Salt Creek Boardwalk Civic Engagement

The National Park Service (NPS) is conducting civic engagement on the proposed replacement of Salt Creek Boardwalk Trail in Death Valley National Park. The NPS is planning this project in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration.

Salt Creek is the only habitat for the Salt Creek pupfish (Cyprinodon salinus ssp. salinus), which is a species of high concern in the State of California. A ½-mile raised wooden boardwalk used to provide people easy access to view the pupfish and the desert creek.

A historic flash flood on August 5, 2022, destroyed the boardwalk and carried pieces of it over a mile into designated Wilderness. The flood damaged the unpaved access road, obliterated the parking area, and damaged the vault toilet beyond repair. The flood even changed Salt Creek itself: the stream bed shifted and carved several feet downward.

The NPS proposes to replace the accessible boardwalk, access road, parking lot, toilet and interpretive signs to maintain opportunities to view the endemic Salt Creek pupfish while simultaneously protecting the fish and its fragile habitat. The park proposes to remove damaged infrastructure debris, some of which is now in Wilderness. NPS has funding for this project from federal sources and a donation from Death Valley Natural History Association.

The replacement boardwalk cannot be reconstructed in the previous alignment because the flood changed the creek channel and topography substantially. Therefore, the NPS is studying new potential boardwalk alignments adjacent to and crossing the creek. The new boardwalk would likely be a similar length (0.5-mile) as the previous boardwalk.

The NPS is asking for public input on the proposed action and potential alternatives, environmental issues that should be addressed, and considerations regarding visitor experience. The NPS will use this feedback when starting the design process in late March.

Public comments should be entered here by March 25, 2023.

Comments can also be mailed to: Death Valley National Park, ATTN: Salt Creek Boardwalk Replacement, P.O. Box 579, Death Valley, CA 92328 (postmarked by March 25).

Commenters should be aware that their entire comment - including personal identifying information - may be made publicly available at any time. While commenters can ask that their personal identifying information be withheld from public review, the NPS cannot guarantee that this will be possible.

Thank you for your assistance!
Comment Period: Closed        Feb 21, 2023 - Mar 25, 2023
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