The National Park Service (NPS) is seeking public comments as part of an Environmental Assessment (EA) process to analyze the effects of implementing parking congestion management strategies at the Delicate Arch/Wolfe Ranch area of Arches National Park.

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.

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.

A scoping brochure is available for public review and comment on the NPS Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website (https://parkplanning.nps.gov/arch). Click on Delicate Arch/Wolfe Ranch Site Plan (Project ID# 51385) to view the document. Comments unable to be made on the PEPC website can be sent to: National Park Service, Southeast Utah Group, Attn: Planning and Compliance Coordinator, 2282 S. West Resource Blvd, Moab, Utah 84532. If you wish to be added to the park’s mailing list for future correspondence, please indicate that in your response.

 
Source: NPS

1 COMMENT

  1. I was in Arches on holiday from England in May 2012, and went to both of those car parks mentioned. It occurred to me at the time that the park was far too popular/crowded for anyone to really appreciate the place as it should be. I do not know why Arches does not seriously expand the Visitor Centre parking area at the entrance, and prevent private vehicle access from there. That way everyone would have to park there, and use the centre, thereby increasing the revenue within the shopping area. The same free shuttle system that Zion and the Grand Canyon have would be paid for by the extra revenue generated, and at the same time it would allow the park to be a real wilderness experience to the benefit of both visitors and the wildlife. Surely a park without thousands of cars would be a real boon to the overall visit. I wanted to spend three days there, but due to the crowds I moved on towards Monument Valley after the one day.

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