NPS shopping for Elwha water contractors

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Peninsula news Network

Port Angeles, WA - The National Park Service is ready to start shopping for contractors to build the first project connected with the demolition of the Elwha River dams.

After years of planning, NPS has issued a “pre-solicitation notice” to construct the new Port Angeles Water Treatment Plant, which is one of the first steps needed before the dams can be torn down.

Under the 1992 Elwha River Restoration Act, the federal government agreed to replace the city’s present water system, which draws water deep from underneath the river bed. It’s expected that system will be fouled when tons of silt that has collected behind the two dams is allowed to flow downstream.

Park officials said Thursday the agency will issue a Request for Proposals on June 7th. That project is expected to cost between $15 and $20-million.

This fall the Park Service expects to issue another set of notices to cover construction of the new system to take water from the surface of the river that’s used for the Elwha hatcheries and local industrial customers including the Nippon Paper mill. Those improvements could cost as much as $80-million.

In Other Park News...

Olympic National Park fees could climb

Monday, May 7, 2007

Olympic National Park users could end up paying some of the highest entrance fees in the country if rates being developed by the parks take effect.

Although no rate hikes are final yet, early indications are that Olympic and other popular parks parks like Yellowstone, Glacier, and Yosemite, could increase the cost of their annual passes to $50 under the new plan. Annual passes currently cost $30.

Department of Interior officials have said the fee increases are being geared to help make up for a continued shortfall in operational funding for the national parks, which had had to trim visitor services, and cutback maintenance in recent years. However, the actual amount of the increased fees are being left up to the local park units, which can ask headquarters to adjust the prices where communities have concerns about the impacts of higher fees.

ONP officials haven’t released complete details of the proposed local fee increases as yet, and how the price of a 7-day entrance fee would change. It currently costs $15 per vehicle for a one-week pass, with individuals entering the park on foot, bike or motorcycle paying $5, with children under 15 admitted free.

There have also been no indications yet on whether fees for backcountry use will increase.

It’s expected the park would begin taking public comments on the new rate plan later this month with a final package adopted toward the end of the summer.


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