The proposed project calls for the reconstruction of the road, associated parking areas and turnouts as well as the rehabilitation of two bridges between the Norris campground entrance and a point just north of Swan Lake Flats known as Golden Gate. It encompasses landmarks like Roaring Mountain, Frying Pan Spring and Semi-Centennial Geyser.
Improvement of the road is needed in order for the park to maintain acceptable engineering safety standards and provide a safe and enjoyable driving experience for visitors. It also serves to better facilitate park operations and emergency services, improve resource protection and enable more efficient use of park funds. If approved, the first phase of construction could begin as early as 2012.
Public review and comment on the Environmental Assessment (EA) is being sought for two alternatives: leaving the road as it is or widening the road from its current 19-22-foot width to a width of 30 feet, including the improvement of all associated features and structures along the segment. The “action” alternative also addresses shifts in the road’s alignment at Frying Pan Spring, Semi-Centennial Geyser and the curve just north of Grizzly Lake Trailhead. The assessment also identifies potential impacts to Yellowstone’s resources, visitor experience and park operations and outlines mitigation measures for the protection of geology, vegetation, wildlife, wetlands, hydrothermal features, historic structures and other park resources and values.
The EA and an electronic form to submit comments on the internet can be found online at parkplanning.nps.gov/yell. A hard copy or CD can also be requested by calling 307/344-2017, or by writing to the Norris to Golden Gate Road Reconstruction EA, National Park Service, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190.
Written comments may be submitted through the Web site, in person or by mail, and must be received or postmarked by midnight, June 13, 2011. Comments will not be accepted by phone, fax, or e-mail, and submitted responses may be made publicly available at any time.
Once comments are analyzed, the National Park Service will make a decision on a preferred alternative and the final plan. The Regional Director of the Intermountain Region of the National Park Service will sign a Finding Of No Significant Impact (FONSI) containing details of the decision.