Monday, October 26, 2015

Opportunity to Comment on Sabino Canyon Shuttle

You might have missed this in the AZ Daily Star; the Coronado National Forest, Santa Catalina Ranger District invites "timely and specific written comments" about the proposed plan for the Sabino Canyon Shuttle. The full proposal is here, and you'll want to read it before submitting any comments. (Please don't submit comments to me. Follow the directions on the proposal.)

The crux of the matter is contained in the following paragraphs (emphasis mine):

Proposed Action

The Santa Catalina Ranger District of the Coronado National Forest proposes to issue a 20-year term Special Use Authorization for operation and maintenance of a commercially-operated shuttle system in July 2017, permitting operations and frequency of service consistent with current levels as described above (see Existing Conditions). Passenger shuttle operations would be limited to the six (6) miles of paved road (FSRs 100 and 100A) within Sabino Canyon Recreation Area. The Authorization would also permit the operation of and access to (along FSRs 804 and 804A) a vehicle storage and maintenance yard, approximately one (1) acre in size and a space to provide information and sell tickets. A change in the location of these facilities are not proposed under this NEPA analysis, and no ground disturbing activities would occur.

The issuance of the new Special Use Authorization will be consistent with the Forest Plan (1986); goals and objectives in the 2015 SCRA Sustainable Recreation Concept Plan; and existing laws, regulations, and policies. The shuttle service fleet will be modernized to include new vehicles with improved emission control technologies, improved energy consumption, a shorter wheelbase for improved turning radius, and improved safety features. The shuttle service operation will provide an audio distribution system that delivers and promotes the appreciation of natural and cultural resources of Sabino Canyon, while reducing or eliminating auditory impacts to non-shuttle users and protecting ecosystem integrity.

No timeline for modernization is given, however.

Again, from the proposal:

Comments should be received by November 13, 2015. Please make your comments as specific as possible. If you provide recommendations for changes to the Proposed Action, please include the reasons for your recommendations. This information will help us identify the need for alternatives. After the Preferred Alternative and any other alternatives have been fully developed, an analysis of environmental effects related to the alternatives will be completed in a preliminary Environmental Analysis (EA) anticipated to be completed in Spring 2016. Specific written comments must be submitted via email, mail, fax, or in person (Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding holidays): Send comments via e-mail to:
There are options for postal mail and fax as well. See the proposal here.

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