NPS Releases Horseshoe Lake Trail Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI)

NPS Photo of Horseshoe Lake
NPS Photo of Horseshoe Lake

At the end of February Denali National Park and Preserve released a FONSI for the Environmental Assessment (EA) of the Additions and Improvements to the Horseshoe Lake Trail. The trail is one of the most popular trails near the Denali Visitor Center in the entrance area and is used by thousands of visitors every summer. The NPS has chosen to extend the Horseshoe Lake Trail around the lake as well as along the Nenana River. They will also be rehabilitating social trails that have developed over time and are a source of resource damage. Small signs will be placed to discourage visitors from using social trails, particularly the trails that make their way onto the peninsula where the active beaver lodge is located. See the maps below (copied from the EA).

Horseshoe Lake Area – Existing Conditions

HSL 1

Alternative 2 – Proposed Work

HSL 2

DCC participated in early scoping activities two years ago and many of our concerns and suggestions were incorporated into the Action Alternative of this EA.The NPS received 7 comments on the plan and all, including ours, were supportive of the preferred alternative.DCC’s comments on the final EA centered around three topics: habitat, safety and visitor experience. One of our suggestions on safety was incorporated into the FONSI and adopted as a mitigation measure. All of our comments were addressed noting that the NPS management may choose to take our comments into consideration at a future time if conditions warrant further action. We will keep vigilant to see how the habitat conditions and/or visitor experience are affected.

Both the EA and FONSI can be found under the hot link “Document List” at: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectId=39552. DCC’s comments can be found on our website at http://www.denalicitizens.org/2014/01/dcc-submits-comments-on-horseshoe-lake-trail-improvements-and-additions-ea/.

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