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DVNP seeks public comment for Hunter Mountain Pinyon Pine ecosystem study

The National Park Service (NPS) is currently accepting comments on an Environmental Assessment (EA) to analyze a proposal to conduct a prescribed fire and associated ecosystem study within Death Valley National Park (Park).

Fifty acres of pinyon pine forest with scattered sagebrush at the intersection of the Hunter Mountain Road and the Hunter Cabin Road in the Cottonwood Mountains is the planned location of the project.

An analysis of two alternatives and their potential impacts to the environment and park resources are presented in the EA — no action and the Park’s preferred alternative.

The Park’s preferred alternative includes conducting a 50-acre prescribed fire and combining this management action with a fire treatment study involving fire effects study plots in Hunter Mountain’s pinyon pine ecosystem.

The purpose of this proposed action is to restore fire as a natural process in the pinyon pine forest, provide important fire effects information from the fire effects study plots within the burn perimeter, reduce the ability of exotic plants to invade natural or previously treated areas, increase forest health by creating a mosaic of native vegetation age classes, promote conditions that would allow for recruitment of native grasses and forbs, and reduce the potential of a catastrophic fire.

Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act and Council on Environmental Quality regulations, the NPS is conducting a public comment period for review of the completed Environmental Assessment (EA) for this project.

The EA is available to download from the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment website parkplanning.nps.gov/huntermountainea.

Hard copies may be obtained by contacting the park at 760-786-3227. Note that the request for hard copies will not extend the comment period.

Comments must be received no later than July 8, 2013. Public comment may be submitted online at the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment website.

If you do not have internet access, you may direct comments regarding this project to the park in writing by mail or hand delivery to: Park Superintendent, Death Valley National Park, ATTN: Hunter Mountain Prescribed Fire Comments, P.O. Box 579, Death Valley, CA 92328

It is the practice of the NPS to make all comments, including names and addresses of respondents who provide that information, available for public review following the conclusion of the environmental assessment process.

Individuals may request that the NPS withhold their name and/or address from public disclosure. If you wish to do this, you must state this prominently at the beginning of your comment.

Commentators using the website can make such a request by checking the box “keep my contact information private.” NPS will honor such requests to the extent allowable by law, but you should be aware that NPS may still be required to disclose your name and address pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act.

We will make all submissions from organizations, businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses available for public inspection in their entirety.

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