Eagle Mountain Boundary Study including Possible Land Withdrawal Environmental Assessment
We are pleased to announce the completion of the National Park Service Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) on the effects of adjusting the boundary of Joshua Tree National Park to include lands in the Eagle Mountain area of Riverside County. The FONSI concludes the boundary study and possible land withdrawal environmental assessment.
Documents containing the final study recommendations are now posted on this website. Click on "Document List" on the left side of this page. These documents include:
1. Finding of No Significant Impact (including selected alternative and response to comments)
2. Final Eagle Mountain Boundary Study Including Possible Land Withdrawal Environmental Assessment
The recommended boundary adjustment (Selected Alternative) would add approximately 20,000 acres of federal, state, and private lands to the boundary of Joshua Tree National Park. If fully implemented, the Selected Alternative could allow for greater protection of existing habitat, restoration opportunities, and landscape connectivity for wildlife such as bighorn sheep, as well as new visitor opportunities at Joshua Tree. Another 8,600 acres of land found to be suitable for addition to the national park may be considered for inclusion in the park boundary in the future if current or planned uses of those lands change and they are made available to the agency.
Implementation of the selected alternative will require additional agency or Congressional action. The Department of the Interior has already initiated the process to withdraw up to approximately 22,500 acres from Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) jurisdiction for transfer to the NPS. A notice temporarily segregating these federal lands from availability under various public land laws was subsequently published in the Federal Register on November 18, 2016. The segregation is intended to preserve the status quo while the withdrawal process is under review. The non-federally owned lands could become a part of Joshua Tree if the property owners choose to sell or donate them to the NPS.
The NPS has also prepared a summary newsletter of the final recommendations (Newsletter 3). The newsletter summarizes the final study findings, describes the selected alternative, and provides information on the proposed withdrawal application. Comments on the proposed withdrawal will be accepted through February 16, 2017. We invite you to join us for a public meeting in Palm Desert, California on January 18, 2017 to discuss the withdrawal and share thoughts and comments.
Thank you for your continued involvement in this planning process. We invite you to continue to share your thoughts, ideas, and concerns as we explore implementation of the Selected Alternative.
David Smith, Superintendent
Joshua Tree National Park
74485 National Park Drive
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277-3597
Barbara Butler Baunsgard, Project Manager, Boundary Study