Cumberland Gap National Historical Park is in the process of updating the park fire management plan. The current fire management plan does not allow use of unplanned ignitions (i.e. lightning strikes) for resource benefits in appropriate zones within the park. Additionally, the current plan does not include evaluation of fire management activities within the 4,000 acres that have been added to the park since 2008.
An environmental assessment will be prepared along with the fire management plan to analyze the effects of the fire management activities on the human environment and provide an opportunity for public input in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA).
Two alternatives will be evaluated in the environmental assessment:
• No Action Alternative: Under this alternative the park would maintain the status quo with regard to unplanned ignitions and the fire management plan would not be updated. Use of prescribed fire and mechanical treatments would continue at current levels within the park.
• Proposed Action: The fire management plan would be updated to allow use of unplanned ignitions for resource benefits and to incorporate new lands. This action would also include the continued use of prescribed fire and mechanical treatments within the park.
During this public scoping period, before the preparation of the environmental assessment, the park is seeking the public’s thoughts concerning this update of the fire management plan. Comments can be submitted online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/cuga. Those preferring to submit a written response can do so at: Superintendent, Cumberland Gap NHP, Attn: Fire Management Plan, 91 Bartlett Park Road, Middlesboro, KY 40965.
Comments should be submitted by Feb. 3. All should be aware that before including a personal address, phone number, email address or other personally identifiable information in your comment, that the entire comment may be made publicly available at any time. While individuals can ask that their personally identifiable information be withheld from public review, it cannot be guaranteed that it will be.
It is anticipated that the draft environmental assessment will be available for public review in early summer. A public meeting will be held during the public review period to receive additional comments.
Questions concerning this project can be addressed to the superintendent at the address above or by connecting with Chief Ranger Gene Wesloh at 606-246-1054.