Background on the Draft General Management Plan for Guadalupe Mountains National Park
The National Park Service (NPS) has released the Draft General Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (GMP) for Guadalupe Mountains National Park (GMNP) for public comment. This Draft General Management Plan / EIS sets out the management philosophy that will govern park operations and establishes the framework for long-term decision making at Guadalupe Mountains National Park. It is intended to guide the actions of the National Park Service (NPS) with regard to the park for a 15 to 20 year period.
This will be the first change in the GMP since 1976! Your comments on the Plan are needed to ensure that wilderness and wildlife in the Park are protected.
This plan and environmental impact statement present and analyze four alternatives for the future management and use of Guadalupe Mountains National Park. The alternatives are as follows:
Alternative A would continue present management in GMNP;
the NPS’s Preferred Alternative would focus most on recreation
Alternative B would focus most on wilderness and wildlife; and
Alternative C would focus most on recreation.
The Sierra Club supports Alternative B, with the following changes, among others:
1) Wilderness eligibility and designation for 38,134 acres instead of the proposed 35,487 acres.
2) Reduction in, but not elimination of, horse use (day use only) on trails in GMNP by some percentage (perhaps 20-50%) to reduce environmental impacts on geological, biological, and ecological resources and conflicts with hikers. There should be no horse concession for the Park.
3) The proposed boundary adjustment and acquisition of additional lands in Patterson Hills, Salt Basin and Flats, Guadalupe Pass area, Delaware Mountains, Guadalupe Escarpment, and other sensitive areas to protect the GMNP view-shed; acquire important geological and ecological areas; and to buffer GMNP from present and future development pressures and allow plant and animals adaptation to climate change. The NPS should acquire the 10,000 acres of land adjoining GMNP that has just been put up for sale.
4) Employment of at least 40 people and rejection of the downgrading of employee numbers to a core of 34.
5) An aggressive push by NPS to get state and federal officials
to address the deterioration of scenic views due to regional
haze air pollution sooner than the mandated 2064 deadline.
Air Quality as an “impact topic” should not be dismissed
from further consideration in the GMP and should be fully
analyzed, assessed, and evaluated for all alternatives including
the effects and mitigation of climate change due to greenhouse
6) Retention and possible expansion of the Pine Springs tent camping area and the movement of the RV camping area so it is separated from the Pine Springs tent camping area.
7) A new consolidated park headquarters and office complex and cultural museum south of U.S. Highway 62/180 close to the maintenance area.
8) Full implementation of the Wilderness Act and protection of wilderness character versus protection of human installations and structures and other human actions in wilderness management.
9) Provision of a shuttle system for trails to reduce driving and parking impacts.
The full Plan may be obtained and comments may be submitted
via the Internet at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkId=69&projectId=11120&documentID=22784.
The specific website address for electronic comments is a follows:
The NPS welcomes comments on the Plan. The comment period closes on June 16, 2008 at 11:59 PM, Mountain Time. All comments must be submitted or (in the case of letters sent by regular mail) postmarked by that time.
Comments sent by regular mail should go to:
Mr. John Lujan, Superintendent
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
400 Pine Springs Canyon Road
Salt Flat, TX 79847-9400
The complete text of the Sierra Club’s draft comments on
the Plan may be found on the Lone Star Chapter website at