Old Spanish National Historic Trail Comprehensive Administrative Strategy
The Old Spanish Trail was added to the National Trails System on December 4, 2002. The trail is jointly administered by the National Park Service (NPS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
In 2006, the NPS and BLM began scoping for a Comprehensive Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (CMP/EIS) for the trail. Twenty-one public scoping meetings were held across the trail states. Based on the results of the scoping meetings, NPS and BLM developed several alternatives for detailed environmental analysis.
By 2011, the NPS and the BLM had completed a draft CMP/EIS. Upon review by the BLM NEPA compliance staff in the BLM's Utah State Office, concerns were raised that the administrative nature of the proposed alternatives did not rise to the level of requiring an EIS, although the NPS felt that it was an appropriate level of planning given the nature of previous CMPs.
Between 2011 and 2014 the NPS and the BLM continued to discuss how to complete the process. In 2012, the BLM approved new policy manuals regarding national historic trail administration and management, which changed how they wished to approach the comprehensive planning process for the Old Spanish NHT.
In 2014, National Park Service and BLM administrators met to resolve differences in approaches to administration and have agreed to create a strategy document that will address comprehensive administrative duties the two agencies will follow. The proposed strategy will be the comprehensive plan for administration. Because there are no land use management decisions included in the strategy, the two agencies agreed that it would not be necessary to complete the environmental impact statement (EIS).
The BLM has been asked to issue a notice in the Federal Register that will inform the public that the EIS has been abandoned in favor of developing the strategy for administration of the trail, allowing the BLM to complete land use planning and compliance with BLM policy for NHT administration and management of trail resources on lands that they manage through the resource management planning (RMP) process.
NPS will use the comprehensive administrative strategy, their trail administration manual, and other direction for their guidance in trail administration. The two agencies will work together to provide the best possible administration of trail resources across all six states through which the trail passes. The draft comprehensive administrative strategy will be available for public review and comment when it is complete.
We thank each of you for your time and interest. Your participation is important, and we urge your continued involvement throughout the planning effort.
Aaron Mahr Yáñez
National Trails System, Intermountain Region
National Park Service
Aaron Mahr Yáñez, National Park Service
Michael Elliott, NTIR chief planner