Install Gate on Abandoned Mineto Protect Visitors and Preserve Resource Habitat at Remote Locations
The National Park Service (NPS) is preparing an environmental assessment to correct health and safety hazards at abandoned mine sites in Glacier National Park, Montana. This is an American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 (ARRA) project.
Like other regions in the American West, during the mid- 19th century to early 20th century, the area which is now Glacier National Park was prospected for gold, silver, and copper. Mining districts were established, and innumerable prospect pits, adits, and shafts were opened to test or mine what turned out to be marginal deposits. Glacier's mine features are located within recommended wilderness in the backcountry. Studies are being conducted to determine whether the mines provide important wildlife habitat, and are eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. The main hazards associated with abandoned mines include falling into shafts, loose rock falling from the roofs of adits, deadly gas and lack of oxygen, unstable explosives, cave-ins and decayed timbers. The planning objective is to correct health and safety hazards at the abandoned mine sites to reduce the dangers of park visitors posed at these sites, while also preserving natural and cultural resource values.
An environmental assessment (EA) will be prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to provide the decision-making framework that 1)explores a reasonable range of alternatives, 2) evaluates potential issues and impacts to park resources and values and 3) identifies mitigation measures to lessen the degree or extent of these impacts. Coronado National Memorial, Grand Canyon National Park, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Big Thicket and Saguaro National Park are also conducting scoping and preparing EA's on this issue.
I welcome and encourage public participation throughout the NEPA process during which you will have two opportunities to comment: once, now during this initial phase known as scoping period and again following the release of the EA. I encourage you to voice your ideas, comments or concerns about this effort. These comments will be considered during preparation of the EA. I look forward to hearing from you.