Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Facility Improvement Project

Mendenhall Glacier Recreation AreaVisitor Center Master Plan


Providing recreation services and facilities is a key part of the USFS mission, and the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area (MGRA) provides recreation experiences that highlight the natural, historic, and cultural resources of Alaska to local, national, and international visitors. The Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center (MGVC) is the most visited attraction in Alaska by summer visitors and is visited by one in every three visitors to the state.

The Mendenhall Glacier is rapidly receding, and the landscape, naturally changing.  New ecosystems are emerging, and salmon, bears, and other wildlife are becoming more prominent within the MGRA.  USDA Forest Service is studying the retreat of the Mendenhall Glacier and how that retreat may impact visitation to the MGRA in the long-term and/or be balanced with or mitigated by the proposed improvements currently under consideration at the MGRA. 

The February 2019 MGRA Master Plan responds to the environmental changes at the MGRA with the goal of capitalizing on new opportunities, providing exceptional visitor experiences, and protecting the MGRA’s resources.  The 2019 Master Plan provides both a short and long-term (roughly 50-year) vision for the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area and a confirmation of the MGRA’s mission and vision.  Several concept designs for improvements were also outlined in the 2019 Mendenhall Glacier Master Plan. Those basic concept designs have been further refined over the past year, and they are currently part of a proposed action under the National Environmental Policy Act as part of the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Facility Improvement Project.

For additional details, visit the project website at:, or visit for more information on the Conceptual Development Plan

Previous Public Involvement Efforts found by clicking here.

Request for Expressed Interest for commercial services at the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area

This is a unique opportunity to re-imagine the commercial services provided at Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area (MGRA).  This Request for Expressed Interest (RFEI) is open to all interested parties, including individuals, governmental and quasi-governmental agencies, non-profit and for-profit organizations, and educational institutions.  The intent of this RFEI is to better understand what demand and interest there may be to provide commercial services at the MGRA, and to help plan future infrastructure that best supports the MGRA’s mission and commercial endeavors that share that mission.

Although the Forest Service is currently analyzing the MGRA Improvements Project under the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), this RFEI is not part of that process.  However, responses to this RFEI may be used to help develop a Recreation / Tourism Opportunities Report that will inform the NEPA analysis.

Responses to this RFEI will be provided to a private contractor, ECI Alaska, for consolidation and analysis in conjunction with Forest Service personnel.

We recognize that people and business are experiencing unprecedented challenges related to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Any interested party who cannot respond at this time but would like to in the future please email the following address:  This is the email address of the contractor working on behalf of the Forest Service.

Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area FULL RFEI

Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area Request for Expressed Interest: Questions Received and Responses

All questions regarding the RFEI were submitted by May 13, 2020 in writing by email to Questions received after May 13, 2020 will not be answered as per the RFEI. The due date for RFEI submissions is May 22, 2020.


  1. I am wondering if you are looking for expressed interest only on commercial services based on the improvements currently being analyzed by the NEPA process or if you are also interested in reviewing commercial services related to improvements that are not part of the Master plan? For example, a proposal of a commercial operator installing and operating an aerial tramway system to replace the current MGRA master plan to use high-capacity watercraft to traverse the lake with utilization of 3 docks. Either way, I am looking forward to submitting my responses shortly.
  2. Do you prefer multiple concepts in one document from the same commercial operator or do you prefer separate submissions for each concept individually?


  1. As stated on page 4 of the RFEI under Submission Criteria CONCEPT bullet: There is nothing in that statement that limits your submission to facilities identified in the current master plan.
  2. Multiple responses in one document is fine, but please be sure to provide clear differentiation between the concepts.

Click here to download  MGRA Questions Received and Responses