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Timpanogos Cave National Monument Visitor Center

Conceptual design for the new Timpanogos Cave Visitor Center // Credit: NPS

In 1991, Utah’s Timpanogos Cave National Monument visitor center was destroyed in a fire, leaving staff working out of a cramped double-wide trailer located in a dangerous rock-fall zone for more than a decade.

When the National Park Service (NPS) finally proposed the construction of a new visitor center in 2009, it was required to carry out an environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This review process is designed to ensure that federal agencies adequately analyze and disclose a potential project’s impacts on the environment, public health, and livelihood of surrounding communities.

In the case of Utah’s Timpanogos Cave National Monument, much of that analysis was centered on predicting the size, frequency, and velocity of rockfalls in the vicinity of the proposed visitor center.

Completion of the Environmental Assessment subsequently revealed that rock falls in the proposed area were far more hazardous than previously thought, leading NPS to relocate the site of the proposed visitor center a different area to maximize visitor and staff safety.

Construction of the new visitor center began in 2018, 27 years following the destruction of the original visitor center and administrative offices.

[1] “Public Comment Sought On Proposed New Facilities At Timpanogos Cave.” National Park Service, Department of the Interior. June 16, 2012. Available at:  https://www.nps.gov/tica/learn/news/environmental-assessment.htm

[2] Timpanogos Cave National Monument Revisits Alternatives for Environmental Assessment.” National Park Service, Department of the Interior. January 31, 2012. Available at: https://www.nps.gov/tica/learn/news/2012-ea-revisit.htm

[3] “Timpanogos Cave finally getting new visitor center”. The Daily Herald. August 1, 2018. Available at: https://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/north/american-fork/timpanogos-cave-finally-getting-new-visitor-center/article_0f40a189-52bc-5176-968a-8ab79a8580ed.html

[4] “Timpanogos Cave National Monument Visitor Center Conceptual Design”. The University of Arizona. Drachman Institute. September 2010. Available at: http://capla.arizona.edu/project/timpanogos-cave-national-monument-visitor-center

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