Buffalo National River Projects Ready for Public Review
Harrison, Arkansas – Two projects are ready for public input. Public engagement is critical to the process of the decision-making and we recognize the diversity of opinion and interest represented by our visitors and stakeholders. There are multiple ways to comment on both projects.
On Monday, October 22nd from 5:30 to 7 pm, there will be an open house at the Tyler Bend Visitor Center to learn and comment on the proposed mountain bike trail system near the Tyler Bend Campground. The goal of this project is to improve the trail system in the park, and increase the utilization of the trails and campground at Tyler Bend. An added benefit would be to test the feasibility of allowing mountain biking on select trails in non-wilderness areas of the park. The trail system at Tyler Bend currently consists of 6.1 miles of hiking trails including the River View Trail (0.9 mi), Collier Homestead/River View Trail (0.5 mi), Return Trail (0.4 mi), Spring Hollow Trail (0.9 mi), Buck Ridge Trail (0.8 mi), Rock Wall Trail (0.9 mi) and Buffalo River Trail (2.2 mi). These trails are all hiking only, with the exception of the Collier Homestead/River View trail which is minimally wheelchair accessible. Mountain biking is currently not allowed on any park trails, but is allowed on roadways open to public traffic. Major changes could include allowing mountain biking on the Tyler Bend Trails; changing the River View Trail (heading to the Collier Homestead) to be universally accessible, and rerouting two segments of trail. Implementing the plan, depending on the alternative selected, could be a potential partnership project with private philanthropic and mountain biking organizations.
On Tuesday, October 23rd from 5:30 to 7 pm there will be a presentation at the Boone County Library, 221 W. Stephenson, Harrison regarding the Rush Historic District Cultural Landscape Report and Environmental Assessment. Rush Historic District in Buffalo National River preserves the remains of the mining community that first developed in the 1880s when zinc deposits were discovered in the rock outcrops of Rush Mountain. The community grew from individual prospectors’ digs to full-scale industrial zinc mining that contained vast room-and-pillar mines, zinc concentrating mills, and support structures. The start of World War I brought new demand for zinc, which led to a mining boom with ten different companies operating fourteen separate mines in the area. Falling prices for zinc after the war’s end meant closures of several mines, with the last one – New White Eagle Mine – closing in 1962. The Cultural Landscape Report will explore alternatives for improving the condition of the remaining structures and surrounding landscape, and also propose new ways to bring the stories alive for visitors.
The park is taking comments electronically. For the Tyler Bend Trails project at https://parkplanning.nps. gov/tylerbendtrails , and for the Rush Cultural Landscape Report at http://parkplanning.nps. gov/RushCLR . You can also pick up a paper comment form from Park Headquarters in Harrison, Steel Creek Ranger Station, Tyler Bend Visitor Center, or Buffalo Point Ranger Station, or you can email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org . There are printed review copies available for reading in the Reading Room, Boone County Library, 221 W. Stephenson, Harrison. Following the public review period, which lasts until November 6, 2018, the park will review all feedback, finalize the proposal, and determine how, or if, to implement the proposed changes.
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