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Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Lassen Volcanic National Park Warner Valley Comprehensive Site Plan

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Lassen Volcanic National Park Superintendent, Darlene M. Koontz, announced that a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Warner Valley Comprehensive Site Plan (DEIS) has been prepared and is now available for review and comment. “I’m really excited about the plan being released for public comment, it’s been a long time coming and includes important management goals and proposed actions that include the protection and preservation of the Drakesbad Historic District and restoration of unique resources,” stated Superintendent Koontz.

The document is available on CD ROM, or it can be viewed and/or downloaded from the park’s website at (http://www.nps.gov/lavo/parkmgmt/index.htm). The document is also available at park headquarters and at local public libraries. To receive a copy of the document, please fill out the enclosed postcard, affix postage and return to the park by mail or fax (530-595-3303) or you may e-mail your request to e-mail us. The Warner Valley DEIS can also be viewed and comments can be entered directly on the NPS planning web site at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/lavo.

Park staff will host three open house public meetings to provide the public the opportunity to ask questions and submit comments. The meetings will be held from 5:30-7:30 pm on the following dates and locations:
  • Wednesday September 2, 2009 in Chester, CA, at the Wildwood Village Great Room
  • Thursday September 3, 2009 in Anderson, CA, at the Gaia Hotel
  • Tuesday September 8, 2009 in Vacaville, CA, at the Courtyard by Marriott
The Warner Valley Comprehensive Site Plan is a conservation planning effort with several primary purposes which include: (1) Improving visitor experience and enhancing public safety through improvements to infrastructure and relocating infrastructure so it is less visible; (2) ecological restoration of Warner Valley fen and wetland areas; (3) repair or removal of Dream Lake Dam and restoration of associated riparian/wetland complex; and (4) protect and enhance the Drakesbad Historic District through removal of non‑contributing features. The DEIS evaluates alternative methods for accomplishing ecological restoration and cultural resource protection; appropriate mitigation measures are incorporated, and an “environmentally preferred” course of action is identified.

This DEIS describes and analyzes one No Action alternative and two “action” alternatives. The No Action Alternative would continue current management practices. The “action” alternatives contain a varying means of achieving the purposes noted above, and each includes the following elements (this is not an all inclusive list):
  • Move concession employee housing, storage, generator and propane tanks out of the Drakesbad Guest Ranch Historic District and into a new service area.
  • Create a connector trail for Pacific Crest Trail hikers so they can bypass the Warner Valley road.
  • Renovate the non-historic bathhouse adjacent to the swimming pool.
  • Prevent the encroachment of vehicles into natural areas and reduce traffic impacts.
  • Minor enhancements to the campground and relocate fee station.
  • Relocate the day use/trailhead parking out of the meadow and into the lower campground.
Alternative 2 (agency-preferred) components include: (i) Ecological restoration of wetlands throughout Warner Valley along with permanently filling ditches with appropriate soil in Drakesbad Meadow; (ii) Creating a concession housing and service center outside of the Drakesbad Guest Ranch Historic District composed of tent cabins surrounding a single-story bathhouse building; (iii) Removal of Dream Lake Dam and allowing the area to revert to a riparian/wetland complex.

Alternative 3 includes: (i) Restoration of Warner Valley fen through the damming of ditches with sheet metal; (ii) Creating a concession housing and service center outside the Drakesbad Guest Ranch Historic District composed of a two-story dormitory building with bathrooms; (iii) Re-construct Dream Lake Dam to Bureau of Reclamation engineering standards.

The park is soliciting public input and comments on this important planning document. All written comments must be postmarked or transmitted electronically no later than November 21, 2009. Written comments may be submitted by letter to the Superintendent, Lassen Volcanic National Park, P.O. Box 100, Mineral, CA 96063 (or may be transmitted electronically to e-mail us). For more information about this document, contact the Superintendent at the above address or call (530) 595-4444, extensions 5176 or 5170.
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