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Joshua Tree National Park - DRAFT_EA_ImprovementCottonwoodAreaVisitorFacilities

The United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service (NPS), has prepared this planning document and environmental assessment to address proposed facility development and improvements to visitor use management at Joshua Tree National Park. The project is situated in the Cottonwood area in the southeast portion of the park. The plan addresses immediate and long-term issues concerning resource protection, visitor use, and administration of the Cottonwood Springs visitor center area and associated trails. The plan was developed in accordance with the park's enabling legislation; management plans; NPS policies; and applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations.

PLAN PURPOSE AND NEED
The purpose of this plan is to improve the park's Cottonwood area visitor facilities near Highway 10 to accommodate growing visitation and crowding in the visitor access areas of the district. The project would provide better space for interpretation, law enforcement, and fee collection to serve the public. The visitor center would be rehabilitated to address growing visitation and to provide improved interpretation of the park's unique ecosystem within a more sustainable, comfortable, and energy-efficient building.

The plan is needed to
• expand the visitor center parking area to accommodate increasing numbers of visitor vehicles;
• provide new spaces both within and outside the visitor center to provide adequate space to conduct interpretive programs and services;
• improve the ranger contact station and restore it to reflect the NPS Mission 66 period of park design and development; and
• replace the current modular, temporary visitor center unit with a building more appropriately designed for increasing numbers of visitors, better suited for the site and desert climate, and architecturally compatible with the site's Mission 66 period of development.
 
Comment Period: 12/01/2018 - 01/03/2019
Comment period closes Jan 03, 2019
at 11:59 PM Mountain Time in:
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