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Joshua Tree N.P. Seeks Input on Campground Makeover

June 16, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

Public comment is being sought regarding the National Park Service’s proposed plan to conduct drainage and erosion control improvements, along with redesign of the road and campground layout at the Black Rock Campground in Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California, the Hi-Desert Star reported.

The park will conduct hold a public meeting June 28 at the Black Rock Campground Visitor Center Auditorium to inform the public about proposed improvements to the campground.

This also will be a time for the public to share ideas and recommendations.

The campground is sited on 80 acres in the northwest corner of Joshua Tree National Park about one mile south of the town of Yucca Valley. The existing campground facilities include a visitor center, comfort stations, gravel and asphalt roads, and car and recreational vehicle campsites.

The large Black Rock Canyon watershed outside of the boundaries of the campground currently conveys storm run-off through portions of the campground in an unpredictable manner, resulting in localized erosion and flooding.

The campground, acquired by the park service in 1976 from a commercial operator, was not designed to adequately convey drainage away from campground facilities. Campground roads are currently aligned so that stormwater runs directly down the roads with the potential for damaging campground facilities, natural resources, and adjacent landowner property.

Degraded roads and camping areas also have contributed to increased storm run-off, erosion, and sedimentation.

To address these issues, the park is proposing several changes to the campground including drainage improvements to divert storm water run-off away from campground roads and nearby residential properties into appropriate natural drainage channels.

Campground roads would be realigned across the topographic contour to prevent conveyance of storm water run-off and reduce the potential for erosion. The proposed realignment of the campground road network would improve accessibility for vehicles, pedestrians, and horse riders, and it would enhance overall circulation.

Improvement of campsite layout with better privacy would also be a component of the proposed rehabilitation work. The proposed project does not include improvements to the campground entrance road. This will be addressed in a future project.

An Environmental Assessment will be prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to provide the decision-making framework that: 1) analyzes a reasonable range of alternatives to meet project objectives, 2) evaluates issues and impacts to park resources and values, and 3) identifies mitigation measures to lessen the degree or extent of these impacts.

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