Yellowstone National Park Officials Crafting Framework For Lake Area's Future Development

Yellowstone officials are seeking comment on a draft plan that would guide development of the Lake area of the park in the years to come. NPS aerial photo of Lake.

Yellowstone National Park officials, in looking down the road at how the Lake area of the park might evolve, are leaning towards a plan that could allow the reconfiguration of the RV park at Fishing Bridge and which would permit 121,000 square feet of buildings to be built over roughly 3 acres.

While on its face the plan might be interpreted as simply a development plan for the area, its reach also touches on building aesthetics; landscaping; preservation of the historic district that includes the Lake Hotel, Lake Lodge, and the Fishing Bridge area; preservation of viewsheds, and; replacing 70-year-old water and sewer lines. And the plan really just presents a framework under which future decisions would operate within; it does not actually call for any projects to move forward, according to park officials.

Under the preferred alternative, items that could be permitted down the road include reconfiguring a nearly 10-acre area at Fishing Bridge that's been used as an RV park to better handle today's larger RVs; some 121,000 square feet of buildings could be raised, including housing for park staff and concession workers at Lake; Lake Lodge cabins would be moved away from Lodge Creek; an emergency services building could be built at Lake, as well as a rec center for concessions workers, and; shower facilities could be added to the Bridge Bay campground, and electricity could be routed to campground loops A-D.

“We’re not talking about specific projects, we’re talking about limits of change, and things that we could do in the future," park spokesman Al Nash said Friday. "So it’s not a laundry list of projects, although when it comes to the RV park that’s pretty easy for me to deal with.

"... The idea of a comprehensive plan is to place real limits on what we might do over the years without putting together a tight and very prescriptive plan now that may or may not be the appropriate approach five years from now when we could get funding.”


Under Alternative A, the "no-action" alternative, many of the facilities at Fishing Bridge, such as the automobile repair shop and filling station and the warming hut, would be removed, as would a 1940s-era boathouse at Lake.

The entire Environmental Assessment and supporting documents and an electronic form to submit comments can be found on the National Park Service Planning, Environment, and Public Comment web site.

A hard copy of the EA is available upon request by writing to the Lake Comprehensive Plan EA, National Park Service, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190.

Park staff members will hold a series of public meetings during the 30-day public review period to answer questions about the plan:

* Wednesday, Feb. 8 in Cody WY: Holiday Inn, 1702 Sheridan Ave.

* Wednesday, Feb. 15 in Bozeman, Montana: Hilton Garden Inn, 2023 Commerce
Way

* Thursday, Feb. 16 in Jackson, WY: The Lexington (Formerly the Trapper
Inn), 285 N. Cache

Each public meeting will begin at 6 p.m. with a short presentation, and will continue with an open house format until 8 p.m.

Written comments may be submitted through the PEPC web site, in person, or by mail. Comments will not be accepted by phone, fax, or e-mail. All public comments must be received or postmarked by midnight, March 2.

Comments

I remember reading something about Fishing Bridge RV park needing upgrades and the NPS and the vendor both said it was the other's problem. Is this part of the solution or had the upgrades just happened?

I love this area of Yellowstone. Yes, it could use some upgrades, but whatever happens in the future, please keep it from looking like the Old Faithful area!