[Geysers] Fairy Falls trailhead Comment Period

Udo Freund udofreund317 at gmail.com
Sun Mar 26 19:19:49 PDT 2017

It's actually a terrible idea, so of course, it will be implemented.
This is my comment that I posted on the NPS form:
The proposed parking area is partially located over known thermally heated
ground. Removing soil from there is risky as it may uncover and/or reduce
the solid ground cover over underground thermal waters. I have personally
observed visitors using social trails in that area getting too close to
thermal pools. The proposed parking area there would increase such unsafe
activity. A better option would be to add an extension to the current
Midway boardwalk on either the south (my preference) or north side of Grand
Prismatic Spring (GPS) over to the (Freight Road) Fairy Falls trail. In the
1990's former Park Geologist Rick Hutchinson stored his "hot boat" on the
south side of GPS and hiked to it from the Freight Road, so one can assume
that a boardwalk could be built there. An additional benefit of having more
boardwalk along the perimeter of GPS is having additional photographic
angles when windblown steam may block the view from elsewhere. More parking
could be added to the north end of the current Midway lot. That may require
removing more trees but common sense tells me that that area isn't
thermally heated. There is much more room on the north side of the Midway
lot than the area of the new proposed lot. Since many visitors to the
overlook would want to see the features at Midway anyway they could do so
by making one stop, not two. Visitor turnover should be faster because the
distance of such a single hike would be shorter than two hikes and two
parking stops combined. The current Fairy Falls parking area could still be
used by bicyclists wishing to ride the Freight Road. Hikers to Fairy Falls
might be encouraged to use the Midway lot because it would shorten the
walking distance considerably, creating faster turnover for that hike
alone. The cost of adding a few hundred feet of boardwalk at Midway might
offset the cost of constructing the proposed new parking area. The Midway
parking lot is inadequate and needs to be expanded anyway to accommodate
summer crowds and especially bus tours. A temporary expansion there could
be paved at a later date.

Udo Freund

On Mar 26, 2017 20:14, "lisa fisher" <lisa.fisher at alumni.mines.edu> wrote:

> This Fairy Falls trailhead parking plan would seem to be a good idea. Am I
> missing anything?
> Lisa Fisher
> On Fri, Mar 24, 2017 at 5:22 AM, M.A. Bellingham <mabellingham at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> Comment Period closes April 1st, 2017
>> https://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectID=67630
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