NPS Issues Decision on the American Camp Visitor Center Replacement Project
FRIDAY HARBOR, WA – San Juan Island National Historical Park today announced the availability of the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the 2018 Replace American Camp Temporary Visitor Center Environmental Assessment (EA).
The FONSI, which was signed by National Park Service Pacific West Regional Director Stan Austin, identifies the selected alternative and is the decision making document for the project.
Two alternatives were evaluated in the EA: Alternative 1 (the no action alternative) and Alternative 2 (the proposed action). The FONSI authorizes implementation of Alternative 2, which includes the replacement of the 40 year-old “temporary” visitor center with a new facility, the relocation of the visitor center entrance road, and expansion of park operational facilities, including administrative campsites and a maintenance storage area.
The new visitor center will include space for visitor orientation, cooperating association sales, seating for an updated audiovisual program, and fully accessible exhibits and public restrooms. It will also include office and storage space for interpretive staff. Site improvements will include an outdoor interpretive plaza, demonstration space, gathering space, accessible pathways, more efficient parking, and replacement of the septic system and picnic sites.
The selected action replaces an antiquated trailer with significant public health and safety risks with a new facility that, in addition to providing a safe and accessible environment for the public and park employees, enhances the visitor experience and understanding of the cultural and natural setting of American Camp and its regional context. It provides additional park operational facilities that support park operations, a much needed improvement over the current concentrated use of a very small and congested administrative site. It also improves the safety of the entrance road and the visitor arrival experience by increasing the sight distance before the entrance road turnoff, and by addressing the confusion over where to turn to access the visitor center.
Implementation of the selected action will begin this fall (2019) with replacement of the visitor center and realignment of the entrance road. The outdoor gathering space, forest picnic trail, and reconfiguration of the administrative area and campsites are not currently funded, but will be implemented as funding becomes available.
The FONSI and EA are available for viewing on-line via the Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/SAJHVisitorCenterEA. For a printed copy of the FONSI, please contact San Juan Island National Historical Park at (360) 378-2240 ext. 2229.