First of three public meetings regarding revision of Grand Canyon's Backcountry Management Plan held today at Shrine of the Ages

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - The National Park Service (NPS) will hold three open house style public meetings, one on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, one in Kanab, Utah, and one in Flagstaff, Arizona to discuss the revision of Grand Canyon National Park's 1988 Backcountry Management Plan. A Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and revised Backcountry Management Plan was published in the Federal Register on April 27, 2011 beginning a process that will identify, analyze and disclose the potential impacts of actions that could be taken to manage Grand Canyon's extensive backcountry resources.

The public is encouraged to attend any of the public meetings to learn more about the process, ask questions, and provide input into the development of the EIS and revised plan. Meeting dates and locations are as follows:

Today, 3:30-5:30 pm - Shrine of the Ages, South Rim, Grand Canyon National Park,

May 26, 4:30-6:30 p.m. (MDT) - Kanab Middle School, 690 E. Cowboy Drive, Kanab, Utah,

June 1, 4:30-6:30 p.m. - High Country Conference Center, 201 W. Butler Avenue, Flagstaff.

The NPS is in the initial stages of the development of the EIS and revised plan. In beginning the process the NPS is asking a very fundamental question: What should Grand Canyon National Park's backcountry and wilderness be like in the future? In defining the scope of the plan, park planners want to capture a sense of what people consider to be an ideal backcountry experience and what they would like Grand Canyon's backcountry and wilderness resources to look like 20 years from now.

Comments will be accepted for 60 days, through June 27, 2011. Written comments may be submitted via the internet at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/grca (the preferred method); by mail to Superintendent, Grand Canyon National Park, Attn: Backcountry Management Plan, P.O. Box 129, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023; by hand delivery to Grand Canyon National Park Headquarters, 1 Village Loop, Grand Canyon, AZ or at one of the open house meetings.

The NPS will analyze, consider and incorporate ideas and suggestions, received during this initial public process, into a range of draft alternatives to be analyzed in the Draft EIS. It is anticipated that the Draft EIS will be available for review and comment in 2012.

Additional information including the park's 1988 Backcountry Management Plan, a newsletter and other associated documents can be found at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/grca. Questions can be addressed by contacting Rachel Bennett, Environmental Protection Specialist, at 928-638-7326 or Rachel_Bennett@nps.gov.

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