One of the best — and worst — things about the Lake area of Yellowstone National Park is its standoffishness from the rest of the Park. Sure, it has some thermal features nearby, and the lake itself is a huge draw. But the history and design make the Lake Hotel unlike any other hotel in the Park, and many times it just feels like the area is just a set of unrelated buildings, including the General Store, Lodge, Hotel and cabins.
So maybe there is a need for a more comprehensive design to bring all of these elements today. Some expanded trails would be nice, of course. And as long as they’re at it, expand the parking near Fishing Bridge to allow easier access to the actual bridge. And, finally, overhaul the Fishing Bridge Museum; it’s a little musty right now, to say the least.
In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, Yellowstone National Park will prepare an environmental assessment (EA) for the Lake area. The purpose of the EA is to provide an increased understanding of resources through conducting and documenting resources, focusing on resource protection, and addressing visitor connections to the resources. The process will evaluate alternative proposals and potential impacts to multiple resources, including natural, cultural, and scenic resources, as well as visitor use and experience, park operations, and public health and safety.
The first step is to solicit public suggestions and comments during what is known as the scoping period. Any interested individual, organization, or agency can provide thoughtful, relevant information or suggestions for consideration by the NPS before the draft environmental assessment is prepared and made available for public review and comment. Individuals, groups, and agencies have until August 6, 2010, to submit written comments on the purpose, need and objectives, and the issues and alternatives they would like considered in the new plan. Scoping for the Lake Area Comprehensive Plan will begin July 6, 2010, and will conclude August 6, 2010.
Open house meetings will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on:
Tuesday, July 20, at Lake in the Mess Hall;
Wednesday, July 21, in Cody, Wyoming, at the Holiday Inn; and
Wednesday, July 28, in Bozeman, Montana, at the Bozeman Public Library.
A short presentation will be followed by an open house at each meeting location.