Chesterton Tribune

NPS wants private firm to operate Good Fellow conference center

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The National Park Service (NPS) is seeking public input on a draft Good Fellow Club Youth Camp Historic Structures Report and Environmental Assessment.

Comments may be submitted to the NPS through July 21.

The report and assessment are available on line at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/indu

 and hard copies may be obtained at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Visitor Center on Ind. 49 and at park headquarters at 1100 N. Mineral Springs Road in Porter.

“Each unit of the National Park Service is driven by federal enabling legislation, and this management plan is needed to ensure that the development of the historic Good Fellow Club Youth Camp meets the Secretary of the Interior’s standards for the treatment of historical properties,” NPS said in a statement released on Tuesday.

NPS will host an open house from 6 to 8 p.m. July 15 at the Visitor Center featuring informational displays about the management plan. The public may arrive at any time but there will be a 15-minute presentation at 6:30 p.m.

The report and environmental assessment evaluate four possible alternatives in depth. “These alternatives explore a range of options for expansion and rehabilitation of the Good Fellow Club Youth Camp that meeting the National Lakeshore’s purpose and objectives while protecting or minimizing impacts on its resources,” the statement said. “The alternatives are consistent with applicable NPS laws, policies, and regulations.”

The alternatives:

*Option A: No action. “Continue current development of existing landscape patterns and features.”

*Option B: Rehabilitate Good Fellow “to accommodate its traditional use as a recreational camp for youth.”

*Option C: Rehabilitate Good Fellow “to enhance environmental learning opportunities.”

*Option D: Rehabilitate Good Fellow “to accommodate conferences, events, and activities rental, and also accessible facilities and overnight accommodations for special needs clients.”

Each alternative addresses the potential environmental impacts to historic structures; cultural landscapes; archeological resources; soil, air, and water quality; vegetation; wildlife and wildlife habitat; sensitive and rare species; recreation resources; visitor use and experience; park operations; night skies and lightscapes; soundscapes; and socioeconomic conditions.

“The preferred alternative, Alternative D, proposes a partnership between the NPS and a private concessionaire or lessee interested in sensitively rehabilitating the Good Fellow Club Youth Camp for commercial special events and rental activities such as conferences and professional and recreational events,” the statement said. “In this alternative, to align with the National Lakeshore’s goals and objectives for all sites, the maintenance and management of the Good Fellow Club Youth Camp would follow a set of best management practices developed specifically for the site to promote environmental stewardship and the protection of historic resources.”

“Alternative D is the preferred because it would protect the integrity and character-defining qualities of the Good Fellow Club Youth Camp, while providing for contemporary use of the site benefiting the broadest range of park visitors,” the statement said.

Send comments to http://parkplanning.nps.gov/indu

 or mail to Superintendent, Attention: Judith Collins, Historical Architect, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, 1100 N. Mineral Springs Road, Porter, IN 46304-1299.

The comment period closes on July 21 and comments must be postmarked no later than July 21.

 

 

Posted 6/24/2009