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Yellowstone Seeks Public Input On Bechler Administrative Area Improvement Plan

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avatar Yellowstone Seeks Public Input On Bechler Administrative Area Improvement Plan
February 03, 2011 01:52AM
Yellowstone National Park has begun looking at ways it might improve the small administrative area that serves the park’s remote southwest corner.

The Bechler Area is the one section of the park that is not connected to the Grand Loop road system. A historic ranger station is the centerpiece of the small administrative area located at the end of a gravel road, 26 miles east of Ashton, Idaho. Bechler is often referred to as Yellowstone’s “Cascade Corner” due to the many waterfalls found in that section of the park. It has become increasingly popular with day use visitors and overnight stock users who mostly come from the immediate region. The National Park Service is looking at ways it might improve facilities and services while preserving the historic character of the area which was first developed by the U.S. Army during their administration of the park.

The first step in preparing a plan and Environmental Assessment is to ask the public to help identify issues that the park staff should consider. This process, known as public scoping, is now open and runs through March 4, 2011. The plan will look at ideas such as improving parking, utility upgrades, and addressing employee housing needs. The plan will not look at any changes to backcountry access or use of the area outside the area immediately surrounding the Bechler Ranger Station.

Those interested in the plan are invited to participate in an open house scheduled for Tuesday, February 15, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Ashton Community Center, 925 Main Street, in Ashton, Idaho.

Park staff members will analyze the scoping comments and spend the spring and summer writing the Environmental Assessment, which is expected to be released for public review and comment in the fall. A final decision and plan is expected to be completed sometime in late 2011. Additional details on the proposal and an electronic form to submit comments on the internet can be found at the National Park Service’s Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/Bechler, or by writing to Bechler Administrative Area Improvement Plan, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190. Written comments may be submitted through the PEPC website, in person, or by mail. Comments will not be accepted over the phone, by fax, or e-mail. All public comments must be received or postmarked by midnight MST, March 4, 2011.
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