Notice of Application for Withdrawal at Mendenhall Glacier and Opportunity for Public Meetings
U.S. Forest Service has formally requested the Secretary of the Interior withdraw an additional 4,560 acres to expand the boundary of Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area
ANCHORAGE – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published a notice today that the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) requested a public land order withdrawal that would expand the USFS-managed Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area. The BLM is responsible for preparing all public land orders for approval by the Secretary of the Interior, who exercises land withdrawal authority.
The notice announces a 90-day public comment period and the opportunity to request public meetings regarding the withdrawal application. Publication of the notice also closes the lands from mining activity for up to two years, subject to valid existing rights.
The boundaries of the existing withdrawal include an area that was previously covered by Mendenhall Glacier, which has been receding since the end of the last mini ice age in the 1700s. As the glacier recedes, it is expected to retreat from view of the existing visitor center by 2050. The Glacier’s retreat is also opening new ecosystems in the area, making salmon, bears and other wildlife more prevalent.
The intent of the withdrawal is to protect recreation use, the scenic integrity, and existing infrastructure while providing for future Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area facility development. The glacier’s retreat makes it necessary to withdraw newly exposed lands from mining activities to preserve the vista.
A key attraction in Alaska, the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area, receives about 700,000 visitors annually with a projected increase of 2% to 4% each year. The proposed withdrawal is consistent with the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area 2019 Master Plan developed to respond to these changes, capitalize on new opportunities, meet visitation needs over the next 20 years and provide a vision for the next 50 years.
All comments and meeting requests should be mailed to the BLM Alaska State Office, 222 West Seventh Avenue, No. 13, Anchorage, Alaska 99513-7504. The BLM will not consider comments received via telephone calls.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.