The National Parks
Service is proposing to build a 180 vehicle parking lot right on top of
Panoramic Highway, to service overflow parking from Muir Woods. This
proposal has moved forward without an EIR and without any significant
public engagement or input, and without any significant investigation
of obvious alternatives.
information, please see:
Below is my letter to the NPS, protesting this proposal. I encourage you to join me in writing to the NPS and expressing your opposition.
To the Attention of The National Parks Service:
I am writing to express my extreme displeasure with the NPS proposal to construct a 180-car parking lot on Panoramic Highway to serve as satellite parking facility for the Muir Woods National Park.
The Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) that surrounds Muir Woods is no less precious than the Park itself, and its preservation is equally of the utmost importance. No plan for parking of any kind should be considered, particularly in such an impactful and conspicuous location.
As it has been noted by many others, the negative environmental impacts include, but are not limited to, increased traffic and congestion along a modest two lane access road, the loss of animal habitat, increased auto and bus emissions, increased potential for wildfires due to visitor negligence (in an area that is a “tinderbox” during the late summer and fall months), and increased runoff and groundwater and watershed pollution. This is in addition to the greatest loss of all, which is the destruction of the pristine landscape and natural beauty. It’s clear from the public record that these and other concerns are why a similar proposal was resoundingly rejected by all local stakeholders and municipalities, in 2004.
I recognize that demand for increased tourist capacity is the concern for NPS. But it is unconscionable and grossly irresponsible to even consider this parking lot proposal unless or until every other possible alternative has been thoroughly exhausted. However, it’s also clear from the public record that a sincere effort to do that investigation has not even begun. Certainly, if such a satellite parking facility is needed, there are numerous opportunities to place it closer to Highway 101 and outside of GGNRA or other public lands.
Finally, it is equally clear that the NPS has undertaken this entire proposal development process without any reasonable public notice or stakeholder or local municipality engagement. This is a serious breach of the public’s trust and the NPS’s fiduciary duty to protect our natural environment.
For the reasons noted, the National Parks Service should immediately abandon its proposal to build a satellite parking facility on Panoramic Highway in Marin County.
Mill Valley, CA