Bandelier Reduces Frijoles Canyon Analysis Of Access Plan Impacts To Categorical Exclusion

Shuttle bus at Bandelier Visitor Center in Frijoles Canyon. Courtesy/NPS
In 2012, the National Park Service (NPS) notified the public that an environmental assessment (EA) would be prepared to analyze the potential environmental effects of project alternatives to improve transportation conditions at Bandelier National Monument.  
This notice is to inform the public that the analysis of proposed action and associated impacts of the project has been reduced to a degree that an EA is no longer required. Alternatively, the NPS is preparing a categorical exclusion (CE) to fulfill our obligation under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). 
When the project newsletter was released in Spring 2013, the proposed project consisted of four action alternatives, which included, but were not limited to: multiple shuttle routes from the White Rock Visitor Center and Los Alamos; parking lot construction; new pedestrian trails; and other infrastructure improvements. 
Following an analysis of park needs and public comments, the park determined the only improvements needed at this time are the construction of a 20,000 square foot parking lot near the Frey Trail Trailhead where previous disturbance occurred, a short (100 yard) connector trail to the Frey Trail, and new benches at the Visitor Center in Frijoles Canyon. 
The emergency shuttle system that was launched following the fire and flooding of the 2011 Las Conchas Fire would continue to operate under a long term agreement. 
The shuttle service would operate much as it does today, with an annual shuttle service provided between the White Rock Visitor Center and Frijoles Canyon Visitor Center. The shuttles would operate from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., between May and October and the shuttle would continue to be mandatory for most park visitors arriving between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. during that period. 
Updates on shuttle services can be found on the park’s website.
Since many of the capital improvements listed above are no longer under consideration, the NPS will prepare a CE rather than an EA to be signed by the park superintendent when the analysis is complete. If you have any questions, please contact Jeremy Sweat, Chief of Resource Management at (505).672.3861 x701.