Tamolitch Pool Draft Environmental Assessment now available for review and comment

Tamolith pool

Source: USDA Forest Service

The Tamolitch Pool (Blue Pool) Draft Environmental Assessment (Draft EA) has been completed and is now available for review and comment.The McKenzie River Ranger District is proposing a project at Tamolitch Pool (commonly known as Blue Pool) in order to create a recreation site that can maintain sustainable levels of recreational use along with protection of natural and cultural resources for decades into the future.

The Purpose and Need for this project is made up of the following five objectives:

(1) improve visitor safety,

(2) reduce impacts to natural resources

(3) improve the quality of the recreation experience

(4) be a good neighbor to the Eugene Water & Electric Board

(5) and protect a designated Wild & Scenic River.

Two alternatives were analyzed in the Draft EA: the proposed action and a no action alternative.The proposed action would build a parking lot on approximately 3 acres, re-route a section of the McKenzie River National Recreation Trail, close Tamolitch Pool to swimming, and add some amenities at the parking lot, the pool, and along the trail. The trail to Tamolitch Pool would be re-routed from the west side of the river to the east side of the river by decommissioning approximately 2 miles of trail and constructing approximately 3 miles of trail. Tamolitch Pool would be closed to all swimming to protect public safety, water quality, and riparian vegetation. Examples of added amenities would include an entry station, restrooms, trash receptacles, picnic benches, loading zone, parking for oversized vehicles, parking for people with disabled person parking passes, universal accessibility trail specifications, up to eight dispersed campsites, educational signage, a scenic overlook, safety barrier, dedicated emergency responder parking, and a medical evacuation helicopter landing site. Other connected actions would include road width expansion, construction of approximately 200 feet of new road, construction of a highway turn lane, installation of additional no parking signage, and installation of up to four gates that would close up to 4.5 miles of road to public motorized access.

The project is located approximately 10 miles northeast of the town of McKenzie Bridge, Oregon within the Upper McKenzie Watershed on the McKenzie River Ranger District of the Willamette National Forest. The legal description of the location is the following: T15S R6E Sections 1, 11, and 12, T15S R7E Section 6, T14S R6E Sections 25 and 36, and T14S R7E Sections 30 and 31.Opportunity to Comment and Timeframe

The Draft EA and other related documents are available on the project website: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=53543Electronic, mailed, and faxed comments will be accepted.

The preferred method for receiving public comments is through the Forest Service online comment system:https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/…//CommentInput…

Alternatively, comments may also be mailed to the following address: Attn: Darren Cross c/o Dean Schlichting, McKenzie River Ranger District, 57600 McKenzie Highway, McKenzie Bridge, Oregon 97413. Comments may also be faxed to 541-822-3712.The 30-day comment period for this project was announced in a legal notice published in the McKenzie River Ranger District’s official newspaper of record, the Eugene Register-Guard, on April 29, 2021. The date of this legal notice is the exclusive means for calculating the comment period. All comments from the public (including attachments) must be postmarked or delivered before the close of the comment period. It is the responsibility of each person who provides comments to ensure that their comments were received.

Comments should be specific, within the scope of the proposed action, have a direct relationship to the proposed action, and include supporting reasons for the Responsible Official to consider.Only those people who submit specific written comments that meet the requirements under Forest Service regulations 36 CFR 218 during the designated comment period will be eligible to participate in the administrative review (“objection”) process. Comments submitted anonymously will be accepted and considered, but do not meet the requirements under 36 CFR 218 and will not be eligible for administrative review.

Comments received in response to this solicitation (including names and addresses of those who comment) will be considered part of the public record for this project, made available for public inspection, and released if requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

If you have any questions after visiting the above project website and reading the Draft EA document, please contact the Project Lead, Dean Schlichting (NEPA Planner), by sending an email to [email protected] or leaving a voicemail at 541-225-6424.Thank you for your interest and participation in this process.