Several hundred responses received on ONP Draft Plan
Forks Forum staff
Over 500 individual letters were received during the public review and comment period for the Olympic National Park Draft General Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement. In addition to the individual comments, the signatures from three petitions - including 731 signers from the Friends of Lake Ozette - and 737 form letter signatures will be counted and added to the total number of responses.
“We’re pleased and very grateful that so many people participated in
reviewing and commenting on the draft plan,” said Superintendent Bill
Laitner. “We’re now reading through every comment that we received and will address these comments in the final plan.”
The final plan is scheduled to be released late in 2007. When complete, the GMP/EIS will be a long-term, comprehensive plan that sets a course for the park for the next 15 to 20 years.
The public comment period began when the Draft GMP/EIS was released in mid-June and remained open for 104 days, closing on Sept. 30. More than 725 printed copies and 150 CD copies of the Draft GMP were distributed. The document was also available at area libraries and posted for online review at the National Park Service Web site.
Along with the individuals, petitions and form letters who responded, 48 interest groups, 13 businesses, 16 local, state, or federal agencies, and five tribes wrote comments about the Draft GMP.
"We are interested in getting a sense of the overall public opinion, but we are interested in more than just numbers," ONP's Barb Maynes said, adding, "We're looking for substantive comments."
The written comments will be available for review at the Olympic National Park Web site by the end of November. Names and addresses of individuals who commented will be blacked out and will not appear on the Web site. A paper copy of the comment letters will also be available at Olympic National Park headquarters by the end of November; people interested in reviewing the letters will be able to make an appointment to review the letters.
In addition to accepting written comments, the park held nine public open house meetings during August. Nearly 300 people attended these workshops to discuss the plan, learn more about it and provide input.