Assateague environmental assessment out for public comment
ASSATEAGUE NATIONAL SEASHORE—The National Park Service is releasing the Bayside Picnic and South Ocean Beach Parking Areas Removal and Relocation Environmental Assessment for public review and comment.
This project proposes to remove and relocate the existing bayside picnic and south ocean beach parking areas in Maryland, both of which sustained significant damage from Hurricane Sandy last year.
The goals of the project are to provide continued visitor access to these areas, limit expenses associated with maintaining them and make each area more resistant to future storms.
Two alternatives were analyzed for meeting the objectives:
In Alternative A, the No Action / Continue Current Management plan, the National Park Service would continue to use and maintain the existing Bayside picnic parking area, the south ocean beach parking area, and Life of the Dunes Trail parking area with no changes to the current infrastructure or locations. This alternative continues existing management and provides a baseline for uating the impacts of the action alternative.
In Alternative B, the Removal and Relocation of Parking Areas plan, the existing bayside picnic, south ocean beach, and Life of the Dunes Trail parking areas would be removed and the bayside picnic parking area and south ocean beach parking area would be relocated to further from active shorelines, making them less vulnerable to damage from future storms.
This approach would provide visitor access to these areas and limit operational expenses of maintaining the existing parking locations.
Relocating the south ocean beach parking area will allow for better management of the dune landscape and increased stabilization of the primary dunes at the location. This alternative should also provide more reliable visitor access to both parking areas within the national seashore.
The environmental assessment addresses potential impacts to park resources that might result if the proposed project is carried out. Neither of the alternatives analyzed would lead to significant environmental impacts.
Comments may be submitted online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/asis or mailed to the park via Justin Unger, Acting Superintendent, Assateague Island National Seashore, ATTN: Bayside Picnic and South Ocean Beach Parking Areas Relocation EA Comments, 7206 National Seashore Lane, Berlin, Md. 21811.
Comments must be received no later than September 25.