During peak season, all major parking areas in the parks are at or over capacity several hours a day. When this occurs, visitors park their cars along roadsides for long distances and walk in traffic to their destination, while stopped cars waiting for spaces to become available at parking lots impede traffic flow. As a result, visitor safety is compromised, conflicts arise between visitors, roadside vegetation is damaged, and the positive visitor experience is diminished.
The purpose of the Traffic Congestion Management Plan is to explore ideas and identify solutions to solve these crowding problems. The overall goal of the Plan is to protect and enhance the current and future visitor experience in the parks while protecting park resources and values. More specifically the plan will aim to:
- reduce crowding
- enable visitors to safely and easily experience the park
- prevent or reduce crowding-related accidents
- eliminate or minimize natural resource damage
- reduce crowding-related effects on park operations
In January 2015, the NPS held an open house to seek feedback from the public on various congestion management strategies for Arches National Park, and comments received offered a variety of possible solutions to managing congestion in the park. The NPS is now beginning the compliance process (NEPA/NHPA) to further examine those solutions as part of a Traffic Congestion Management Plan and Environmental Assessment (EA) for both Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. The suggested solutions are described, along with some of the pros and cons of implementing each solution, in the attached public scoping newsletter.
The NPS is seeking public input on these suggested solutions as part of the public scoping process, and will examine a range of alternatives crafted from these solutions in the final EA. The public comment period will open on July 20, 2015 for 30 days. Individuals wishing to participate are asked to submit comments on the NPS Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website at: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/arch_traffic_congestion_management, or http://parkplanning.nps.gov/cany_traffic_congestion_management. Deadline for comments submitted via these websites is August 19, 2015.
Anyone unable to submit their comments to either of the above websites may submit comments via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail their comments to the National Park Service, Attn: Planning and Compliance, 2282 SW. Resource Blvd, Moab, UT 84532. Emailed comments must be received by, and written comments must be postmarked by, the August 19, 2015 deadline.