The National Park Service (NPS) is beginning the process of developing an environmental assessment (EA) for rehabilitation of the historic Loop Road at Badlands National Park. The EA will analyze repair work proposed for two segments along the historic Loop Road considering park objectives to enhance visitor experience and safety and protect the natural and cultural resources. Badlands National Monument in South Dakota was recognized as a significant area when the United States Congress authorized its establishment in 1939. The monument encompassed approximately 110,000 acres of the South Dakota badlands. The monument was expanded by 133,000 acres in 1968, and it was redesignated as Badlands National Park in 1978. The park's outstanding scenic values, its importance to the science of paleontology, and its natural resources were, and continue to be, its signature features. The Loop Road is listed on the NPS List of Classified Structures.
The EA will analyze proposed repair work at mile post (MP) 24.9 to MP 25 for the following actions: 1) the removal of an abandoned culvert and backfilled concrete under roadway; 2) reestablishing a compacted buttress that covers any downspout culverts to termination points; 3) building a culvert inlet headwall at MP 24.9; 4) unplugging the culvert at MP 25; 5) address culvert downspout burial; 6) fix calving roadside supports and buttress; and 7) complete revegetation efforts on all new construction and disturbed areas on both north and south sides of the Loop Road.
The project would also address an area of Loop Road west of the Bigfoot Picnic Area that has become incredibly rough for park visitor vehicular traffic. Therefore, the EA will also analyze proposed repair work would start west of Bigfoot Picnic Area at approximately MP 12.8 on the Loop Road, for 1.19 miles to an area by Bigfoot Road. The work would consist of milling the old roadway asphalt, re‐utilizing the asphalt millings by compacting the material into a solid base layer, then overlaying 1.19 miles with asphalt hot mix. This portion of the project would also address drainage and visitor accessibility issues at the Bigfoot Picnic Area.
Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), U.S.C. 4332(2)(C), the NPS is preparing an EA to provide the decision-making framework that 1) analyzes a reasonable range of alternatives to meet project objectives, 2) evaluates issues and impacts on park resources and values, and 3) identifies mitigation measures to lessen the degree or extent of these impacts. The NPS is also separately and concurrently preparing an assessment of effect to comply with the requirements of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA), as amended (54 USC 306108), and its implementing regulations (36 26 CFR 800).
The park encourages public and agency participation throughout the planning process. There will be at least two opportunities to comment formally on the project - once during initial project scoping and again following release of the EA. The NPS is currently in the scoping phase of the proposed project and invites you to submit written suggestions, comments, and concerns regarding the development of the EA online at the National Park Service Planning, Environment and Public Comment website located at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/badl
or by mail to the address below.
Commenters should be aware that their entire comment - including personal identifying information may be made publicly available at any time. While commenters can ask that their personal identifying information be withheld from public review, the NPS cannot guarantee that this will be possible.
Badlands National Park
25216 Ben Reifel Road
Interior, SD 57750