Environmental Assessment for long-term solution to Polychrome Area and Pretty Rocks Landslide available for public comment
Date: Thursday, January 13, 2022
WASHINGTON — The Department of the Interior today announced that $25 million in funding made available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will accelerate critical investments in a long-term solution to address the Pretty Rocks landslide in Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska. As one of the first Interior Department investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this project will help safeguard Alaska’s outdoor recreation economy and ensure safe and full access to the park much sooner than expected.
“This important investment will bolster community resilience and strengthen our response to the effects of climate change, while also increasing visitor access to Alaska’s treasured outdoors,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “The construction of this project invests in Alaska’s vibrant outdoor recreation economy and will ensure access for future generations. We appreciate the Alaska congressional delegation’s leadership in the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which has made this investment in Denali National Park possible.”
“Investing in a permanent and sustainable solution for access at Denali National Park is exactly the type of project the new Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is intended to fund. We’ll be able to expand access to the outdoors, protect America’s public lands, and safeguard critical park infrastructure,” said National Park Service Director Chuck Sams.
Before work begins on a fix for public access past the Pretty Rocks landslide, Denali National Park will complete its planning through the Polychrome Area Improvements Environmental Assessment. The EA is now available for a 30-day public review and comment period until February 13, 2022. The NPS will also hold two virtual public meetings during the comment period. Visit the NPS Polychrome website for more information.
The new funding stream will enable the NPS and the Federal Highway Administration, which have been working to identify funding and contracting opportunities to accelerate the overall project schedule, to begin phased work in 2022 and complete a permanent solution one year earlier than initially planned.
“We look forward to getting started on a long-term solution at Pretty Rocks. During construction, visitors will continue to have access to great wildlife viewing, views of Denali, front-country trails and backcountry hiking and camping,” said Acting Denali National Park Superintendent Brooke Merrell. “Denali is ready for visitors in 2022 and will continue to work with our neighbors, inholders and partners to ensure an unforgettable Denali experience throughout the construction phase.”
In addition to historic funding for climate resiliency initiatives and legacy pollution clean-up, the Infrastructure Law provides funding for climate resiliency and reauthorizes the Federal Lands Transportation Program for five years, which will help the NPS repair and upgrade its roads, bridges, trails and transit systems.
Visit the NPS's Pretty Rocks webpage to learn more.