The National Park Service has released the draft Porter Brickyard Trail Environmental Assessment for Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and is seeking public comment. Each unit of the national park system is driven by federal enabling legislation and this assessment is needed to ensure the Porter Brickyard Trail is in harmony with the legislative intent of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. The Porter Brickyard Environmental Assessment evaluates three possible alternatives in depth. These alternatives explore a range of options for the route of the trail through the National Lakeshore that meets park purposes and objectives while protecting park resources and minimizing impacts. All alternatives are consistent with applicable NPS laws, policies, and regulations.
Beginning Friday September 16, a written copy of the Porter Brickyard Trail Environmental Assessment is available in three different formats. It can be found on-line at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/indu. A CD of the document can be requested by contacting Eric Ehn at the address below. Finally, hardcopies of the document will also be available for review at the Dorothy Buell Memorial Visitor Center at Indiana Route 49 and US Highway 20, and at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Headquarters located at 1100 North Mineral Springs Road in Porter, Indiana.
The best way to comment on the Environmental Assessment is to use the electronic form located at: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/indu. The comment period closes on 10/17/2011. Comments must be postmarked no later than 10/17/2011. If you cannot use the electronic form, you may mail or drop off a hard copy comment form and/or letter to:
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
Attention: Eric Ehn, Management Assistant
1100 North Mineral Springs Road
Porter, Indiana 46304-1299
The Environmental Assessment has three alternatives under consideration. The alternatives are:
- Alternative A (No Action): No new multi-use trail will be developed.
- Alternative B: The Field-Forest Route.
- Alternative C: Locate the trail along road rights of way.
Each alternative addresses the potential environmental impacts to the park’s: historic structures; cultural landscapes; archeological resources; soils, air, and water quality; vegetation; wildlife and wildlife habitat; sensitive and rare species; recreation resources; visitor use and experience; park operations; and socioeconomic conditions.
The preferred alternative, Alternative B, proposes a route that would avoid a forested wetland north of Oak Hill Road and would place the trail in the old field west of park headquarters. The route would continue north and re-enter the woods in an area that bypasses the wetland and larger old tress. It will continue north from there to US 12 and to the Calumet Trail. Alternative B is the preferred because it would best protect the integrity of the natural resources, while providing for a multi-use trail benefitting the broadest range of park visitors.
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is one of 395 units of the National Park System ranging from Yellowstone to the Statue of Liberty. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore includes 15 miles of the southern shoreline of Lake Michigan and 15,000 acres of beach, woods, marshes, and prairie in the northwest corner of Indiana. More than two million visitors come to this national park each year.