two alternatives for the management of the park. The proposed
action (Alternative 1) seeks to extend the existing management
strategies that are in place for the previous national monument, and to
apply the NPS mission and policies to the management of the resources
within the new lands added to Death Valley in 1994 by the California
Desert Protection Act. It also strives to incorporate the existing
Congressional designation of 95% of the park as Wilderness into the
management approach. This alternative addresses the removal of feral
burros and horses from the park in order to achieve the NPS mission of
managing the unit for native desert species. It also recognizes the
need to work cooperatively with the Bureau of Land Management on
adjacent land, where their mandate from Congress is to maintain viable
herds of wild horses and burros. This alternative attempts to balance
the preservation of resources mission with specific mandates from
Congress. In Death Valley, the California Desert Protection Act
provides for the continuation of grazing on the new lands. This
alternative addresses grazing as a component of the management. This
plan identifies a number of activity level plans needed to address site
specific issues, such as the Saline Valley Warm Springs management and
a backcountry/wilderness management plan. This alternative seeks
funding for purchase of private property from willing sellers, or/and
mineral interests where proposed uses conflict with the primary mission
of preserving resources and providing for visitor enjoyment.
Alternatives: In addition to the proposal, this conservation
planning and environmental impact analysis process also addressed the
alternative of continuing existing management (no action), and an
optional management approach. The existing management alternative
(Alternative 2) describes the continuation of current management
strategies. It is also commonly referred to as the status quo
alternative. Under this alternative, existing visitor and
administrative support services and facilities would be maintained in
their current locations. There would be no change in road maintenance,
although some roads might be improved if funding became available. No
changes in recreation use would occur. Land acquisition would focus on
obtaining funds to acquire private property and mineral interests from
willing sellers only where proposed uses conflict with the park mission.
The optional approach (Alternative 3) provides for closure of the
airstrips at Saline Valley Warm Springs, designating campsites at the
Warm Springs, and specifies acquisition of private land or mineral
interests only in sensitive habitats and the phase out of the
concession operation at Stovepipe Wells.
Comments: Printed or CD-ROM copies of the REIS are available for
public review at park headquarters, as well as at many public libraries
and federal offices in southern California and southern Nevada. In
addition, the document is posted on the internet at www.nps.gov/deva.
Inquiries and requests for copies may also be directed to:
Superintendent, Death Valley National Park, Furnace Creek, California
92328. The telephone number for the park is (760) 786-2331.
Interested individuals, organizations, Tribes, and agencies wishing
to express any new concerns about management issues and future land
management direction are encouraged to address these to the
Superintendent, Death Valley National Park. All written comments must
be postmarked not later than December 8, 2000, and should be submitted
to the address noted above.
If individuals submitting comments request that their name or/and
address be withheld from public disclosure, it will be honored to the
extent allowable by law. Such requests must be stated prominently in
the beginning of the comments. There also may be circumstances wherein
the NPS will withhold a respondent's identity as allowable by law. As
always: NPS will make available to public inspection all submissions
from organizations or businesses and from persons identifying
themselves as representatives or officials of organizations and
businesses; and, anonymous comments may not be considered.
Public Meetings: The NPS will host a series of open houses to
provide interested individuals and organization representatives an
opportunity to express concerns, ask questions, view large scale maps
and engage in dialog about the range or content of alternatives. This
dialog is intended to provide additional guidance to the NPS in
preparing a final EIS and plan amending the GMP and LPP. Written
comments will also be accepted at these workshops. The public is
invited to attend at any time during the open house posted hours. The
workshops are scheduled as follows:
Friday, October 27th........ Barstow, CA......... 2:00-6:00 p.m.
Monday, October 30th........ Pasadena, CA........ 6:00-9:00 p.m.
Tuesday, October 31st....... San Bernardino, CA.. 2:00-6:00 p.m.
Wednesday, November 1st..... Needles, CA......... 2:00-6:00 p.m.
Thursday, November 2nd...... Las Vegas, NV....... 2:00-6:00 p.m.
Friday, November 3rd........ Baker, CA........... 2:00-6:00 p.m.
Monday, November 13th....... Amargosa, CA........ 2:00-6:00 p.m.
Tuesday, November 14th...... Furnace Creek, CA... 6:00-9:00 p.m.
Wednesday, November 15th.... Bishop, CA.......... 6:00-9:00 p.m.
Thursday, November 16th..... Lone Pine, CA....... 6:00-9:00 p.m.
Friday, November 17th....... Ridgecrest, CA...... 6:00-9:00 p.m.
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