The National Park Service it taking public comments on a proposal to remove a boardwalk trail and a maintenance building constructed at Effigy Mounds National Monument near Harpers Ferry due to their “adverse effects on historic properties.”
Park service associate regional director for cultural resources, Steve Adams, says construction started on the structures in 2008, but it was stopped in 2009 because the proper National Environmental Policy Act and National Historic Preservation Act compliance had not been completed.
Adams says a planning document is required by the acts that is reviewed by all the proper professional to ensure there aren’t any environmental impact, or adverse impact to historic properties. The monument is on the National Register of Historic Places, and contains Native American burial mounds. Adams says the superintendent of the national park authorized building the structures, but Adams would not says if the superintendent has faced action for not following the proper procedures.
“Well, it was the park superintendent’s call, as to the rest of it, that’s in internal personnel matter that I’m not at liberty to discuss,” Adams says. Adams says they have put restrictions in place to keep this from happening again. He says the park now has to come to the National Park Service to have any proposals reviewed.
Adams says they will take public comments on the issue through the end of this month. They are also consulting with the Native American tribes associated with the site. Adams says they will then decide whether to go ahead and remove the structures.
Adams says after the public comment period is over they will summarize the comments and send them off to the Advisory Council on State Historic Preservation with their proposal to remove the upper portion of the boardwalk. He says they will then discuss the issue and see if the council supports the action.
Adams says they are doing an archeological survey to determine if the holes dug for the support piers of the boardwalk damaged subsurface archeological features. Adams says pending what the survey finds, they may remove those piers, unless they find it would do more damage at the site. He says the archeological survey will use things like ground-penetrating radar so they don’t have to do any additional digging.
You can make public comments the Planning, Environment and Public Comment website at: parkplanning.nps.gov/mwro.
The public may also send their comments through e-mail to: MWRO_106_Coordinator@nps.gov, or by a letter to: Ron Cockrell, National Park Service, Midwest Region, 601 Riverfront Drive, Omaha, Nebraska.