The Tower-Roosevelt Comprehensive Plan Environmental Assessment was released for public review and comment last June, and it maps out a game plan for the future of the greater Tower-Roosevelt area, a key crossroads in the Park.
Changes made in response to comments received were incorporated into a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), which was recently signed.
The basic goal of Park planners: to maintain the rustic nature of the Tower-Roosevelt area and recognize its history as a major transportation hub in the Park. The Roosevelt Lodge has been an important area in the Park dating back to the stagecoach days; it’s now the most affordable set of lodgings in the Park and the only area where a Wild West heritage is recognized.
That heritage would continue to be recognized under the plan. Roosevelt would continue to be the Wild West part of the Park, with room for expansion. Stagecoach tours would still go back to Yancey’s Hole, and the corral would continue to operate. Additional cabins, employee restrooms and a new set of showers would be allowed in the area’s buildable zone. In addition, the service-station area at Tower Junction would be reduced and a new commercial-services building added.
However, the Park is run on a zero-growth philosophy: if there’s an expansion at Roosevelt there needs to be a reduction in the human footprint elsewhere. To balance that growth, downsizing could happen at Tower. One change that should happen is a reconfiguration of the parking lot; it’s awkwardly set up now and could be changed to protect pedestrians while allowing traffic to move through more smoothly. The other proposed changes: scaling back the gift shop (which would basically be replaced by the new facility at the Tower Junction) and setting up new vault toilets.
On the whole, the plan makes sense. It would ease the traffic flow around Tower Falls and move some services to Tower Junction. And it would add cabins (presumably) to the Roosevelt Lodge area, one of the most popular — and affordable — places to stay in the Park. Nothing is certain, and if any of the proposals are enacted, there will be a public comment period.
Tower Falls photo illustration from the Haynes Postcard original. Undated.