Lees Ferry projects approved

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area managers have approved a makeover of the Lees Ferry area of Glen Canyon. The multimillion dollar improvements will occur over the next five to seven years as funding becomes available.

The Lees Ferry area of Glen Canyon is the starting point for recreational river running through Grand Canyon National Park.

Lees Ferry also serves as the only point of access for recreational boaters to the last 14 miles of the un-flooded Glen Canyon, downstream of Glen Canyon Dam.

According to the recently released National Park Service's Finding of No Significant Impact, the following projects will be implemented as funding becomes available:

• Rehabilitate roadside drainage structures along Lees Ferry Access Road, including Cathedral Wash and No Name Wash. This project will replace eroded culverts and create improved drainage patterns to help control erosion of the existing roadway.

• Lees Ferry Compound upgrade. This project will replace the existing Grand Canyon NP visitor contact station, add updated maintenance buildings and covered parking for boats and other equipment. It will also replace the dated water treatment facility.

• Remove curb at graded raft launch ramp. This project will remove a length of curb that is obstructing unloading of float equipment for private parties heading downriver through Grand Canyon NP.

• Replacement of floating courtesy dock. This project will demolish the existing courtesy dock, which is in poor repair and replace it with a new dock in the same location.

• Replacement of potable water intake at the Colorado River. This project will remove the existing water intake pipe that has been corroded over time by mineralization in the water from the Colorado River.

• Install narrow band repeater for Grand Canyon National Park on the Paria Plateau overlooking Lonely Dell Ranch. This project will replace the existing under-powered, under-range solar powered wide-band radio repeater with a new permanent, electrically powered repeater.

The project includes the construction of a small building to house essential equipment, a 40- to 60-foot tower with antenna, overhead electrical service from nearby electrical lines and installation of a small section of new primitive road to access site from existing road.

• Establish the Arizona Road Hiking Trail. This project will include placement of permanent posts to mark path of trail, trail construction to improve visitor safety and creation of a brochure and interpretive plan for the trail.

• Stabilization of erosion of the Paria River bank. This project will be conducted in phases. The first phase will be a complete hydrological study of the affected area and identification of possible construction scenarios.

The second phase would construct the scenario that would have the least amount of impacts and control erosion and protect the bridge that crosses the Paria River and the road to Lonely Dell Ranch.

• Replacement of the USGS Gauging Station on the Paria River. This project would construct a new gauging station across the Paria River from the existing largely nonfunctional station. The existing gauging station, which has been in place since 1922, will remain as a part of the Lees Ferry Lonely Dell Historic District.

The entire Environmental Assessment can be seen online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/documentsList.cfm?parkID=62&projectID=15125.

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