NPS Intermountain Regional Director Signs FONSI
on Colter Bay Visitor Services Plan/Environmental Assessment
The National Park Service (NPS) has issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Colter Bay Visitor Services Plan/Environmental Assessment (Colter Bay Visitor Services Plan/EA). Intermountain Regional Director John Wessels approved and signed the FONSI based on the environmental assessment. Implementation of the plan will begin when funding is secured.
The purpose of the Colter Bay Visitor Services Plan/EA is to guide decision making for redevelopment and restoration of park facilities in the vicinity of the Colter Bay Visitor Center, a primary destination on the eastshore of Jackson Lake in Grand Teton National Park. Of the four alternatives considered in the environmental assessment, the approved action includes replacing the existing Colter Bay Visitor Center with a smaller visitor contact station at a nearby location, changing vehicular and pedestrian circulation near the existing visitor center, reducing the number of passenger vehicle parking spaces, and increasing the number of oversized parking spaces near the Colter Bay marina. None of the proposed actions in the approved alternative will have a significant impact on scenic resources, natural and cultural resources, visitor use and experience, or park operations. However, these changes will mitigate safety concerns, protect natural and cultural resources, and improve visitors' experience of this area. The NPS and the Wyoming Historic Preservation officer signed a memorandum of agreement outlining stipulations that Grand Teton National Park will apply to mitigate any adverse effects to historic structures and cultural landscapes as proposed in the selected alternative.
Until recently, the David T. Vernon Collection of American Indian Art was stored and exhibited at the current Colter Bay Visitor Center. Laurance S. Rockefeller gifted this collection to the NPS in 1976, with the condition that it remain in Grand Teton National Park. Because the existing visitor center does not meet NPS museum standards—and therefore the collection was at risk—remaining pieces still on display at Colter Bay were transferred in the fall of 2011 to the NPS Western Archeological and Conservation Center (WACC) in Tucson, Arizona for treatment and temporary storage. The collection will remain at WACC until a permanent storage and exhibit facility that meets NPS museum standards is available at Grand Teton. The Colter Bay Visitor Services Plan/EA is a prerequisite to a subsequent planning effort that Grand Teton will undertake in the next 3 to 5 years to address a new facility that can suitably house the Vernon Collection and accommodate museum storage and curatorial functions within the park.
Copies of the FONSI are online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/colterbay or on the park's web site at http://www.nps.gov/grte/parkmgmt/planning.htm