Outdoors

Stehekin facilities plan comment period extended

Responding to public input, the National Park Service has extended a review period for an environmental assessment of plans to replace some facilities in the Stehekin area.

Public comments will now be accepted through Jan. 20.

The proposal would provide cost-effective and sustainable maintenance, fire operations and housing for Lake Chelan National Recreation Area operations outside of environmentally sensitive areas.

The proposed action is needed to remove the existing facilities from the Stehekin River’s floodplain, because the existing facilities are inefficient to operate and maintain, and a long-term solution for solid waste disposal must be identified and implemented, according to a agency news release.

Under the plan, the existing maintenance and fire facilities would be moved from the floodplain and channel migration zone of the Stehekin River, allowing the lots to be restored to more natural conditions. New maintenance facilities would be consolidated in an area near the airstrip and would include shuttle bus storage and maintenance; equipment; a repair building; a fire cache and dorm; a helicopter pad; hazardous materials, propane and gasoline storage; and a solid waste compaction/recycling transfer facility. One single-family house would be built at one of three potential locations in the Stehekin Valley.

The environmental assessment looks at the impact of a no-action alternative and three other alternatives. Each action alternative includes a different layout for the new maintenance facility at the Stehekin Airstrip site, in combination with a different housing site.

The assessment can be found, and comments made, at parkplanning.nps.gov/SMFRP. Comments also can be sent by mail or hand delivered to: Superintendent’s Office, ATTN: Stehekin Administrative Facilities EA, North Cascades National Park Service Complex, 810 State Route 20, Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284.

PARK FEE COMMENTS

Through Dec. 31, Mount Rainier and Olympic national park staffs will accept comments on plans to increase park entrance and user fees.

The parks have proposed raising the seven-day vehicle entrance fee from $15 to $25.

Eighty percent of the revenue from entrance fees and other fees collected at the parks is used on projects and services that directly benefit visitors. The other 20 percent is used at parks that do not charge an entrance fee.

Mount Rainier’s acting superintendent Tracy Swartout said the park could net an additional $1 million for projects and services if the increase is approved.

You can comment on and see details of the Mount Rainier proposal at parkplanning.nps.gov/rainierfees. The Olympic proposal is at parkplanning.nps.gov/OLYMfees.

OLYMPIC ROAD CLOSED

Managers at Olympic National Park announced Tuesday morning that Graves Creek Road, in the park’s southwest corner, has been closed by a mudslide.

The road runs northeast along the Quinault River from the intersection of North Shore and South Shore roads near Lake Quinault.

Park officials did not know when the road would be open.

Visitors to the Hoh Rainforest should be aware of a lane restriction at milepost 3 on the Upper Hoh Road. The road is reduced to one lane for a short stretch because a tree is causing a bump in the pavement.

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