If you've ever tried to find a parking spot at the Delicate Arch Trailhead in Arches National Park, you know there's not enough space to meet demand. But how should the national park address the problem?
That's the question park officials are hoping to find an answer for. They currently are collecting public comments as part of an Environmental Assessment process to analyze the effects of implementing parking congestion management strategies at the Delicate Arch/Wolfe Ranch area.
Strategies such as expanding the existing parking lot, eliminating roadside parking, and implementing a reservation system are being considered, and public comments will help the NPS develop alternatives to be evaluated in the EA.
Parking at the Delicate Arch/Wolfe Ranch trailhead is frequently congested, causing visitors to park outside of paved areas and along roadsides, resulting in damage to soils and vegetation. Flooding is also an issue in the area since Winter Camp Wash bisects the road, requiring closures of the Delicate Arch Viewpoint Road during flood events. As a result, a plan to help determine specific goals and objectives for the management of congestion and flood related issues in this area of the park is needed.
Delicate Arch is one of the most popular visitor destinations in the park, with daily visitation to the site during the peak season being approximately 2,000 people. The Delicate Arch/Wolfe Ranch parking lot has 73 vehicle spaces, which is insufficient for today’s visitation, park officials said.
The EA will result in a decision-making framework that 1) analyzes a reasonable range of alternatives to meet objectives of the proposal, 2) evaluates potential issues and impacts to the park’s resources and values, and 3) identifies mitigation measures to lessen the degree or extent of these impacts.
You can find the park's scoping document, and be able to leave your comments, on this page. Public comments are being taken through April 8, 2014.