Park News 5
Public comment requested regarding Planned improvements to Mammoth Cave Hotel
(MAMMOTH CAVE, Ky. - November 26, 2013) - Mammoth Cave National Park Superintendent Sarah Craighead has announced the release of Improvements to Concession Facilities - Draft Environmental Assessment. Public comment on the document will be accepted November 26-December 28, 2013. The park will host a public open house on December 12, 2013.
“In developing this plan, we have considered available funding, what visitors need, the need for a concessioner to be able to profit, and how the concessions facilities could provide the best value to the government,” said Craighead. “We welcome public comment on this document. We hope to see many people at the open house and receive many written comments as well.”
A public scoping session was held in 2010 as the park began planning (37 people attend a meeting and 30 submitted comments). In summary, scoping showed that the public favored: clean, comfortable lodging, a majority stated an interest in rustic cabins; a variety of food/beverage options and affordable choices; and updated façade, landscaping, and amenities.
“Their input was used in formulating the EA,” said Craighead.
The Draft EA’s Preferred Alternative will address:
1. Hotel Lodge and Sunset Terrace Lodge - replace outdated utilities, mechanical systems, and installing life/safety systems;
2. Sunset Terrace Lodge - renovate the interior, exterior and landscaping; and
3. Heritage Trail wing - removal.
The Park is using $3.4 million in NPS funding as a working budget for the initial components for the Preferred Alternative, listed above. Several project elements related to the Hotel Lodge are not funded at this time, including interior renovations, façade, parking, screening, sidewalks, outdoor dining area; implementation would begin as funding becomes available.
The open house will be on Thursday, December 12, 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the Rotunda Room of the Mammoth Cave Hotel. The purpose of the open house is to provide the public and interested agencies and organizations an opportunity to learn about the proposed project and ask questions of park staff. Portions of the hotel and its facilities also will be open for viewing by the public during the open house. The public is invited to visit at any point during the scheduled time to review materials and speak with park representatives.
In order to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, an EA was drafted. The EA developed and analyzed potential alternatives for providing improved visitor services at the Mammoth Cave Hotel as a financially viable, authorized concession within a national park.
Printed copies of the EA will be placed at the Park visitor center, Superintendent’s office, Mammoth Cave Hotel, and also at the Edmonson County Library, the BRADD office in Bowling Green, and the Cave City Convention Center. It can also be viewed online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/maca.
The public may provide written comments about the Draft EA online at the National Park Service Planning, Environment, and Public Comment website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/maca, or by letter to Mammoth Cave National Park, Attn: Bruce Powell, P.O. Box 7, Mammoth Cave, KY 42259.
Comments are typically treated as public record and made available for public review. Individuals may request that the National Park Service withhold their name and address from disclosure. Such requests will be honored to the extent allowable by law.
Be a Project Budburst observer
MAMMOTH CAVE, Ky., March 31, 2014 - Are you longing to see flowering dogwoods and tulip poplars? Do you like to notice the seasonal changes in trees and plants from year to year?
Mammoth Cave National Park as a Project Budburst Partner is asking the public to watch and record the leafing, flowering and fruiting cycles of ten plant species. Project Budburst is a network of people, citizen scientists, across the United States who monitor plants and collect ecological data as the seasons change.
“Project Budburst allows data to be collected in a consistent manner across the country so it can be used by citizens, researchers, scientists, and educators to learn how plants react to changes over time,” said Shannon Trimboli, education coordinator for the Mammoth Cave International Center for Science and Learning. “For instance, we can compare the flowering time of dogwoods from year to year, on a local, regional and national basis. You can record information from here in the park or observe plants in your own backyard. This is a great project that anyone can participate in as individuals, families, or classes.”
The ten species that Mammoth Cave staff are most interested in learning about are: mayapple, Virginia bluebells, flowering dogwood, garlic mustard, eastern redbud, Virginia creeper, beefsteak plant, spicebush, tulip poplar, and eastern serviceberry. Two on the list (garlic mustard and beefsteak plant) are invasive alien species that if left unchecked will crowd out native plants; on a farm, the beefsteak plant can out compete other plants that cattle prefer to eat.
“Mammoth Cave National Park recognizes the valuable contributions that citizen scientists can make towards better understanding the natural resources we are charged with protecting,” said Superintendent Sarah Craighead. “We are pleased to be a Project Budburst at the Parks partner. Working together we will gain detailed data on our plant communities and how climate change may affect them.”
How do you participate? Go to http://budburst.org/parks/mcnp.php and download a data form. Observe plant activity in your yard, on a farm, or in a park and record what you find. Enter your data on the Budburst website. If you want to collect data on plants that aren’t one of Mammoth Cave’s ten focus species, then check out the other plant lists that can be found on the Project Budburst website. Information gathered on those plants will be used by other scientists and researchers.