Proposed Rehabilitation of Scenic Drive and Pavement Preservation in Numerous Existing Paved Areas
TORREY, UT — The National Park Service (NPS), in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), is seeking public input on a proposed project to rehabilitate Scenic Drive and multiple parking lots in Capitol Reef National Park.
Many of the park's parking lots were originally designed and built in the 1960s when visitation was about 160,000 visitors per year. Currently, more than 1.2 million visitors experience Capitol Reef National Park annually and improvements are needed for park infrastructure to accommodate the increased visitation. Parking lots are routinely overcrowded, resulting in visitors parking along adjacent roadways causing resource and safety concerns. The parking lot at Chimney Rock Trailhead and Scenic Drive show signs of pavement cracking, shoulder erosion, and damage to various drainage structures.
The project seeks to expand parking capacity and delineation of parking spots (parallel and pull in), improve drainage due to the area's flood-prone landscape, widen roads especially in tight curve areas, and make accessibility improvements including additional accessible parking spaces, sidewalks, and low-slope grading. To complete this work, Scenic Drive would be closed from approximately April to October 2024 for construction. Chimney Rock parking lot would be closed in the spring or fall 2024, and the visitor center parking lot would be partially closed.
Capitol Reef National Park conducted investigations to identify possible cultural and natural resource impacts due to the proposed project, including an archeological field survey and cultural landscape inventory, with associated consultation with tribes and the Utah State Historic Preservation Officer. Proposed improvements may result in adverse effects to the Capitol Reef Mission 66 District and the Scenic Drive Cultural Landscape. A draft Memorandum of Agreement to address resolution of effects to the district and cultural landscape is included in the review materials associated with this project.
A public comment period was held from June 13 to July 6, 2023, which included a virtual public meeting held on June 21, 2023.
A summary of comments received, concern statements, and responses to generalized concerns is now posted in the Documents section of this page.
Cassity Bromley, 435-425-4100
National Park Service Seeks Input for the Proposed Rehabilitation of Scenic Drive and Improvements to Multiple Parking Lots