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Geothermal Recreation

Present, Potentially Affected

The Recreation and Public Purposes Act (RPPA) (68 Statute 173; 43 U.S.C. 869 et. seq.) enables the sale of public lands for public recreation. These lands do not include, “national forests, national parks and monuments, national wildlife refuges, Indian lands, and acquired lands.” Recreation activities on public lands are also recognized in the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) (P.L. 94-579) under the multiple use clause. Lands covered under FLPMA are managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and appointed by the Secretary of the Interior.

Bureau of Land Management-Recreation and Public Purposes Act

Recreation Impacts & Mitigation

Geothermal development does not pose significant impacts to recreationalists, as several projects are located away from recreation areas; however, the typical impacts and mitigation include:

Aesthetics: To mitigate visual hindrance, consolidate well pad and power plant construction. Intentional site selection also can conceal the site from recreationalists’ line of sight.

Usage: Winter activities such as snowmobiling require plowed roads to access recreation areas. To mitigate snowy roads, plow roads with minimum length and width parameters and concentrate plowing durations. Install signs indicating when recreationalists enter and exit site areas; and when transmission lines or piping is nearby. This avoids property line ambiguity, especially when snow has accrued. Disclose the acres impacted and whether or not the area will be temporarily impacted to inform users of new trail closures and restricted activities.

Traffic: Recreationalist traffic may increase on holidays, weekends and during high seasonal use. This also increases the risk of site trespassing and vandalized equipment. To mitigate site risks, enclose the site’s perimeter with fencing, install a security system and after hours lighting.

Noise and fugitive dust: Construction can cause disturbance to recreationalists and the wildlife that inhabits these areas. Noise abatement techniques include installing mufflers on all motorized equipment and buffers between metal equipment. Unpaved roads and the construction site will be watered down to mitigate fugitive dust particles, while exhaust fumes will be only used during day time hours. These are short-term impacts.

Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development-Geothermal Energy: Construction Impacts Environmental Protection Agency-Truckhaven Geothermal Leasing Area

<metadesc> NEPA Resource Analysis related to Recreation </metadesc>