Craters draft management plan
released for review
Blueprint for ‘protection and
restoration’ of natural assets
Open house meetings
The BLM and National Park
Service are scheduling open house meetings to inform Idahoans about a
new draft management plan for Craters of the Moon National Monument and
Preserve. The meetings are scheduled from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. as follows:
- Arco, Tuesday, May 4 at the
Arco Business Development Center.
- American Falls, Thursday,
May 6 at American Falls City Hall.
- Rupert, Thursday, May 13 at
Rupert City Hall.
- Carey, Tuesday, May 18 at
the Carey High School multipurpose room.
Additional public meetings or
presentations may be requested by contacting Barbara Bassler at (208)
Comments should be sent to
Craters of the Moon Planning Team, Shoshone BLM Field Office, 400 West F
Street, Shoshone, ID 83352. E-mail comments to
By GREG STAHL
Express Staff Writer
In choosing a blueprint for
managing the 750,000-acre Craters of the Moon National Monument and
Preserve over the next 15 to 20 years, a team of government employees is
proposing to aggressively manage for protection of physical and
The National Park Service and
Bureau of Land Management announced this week the release of a draft
management plan and environmental impact statement for the recently
expanded monument and preserve.
The document’s release triggers a
90-day public comment period that will end Wednesday, July 28. The new
management plan is scheduled to be implemented by the end of the year.
The proposed focus is on one of
four alternatives proposed in the draft management plan. Alternative A
would not effect any changes. Alternative B would emphasize improving
visitor experiences within the monument’s borders. Alternative C would
"emphasize and enhance" the primitive character of the monument.
Alternative D, the preferred alternative, would emphasize "protection
and restoration" of the monument’s natural assets.
A team of specialists from the two
agencies prepared the draft plan, said Monument Superintendent Jim
Morris. The team has been working on the plan for more than two years.
In Morris’ words, the preferred
alternative would put an emphasis on restoring sagebrush steppe land
that has been impacted by fire, grazing and some other activities. Those
lands include about 80,000 acres that are on BLM administered portions
of the monument.
Under a presidential proclamation
that expanded the monument in November 2000, the BLM was given
management authority over sagebrush steppe portions of the monument, and
the Park Service was ordered to manage the area’s abundant lava flows.
"The monument grew from 54,000
acres to more than 750,000 acres with the signing of the proclamation in
November 2000," Morris said. "We involved the public and other agencies
early on to help identify issues and concerns that need to be considered
as a new management strategy is developed."
According to Rick Vander Voet, BLM
monument manager, months of collaboration and meaningful public input
have led to the four alternative management strategies that are featured
in the draft plan. But he pointed out that the process is not yet
"It’s a draft plan and only a
preferred alternative," he said. "We still haven’t made a decision.
We’re still a year away. There are three other alternatives to the
Vander Voet said he hopes everyone
who has participated in the process will be able to find their opinions
reflected in one of the four alternatives.
"At this point, it’s not a voting
exercise," he said. "We’re asking: Is there an element of one
alternative that can be added to another? How can we tweak all four of
those alternatives to affect the final decision."