NPS Photo by Emily Mesner NPS is showing urgency to address the Pretty Rocks landslide, which closed the park road at East Fork River bridge (Mile 43) for the last few weeks of the 2021 summer season and will keep it closed there until remedied. After considering and discarding several alternatives for re-routing the road off the Polychrome bluffs, NPS decided the only viable course of action is to construct a bridge over the landslide. In order to open the road as quickly as possible, the agency has moved through an Environmental Assessment at a very fast pace, although it is expected the road will remain closed at East Fork until at least sometime during the 2023 season.
DCC supports the selection of the “Mainline” alternative, which keeps the road on its present alignment and minimizes impacts to the Denali Wilderness. We did question NPS’s decision to explore only a single alternative in the EA, particularly since we found it difficult to get complete information on some of the decision-making that led to other alternatives being dismissed. We also had many comments directed at minimizing the impacts of construction on the park’s wildlife and wilderness, and we remain concerned about Phase II of the project which may involve significant disturbance around “Bear Cave” east of Pretty Rocks.
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