Mammoth Cave National Park Superintendent Sarah Craighead has announced the release of Improvements to Concession Facilities - Draft Environmental Assessment. Public comment on the document will be accepted November 26-December 28, 2013. The park will host a public open house on December 12, 2013.
"In developing this plan, we have considered available funding, what visitors need, the need for a concessioner to be able to profit, and how the concessions facilities could provide the best value to the government," said Craighead. "We welcome public comment on this document. We hope to see many people at the open house and receive many written comments as well."
A public scoping session was held in 2010 as the park began planning (37 people attend a meeting and 30 submitted comments). In summary, scoping showed that the public favored: clean, comfortable lodging, a majority stated an interest in rustic cabins; a variety of food/beverage options and affordable choices; and updated façade, landscaping, and amenities.
"Their input was used in formulating the EA," said Craighead.
The Draft EA's Preferred Alternative will address:
• Hotel Lodge and Sunset Terrace Lodge - replace outdated utilities, mechanical systems, and installing life/safety systems;
• Sunset Terrace Lodge - renovate the interior, exterior and landscaping; and
• Heritage Trail wing - removal.
The Park is using $3.4 million in NPS funding as a working budget for the initial components for the Preferred Alternative, listed above. Several project elements related to the Hotel Lodge are not funded at this time, including interior renovations, façade, parking, screening, sidewalks, outdoor dining area; implementation would begin as funding becomes available.
The open house will be on Thursday, December 12, 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the Rotunda Room of the Mammoth Cave Hotel. The purpose of the open house is to provide the public and interested agencies and organizations an opportunity to learn about the proposed project and ask questions of park staff. Portions of the hotel and its facilities also will be open for viewing by the public during the open house. The public is invited to visit at any point during the scheduled time to review materials and speak with park representatives.
In order to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, an EA was drafted. The EA developed and analyzed potential alternatives for providing improved visitor services at the Mammoth Cave Hotel as a financially viable, authorized concession within a national park.
Printed copies of the EA will be placed at the Park visitor center, Superintendent's office, Mammoth Cave Hotel, and also at the Edmonson County Library, the BRADD office in Bowling Green, and the Cave City Convention Center. It can also be viewed online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/maca
The public may provide written comments about the Draft EA online at the National Park Service Planning, Environment, and Public Comment website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/maca
, or by letter to Mammoth Cave National Park, Attn: Bruce Powell, P.O. Box 7, Mammoth Cave, KY 42259.
Comments are typically treated as public record and made available for public review. Individuals may request that the National Park Service withhold their name and address from disclosure. Such requests will be honored to the extent allowable by law.
Mammoth Cave National Park
P.O. Box 7, Mammoth Cave, KY 42259
Attn: Bruce Powell