Next to the Thorofare region, "Cascade Corner" just might be the most over-looked place in Yellowstone National Park. But park officials aren't overlooking the ranger facilities there, and are embarking on a mission to see how they might be improved.
The area is isolated, as it's not accessible via the main Grand Loop road system that threads through the park's interior. You can only reach it by car if you head towards Ashton, Idaho.
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.
The National Park Service is looking at ways it might improve facilities and services while preserving the historic character of the area that was first developed by the U.S. Army during its administration of the park.
With that in mind, the park is seeking public comment on issues that should be considered in addressing the needs of the facilities and services.
This public comment process is now open and runs through March 4. 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 can be found at this page on the Park Service's website.
Written comments may be submitted through the PEPC website, in person, or by mail (to Bechler Administrative Area Improvement Plan, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, 82190). Comments will not be accepted over the phone, by fax, or e-mail. All public comments must be received or postmarked by midnight MDT, March 4, 2011.