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United States Department of the Interior

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
Shenandoah National Park
3655 U.S. Hwy. 211 East
Luray, Virginia 22835-9036

IN REPLY REFER TO:


October 17, 2005


Dear Interested Party:


Shenandoah National Park is proposing to revise and update the Park’s Fire Management Plan. The Plan will identify how natural and prescribed fire and fuels management projects will be used to achieve desired natural resource conditions while protecting park and adjacent values from the adverse impacts of fire.

A new Plan is needed to bring fire management activities in the park up to date with new federal fire policies, such as the 2001 Federal Wildland Fire Management Policy, and to modify fire management strategies and goals to incorporate the latest available scientific information about the role and effects of fire in ecosystems.

Shenandoah National Park has released an Environmental Assessment (EA) entitled Environmental Assessment for a Fire Management Plan. The EA explores three possible alternatives for managing fire in the park, and compares the impacts of each alternative on resources in and around the park. Each alternative describes a different way that the park will use fire and fuels management projects to achieve management goals of natural and cultural resource preservation. The alternatives incorporate different combinations of fire management tools, including fire suppression, non-fire fuel treatment, prescribed fire, and wildland fire use.

Alternative 1 is called the No Action Alternative. It describes the current fire management program and represents the impacts of continuing to do the same things the park has been doing since 1993. Alternative 1 incorporates suppression, prescribed fire, and non-fire treatments, but not wildland fire use. Alternative 2 proposes changes in the fire management program to reflect recent changes in national fire policy. It incorporates suppression, prescribed fire, wildland fire use, and non-fire treatments. Alternative 2 is the park’s preferred alternative. Alternative 3 also proposes changes in the fire management program to reflect recent changes in national fire policy. It incorporates suppression, prescribed fire, and wildland fire use, but not non-fire treatments.

Copies of the EA are available for review at Park Headquarters, 3655 U.S. Highway 211 East, Luray, VA 22835; at the Byrd and Dickey Ridge Visitor Centers on Skyline Drive in the park; and at several Public Libraries. The document is also available on the Web site http://parkplanning.nps.gov (search for Shenandoah National Park). Copies in electronic format (on CD or as an attachment to an electronic mail) are available upon request by contacting the park public information officer at (540) 999-3300. E-mailed files will arrive without maps.

Comments must be postmarked no later than November 21, 2005. Letters should be mailed to Superintendent, Shenandoah National Park, 3655 U.S. Highway 211 East, Luray, VA 22835-9036 or faxed to (540) 999-3601. Comments can be submitted electronically at the following web site: http://parkplanning.nps.gov (search for Shenandoah National Park).

Please note that names and addresses of people and organizations who comment become part of the public record. If you wish us to withhold your name and or address, you must state this prominently at the beginning of your comments. We will make all submissions from organizations, businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses available for public inspection in their entirety.


Sincerely,


Chas Cartwright
Superintendent
Contact Information
Karen Beck-Herzog, Public Information Officer, karen_beck-herzog@nps.gov
KellyAnn Gorman, Fire Ecologist, kellyann_gorman@nps.gov