Monday, April 1, 2013

Mt. Baker Highway 542 National Forest Service Enhancement Project is open for Your Comments

The Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and Mt. Baker Ranger District is currently accepting public comments on a Forest Service Decision Memo for a recreation enhancement project along Mt. Baker Highway State Route 542. On this stretch of highway there is a need to improve access, enhance safety, increase resource protection and refurbish and upgrade existing facilities and dispersed recreation sites.
The purpose of this project is to improve visitor experiences by improving access to recreation sites and maintaining facilities and visitor amenities, providing additional interpretive opportunities and materials, increasing motorist and visitor safety, and providing resource protection at dispersed sites.

The Mt. Baker Highway or State Route 542 (SR 542) is a state highway that runs through National Forest System (NFS) lands from the town of Glacier to the end of the road. The highway is designated a scenic highway by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), and was designated a National Forest Scenic Byway in 1989. The Scenic Byway is
24 miles in length, beginning at the town of Glacier and terminating at Artist Point in the Heather Meadows Recreation Area. The Glacier Public Service Center, gateway to Mt. Baker, is a heavily used information center that serves over 60,000 visitors annually. Existing interpretive facilities, several built by the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC), and programs along the Mt. Baker Scenic Byway enhance the quality and broaden the scope of experiences for visitors.

Proposed Action 
A brief description of the nine proposed actions to improve the visitors facilities, services and dispersed recreation sites along the highway are listed here:

A. Design and installation of map/orientation and interpretive signs at existing visitor services sites (e.g., campgrounds, picnic areas, trails) along SR 542

B. Improve visitor facilities (e.g., restrooms, signage, and refurbish interior of buildings) at
Glacier Public Service Center

C. Enhance wildlife viewing opportunities (e.g., signage, spotting scope accessibility, interpretive media development) at a variety of points including Heather Meadows
Visitor Center, Wild Goose Trail, and Artist Point

D. Reconstruct and lengthen an existing user created kayak access trail to the North Fork
Nooksack River to reduce resource impacts (e.g., sedimentation), and improve access and safety for users

E. Improve Shuksan Picnic area

F. Improve site accessibility and recreation facilities at Douglas Fir and Silver Fir campgrounds and Heather Meadows

G. Install rock and log barriers at dispersed recreation sites (e.g., Razor Hone) to prohibit vehicular access and protect natural resources while maintaining snowshoe access

H. Install pedestrian crossing safety signs at road crossings (e.g., Nooksack Nordic Ski Area,
Wild Goose Trail)

I.  Install a CXT outdoor toilet in the existing Heather Meadows Parking

Public Comment Guidelines 
If you choose to comment, please submit your written or electronic comments to Theresa Mathis by April 30, 2013. Comments can be sent by mail or hand delivered to Mt. Baker Ranger District, Attention: Debra Pal, 810 State Route 20, Sedro-Woolley, WA, 98284. Comments may also be sent by fax to (360) 856-2632, or by email to comments-pacificnorthwest-mtbaker-snogualmiemtbaker@ Electronic comments must be submitted with the following subject line, "Hwy 542 Enhancement Project", and as part of the actual e-mail message, or in another readable format such as plain text (.txt), rich text format (.rtf), .pdf, or Word (.doc). In cases where no identifiable name is attached to a comment, a verification of identity will be required for appeal eligibility. If using an electronic message, a scanned signature is one way to provide verification. The office business hours for those submitting hand-delivered comments are: 8:00am to 4:30pm, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.

The 30-day public comment period ends April 30th. In order to be eligible to later appeal any decision made regarding the enhancement project a comment must be made during this period.
Please visit the Outdoor Advocates Calendar and use the link provided to add to your calendar.

More information on the project and the preliminary Decision Memo are available at:

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