It's not every day that the National Park Service (NPS) asks for local resident input on its future plans. So since the Atlanta NPS brand is doing just that, why not use Earth Day to provide your feedback on the proposed improvements.
Earlier this year, NPS published a 278-page Comprehensive Trails Management Plan / Environmental Assessment document detailing proposed improvements at 19 locations within the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area (NRA). The public is invited to submit written comments on the proposals through April 30. So with Earth Day on Friday, April 22, this week is the perfect time to send in written comments about the first comprehensive improvement plan at Chattahoochee NRA since the park's creation in 1978.
Among the major initiatives are adding new, sustainable hiking trails to the parks, and trail restorations, reconstructions and relocations along the 65 miles of established trails. Other major plans listed in the NPS document call for improving visitor safety, installation of better trail marking and directional signage, adjusting parking areas and patterns to better match visitor use, and protecting natural and cultural resources through sustainable trails management practices.
The NPS plan includes nearly 30 pages of details on preservation of the park's natural environment, including native plants, animals, soil erosion and wetlands preservation. Chattahoochee NRA is home to 813 native plant species and another 169 non-native plants, including invasive and threatening species such as Chinese privet, English ivy, kudzu, Japanese honeysuckle, Japanese stiltgrass, mimosa, princess tree, and periwinkle.
Chattahoochee NRA also is a part-time home to 198 bird species, including migrating birds, plus the permanent home to as many as 41 mammal species, 47 reptile species and 31 amphibian species, according to NPS documents. The largest threat to all species is habitat fragmentation, including the loss of the original habitat, reduction in habitat patch size, and increasing isolation of habitat patches, according to NPS documents.