The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the Service) is pleased to announce the release of the Environmental Assessment for the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (the Trail) Reroute through the Wallkill National Wildlife Refuge (the Refuge). The Service plans to move a portion of the Trail from where it crosses the Wallkill River via Oil City Road in Orange County, New York, and relocate the Trail within the Refuge in Sussex County, New Jersey. The National Park Service is participating as a cooperating agency for this project. The agencies are soliciting comments beginning June 20 through July 20, 2018.
The purpose of the project is to provide Trail and Refuge visitors a safe and more aesthetically pleasing alternative for crossing the Wallkill River that is in keeping with the desired experience for those hiking the Trail. The length of the Trail proposed for realignment is approximately 1.3 miles (figure 1). This segment contains one of the longest sections of the Trail that co-aligns with a public roadway, Oil City Road, a two-lane road with little to no shoulder. As development in the surrounding area continues to increase, the number of cars on Oil City Road is likely to increase, causing additional safety concerns to hikers. Oil City Road and the Trail also currently experience floods and overland flow, which affects the safety and accessibility for trail and refuge visitors. Further, this road walk does not provide maximum outdoor recreation potential, one of the objectives for National Scenic Trails, as stated in the National Trails System Act (16 USC 1241-51).
Public participation is an important element of the planning process and we welcome your comments and ideas on the environmental assessment. The document can be viewed beginning June 20, 2018 by visiting the refuge website:
Please share your written comments no later than July 20, 2018 via one of the following methods:
Email comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mail or hand-deliver comments to:
Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge Complex
Attn: Appalachian Trail Reroute
1547 Route 565
Sussex, New Jersey 07461