Muir Woods access plan clears key hurdle

Improved parking and pedestrian and visitor access at Muir Woods National Monument took a step closer with the completion of environmental review of a park entry renovation project, National Park Service officials said Wednesday.

The park service has proposed the Sustainable Access Project to enhance safety, the visitor experience and protection of park resources by reorganizing parking areas, optimizing traffic flow and redesigning the visitor entry plaza. Muir Woods National Monument draws nearly a million visitors a year.

National Park Service officials on May 30 signed off on the final environmental assessment of the project, finding that it will have no significant impacts or impairment on the park and its surroundings.

The redesign of the entry plaza and parking areas will create improved passenger loading by eliminating visitor parking except for those with a disabled person placard.

A former nursery area and maintenance yard will become a small parking area that will allow the removal of all roadside parking on the lower part of Muir Woods Road, also known as Frank Valley Road.

Golden Gate National Recreation Area acting deputy superintendent Cicely Muldoon said in a statement about the finalized Sustainable Access Project:

“A visit to Muir Woods should be about the peace of the redwoods, not a battle for parking.”

The project also includes a new woodland pedestrian trail that provides safe passage from parking areas to the old-growth redwood forest. A new Dipsea Trail footbridge will be built over Redwood Creek.

Funding for the project comes from recreational user fees collected at Muir Woods and from the Federal Lands Transportation Program.

Construction is scheduled to begin in 2019 and completed in 2020.

Concurrent projects include the Muir Woods National Monument Reservation System that will manage motorized vehicle access to reduce peak visitation levels starting in winter 2018, and a Salmon Habitat Enhancement & Bridge Replacement Project to restore aquatic life including endangered Coho salmon in Redwood Creek.

Project details can be found at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/muwo_sus_access.