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National Park Service Begins Wilderness and Backcountry Management Planning Effort

El Malpais National Monument

National Park News

El Malpais News Release

2/21/06 For Immediate Release Kayci Cook Collins 505-285-4641 x12

National Park Service Begins Wilderness and Backcountry Management Planning Effort for El Malpais National Monument

The National Park Service is preparing a plan to manage the backcountry and wilderness areas of El Malpais National Monument. The purpose of the plan is to help preserve wilderness and protect the elements that comprise backcountry lands at El Malpais while providing for the public enjoyment of those lands. Superintendent Kayci Cook Collins would like input from the public. ?The first opportunity for people to tell us their thoughts, concerns and ideas is at the very beginning ? during the ?public scoping? part of the planning process. I encourage individuals, agencies, organizations, Tribes, and others to let us know about things they think we should be considering as we begin work on the plan.?

A newsletter outlining the planning effort and soliciting public scoping comments is being mailed out in late February to many agencies, organizations, landowners, etc. The newsletter will also be available on the monument?s website: www.nps.gov/elma and at Monument Headquarters at 123 E. Roosevelt Avenue in Grants. Comments are due April 1, 2006.

The plan will cover lands that are recommended for wilderness designation, lands determined as potential wilderness, and undeveloped backcountry monument lands that are not within the wilderness boundaries. The proposed plan will provide a wilderness vision, management goals and objectives, and implementation strategies to accomplish the goals and objectives.

The general schedule of the planning effort is:

? Winter 2005/Spring 2006 ? Gather data; initiate public scoping to solicit concerns, ideas, issues ? Spring 2006 ? Develop a range of potential management zones based on issues and resources; develop a range of alternatives); and, identify impacts of alternatives ? Summer 2006 ? Write draft plan and environmental assessment ? Fall 2006 ? Address comments and release final plan and environmental assessment; approval of plan by Regional Director

-NPS-



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