Park Service seeks comment on improvements to Wright Brothers National Memorial

Wright Brothers National Memorial covers 428 acres. [image courtesy NPS]

The National Park Service is seeking public comment on the general management plan for the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills. Some of the proposed improvements include new trails and a multi-use path, an open-air pavilion and additional parking.

The NPS plan is called a General Management Plan Amendment Environmental Assessment (GMPA/EA). The GMPA reviews existing strategies in the park’s General Management Plan (issued in 1997) and develops updated long-term strategies to improve the visitor experience, maintain the commemorative landscape and provide new administrative and visitor facilities.

Currently, management actions at Wright Brothers National Memorial are guided by the park’s 1997 General Management Plan. Many aspects of the plan, largely developed in anticipation of the 2003 Centennial of Flight, have been implemented. However, some management measures were not implemented and a new set of challenges and opportunities present themselves more than 20 years following the original development of the plan.

The GMPA/EA evaluates two alternatives to amend the 1997 General Management Plan – a no-action alternative and the proposed action. The no-action alternative continues the current management of the project area. The proposed action would:

  • Redesign the visitor center parking area;
  • Create new trails and a multi-use path;
  • Add new benches, shade structures, and interpretive waysides through the park;
  • Construct a new sheltered open-air interpretive/educational pavilion;
  • Conduct vegetation thinning and screening to improve views throughout the park;
  • Install recreational vehicle sites for park staff, volunteers or administrative use;
  • Repurpose the partner facility to provide adequate administration space; and
  • Continue plans to partner with the town of Kill Devil Hills to provide visitor parking on a 15-acre parcel of land across NC 158.

Comments are to be submitted electronically at, the preferred method, or mailed to: Superintendent, Wright Brothers National Memorial, 1401 National Park Drive, Manteo, NC 27954. Deadline to submit comments is Sept. 24, 2020.