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Badlands National Park considers renovation plans

October 6, 2018

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — The Badlands National Park is considering renovations and new construction to meet the growing needs of visitors and park administrative functions.

The proposal recently released would upgrade the park’s visitor center, headquarters, lodge, campground and other facilities in the Cedar Pass area, the Rapid City Journal reported. The plan and environmental assessment are open to public comments through Nov. 2.

“The proposed project is needed because current visitor and employee facilities at the Cedar Pass area do not meet the needs of visitors, the concessioner, or the park,” the planning document states.

More than 1 million people visited the park last year. Some of the park’s administrative functions are currently being housed in temporary trailers.

Current facilities are inadequate in space and function and were never intended to be a long-term solution, according to the documents.

Park officials are considering four alternatives. The first alternative includes no action, but the other three would improve existing facilities through renovation or new construction.

The National Park Service prefers the fourth option, which is designed to “redefine the experience at Cedar Pass,” according to the planning documents.

The plan would build a new visitor center that “would provide an architectural experience worth of a world-class park,” the documents state.

The fourth alternative plan calls for demolishing the main building at the Cedar Pass Lodge, which was built in 1938. The lodge would be replaced with a new larger building.

Cedar Pass Campground would also be renovated to accommodate more recreational vehicles, expand camping cabins and increase the number of restrooms and showers.

The second alternative plan focuses on the rehabilitation of existing buildings. The third alternative involves new construction but consolidating buildings on a smaller overall footprint.

Christine Czazasty, the park’s chief of interpretation and education, said cost estimates are being prepared and then potential funding sources will be examined.

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Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com

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