ST. GEORGE – Glen Canyon National Recreation Area saw its first multipurpose trail.
Walkers at Mesa Stud, Utah, date not given | Photo courtesy of the National Park Service, St. George News
The National Park Service is soliciting public comment and is initiating a draft Environmental Impact Assessment to analyze permitting bicycle use on the Stud Horse Trail network. The project area is adjacent to US Route 89 in Utah and Arizona in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, according to a recent press release issued by the park service.
Stud Horse Mesa, where the project is located, is a popular destination because of its “truly amazing views” and access to Skylight Arch, said Kendall Neisess, an outdoor recreation planner at the recreation area.
Due to its popularity, it has attracted off-roaders who have laid out tracks that look like roads, which could be confusing to other visitors. And Neises said the park service took this as an opportunity in 2019 to better manage the area and prevent increased off-road travel, which is illegal, while allowing recreational access for others.
The park service worked with Kane County and received grant money from Utah that allowed them to convert existing trails into a network of hiking trails, Neisess said.
“Even before that, the park has really focused on improving our recreational opportunities on land,” she said. “Everyone knows us for Lake Powell, but our park is 1.25 million acres and only a small portion of that is Lake Powell. There is still much more to discover.”
The Mesa Stud seen from above, Utah, date not given | Photo courtesy of the National Park Service, St. George News
The local recreation area wants to offer a “diverse range” of recreation in the region, including multi-purpose paths, but currently does not have a cycle path, said Neises.
“The most exciting or interesting thing about it is that it would be our first bike trail, our first multi-purpose trail,” she said. “As it stands, the only options for biking in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area are on our established legal roads… and it’s a very popular activity in this region with our visitors.”
Most of the project area is in Utah, with a small portion in Arizona, so the park service worked with several partners, including Kane County, Coconino County, at least one private landowner, and the offices of the Utah and Arizona Bureau of Land Management, Neises said.
“Everyone’s on board,” she said. “And everyone was super helpful.”
The trail is currently open to hikers, but Neises said those interested in visiting the area should travel in a high-clearance vehicle.
Draft environmental impact assessment
The project is in the scoping phase and comments are being accepted online or via email, the publication said. Scoping is an opportunity for public engagement during the early planning process, as “the NPS is developing a number of alternatives for the draft environmental assessment,” the press release adds.
The preparation of the assessment is the next step, said Neises.
The view from Stud Horse Mesa, Utah, date not given | Photo courtesy of the National Park Service, St. George News
The National Environmental Policy Act requires the park service to analyze potential impacts on various resources, cultural and environmental resources, including wildlife concerns, e.g. B. How the project could affect endangered species or species with special status. Additionally, Neises said cultural resources are “often among the most sensitive resources” and among the highest concerns of the service.
As part of the 2020 analysis, the park service consulted with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, local or affiliated tribes, and both the Arizona State Historic Preservation Offices and the Utah State Historic Preservation Offices to ensure there were no serious concerns about the project.
“And luckily – luckily – everyone supported us and were on board,” she said. “We had no problems.”
The service will contact these organizations again as they go through the final process, Neisess added.
Make a public comment
Valet encourages the public to send comments online or by mail to the following address: superintendent Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, PO Box 1507, Page, Arizona, 86040. The comment period runs until December 16th.
Particularly useful comments may include alternative approaches or ideas on how to achieve the project’s objectives, as well as environmental and socio-economic aspects that should be considered. In addition, comments on other projects that may impact or be affected, relevant data and concerns about park conditions or activities, and possible solutions to them are also helpful, per the recreation area’s guide to making a public comment.
The Studhorse Trail area in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, stretching from Arizona to Utah, date not given | Photo courtesy of the National Park Service, St. George News
“We’re really open to anything,” Neisess said. “Even if people just want to share their general thoughts.”
Comments submitted in person or by fax or email will not be accepted, according to the press release.
To educate the public about the proposed action and to provide comments, the Park Service is hosting an open house on Wednesday, December 7 from 5-7 p.m. at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area Headquarters.
“We look forward to answering questions and receiving comment cards on the project,” the press release said.
In addition orOnce the draft environmental impact assessment is finalized, the valet plans to open an additional public comment period, Neisess said. A press release will be issued at this time to announce that the draft environmental impact assessment has been published and made available on the planning website where interested parties may submit additional comments.
Open house details
What: National Park Service open house and presentation of proposed actions on the stud horse trail network and providing public comment
When: Wednesday, December 7, 5-7 p.m
Where: Glen Canyon National Recreation Area Headquarters Training Room at 691 Scenic View Drive, Page, AZ
For more information on submitting a public comment, see the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area Guide. More information about the project can be found on the National Park Service website.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2022, All Rights Reserved.
Alysha Lundgren joined the St George News team in 2022. She began her career as a freelancer, writing resource articles for families with children with disabilities. She has also covered subjects such as astronomy, recreation and nature. Originally from Nevada, Alysha quickly fell in love with Utah after moving to Cedar City. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and photographing Utah’s beautiful landscapes, or snuggling up in a blanket to play video games or read a good book.