Merced Wild and Scenic River Revised Comprehensive Management Plan and Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement; Yosemite National Park; Tuolumne, Mariposa, and Madera Counties, California; Notice of Availability, 35703-35705 [05-12207]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 118 / Tuesday, June 21, 2005 / Notices include recreation patterns on public land, the relative price of the pass compared to purchasing daily (or weekly in some cases) entry, the benefits provided by the pass (e.g., number of individuals covered by a pass, whether the pass is per vehicle or per person, etc.), household income and other socioeconomic factors, the availability and prices of potential recreation substitutes, and perhaps the strength of any altruistic motives that might cause an individual to purchase the pass even though it might only be used on a limited basis. The strength of any altruistic motives could potentially be impacted by the quantity and quality of marketing associated with the pass. This study will include several focus groups and a survey of current and potential pass holders. Focus groups will be administered to gather information from recreationists about current and potential pricing and pass use. The focus group respondents will include individuals that have purchased one or more of the existing passes, which include the Golden Eagle, Golden Age, Golden Access, Duck Stamp, and National Park Pass. The focus groups will elicit information about how individuals use passes, views on how the ATB pass should be priced, views about the benefits that the pass should provide, and the factors that might influence an individual’s decision to purchase a pass. The focus groups will be held in selected locations across the country. It is estimated that up to seven focus groups will be conducted with approximately 15 respondents each. Focus group sessions will take approximately one hour for a total burden of 105 hours. The survey of current and potential pass holders will be used to obtain information about their pass use, motives for purchasing, and socioeconomic characteristics. The survey will be designed to obtain information that will assist in determining the value (including, specifically, willingness to pay for the convenience value associated with using a pass) individuals place on the existing passes and in establishing a price for the new ATB pass. In addition, the survey will gather information concerning the factors that might influence an individual’s decision to purchase a pass. The survey will elicit information about the incremental value individuals place on an annual pass that provides access to all federal recreation sites compared to access to only NPS sites. Surveys will be conducted with approximately 3,500 individuals. The survey is estimated to take approximately 20 minutes per VerDate jul<14>2003 22:07 Jun 20, 2005 Jkt 205001 35703 respondent for a total burden of 1,167 hours. The combined burden for this study is estimated to be 1,272 hours. Automated data collection: Data collection from respondents to the survey of pass users will include an automated option. It is estimated that up to half of the 3,500 respondents will chose the automated option. The focus groups will require face-to-face contact thus no automated data collection will take place in that portion of the study. Description of respondents: Recreationists, visitors to units of the National Park System and other public lands, potential visitors to units of the National Park System and other public lands, and current National Parks Pass or other federal recreation area pass holders. Estimated average number of respondents: 3,605 (105 for focus groups; 3,500 for survey). Estimated average number of responses: 3,605 (105 for focus groups; 3,500 for survey). Estimated average burden hours per response: One hour for focus group respondents; 1/3 hour for survey respondents. Frequency of Response: 1 time per respondent. Estimated annual reporting burden: 1,272 hours. the March 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights march, traveling through Lowndes County along U.S. Highway 80, and ending at the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery. The document describes four management alternatives for consideration and analyzes the environmental impacts of those alternatives. These alternatives, including the preferred Alternative C, were presented in the draft EIS. DATES: The National Park Service will execute a Record of Decision (ROD) no sooner than 30 days following publication of the Environmental Protection Agency’s notice of availability in the Federal Register. ADDRESSES: Copies of the Final EIS are available by contacting John Barrett, National Park Service, 100 Alabama St., SW., Atlanta, GA 30303. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John Barrett, 404–562–3124, extension 637. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: There have been no substantive changes to the alternatives as described in the draft EIS and Alternative C remains the preferred alternative. The responsible official for this Environmental Impact Statement is Patricia A. Hooks, Regional Director, Southeast Region, National Park Service, 100 Alabama Street SW., 1924 Building, Atlanta, Georgia 30303. Leonard E. Stowe, National Park Service Information Collection Clearance Officer. [FR Doc. 05–12208 Filed 6–20–05; 8:45 am] Dated: May 11, 2005. Patricia A. Hooks, Regional Director, Southeast Region. [FR Doc. 05–12214 Filed 6–20–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4312–52–P BILLING CODE 4312–52–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service National Park Service Notice of Availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail Comprehensive Management Plan Merced Wild and Scenic River Revised Comprehensive Management Plan and Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement; Yosemite National Park; Tuolumne, Mariposa, and Madera Counties, California; Notice of Availability SUMMARY: Pursuant to section 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 the National Park Service announces the availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail Comprehensive Management Plan. The authority for publishing this notice is contained in 40 CFR 1506.6. The document provides a framework for the management, use, and development of the trail by the National Park Service and its partners over the next 15 to 20 years. Beginning at Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma, Alabama, the trail follows the route of PO 00000 Frm 00089 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Summary: Pursuant to section 102(2)(c) of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (Pub. L. 91–190, as amended), the Council of Environmental Quality regulations (40 CFR part 1500), and the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (as amended, 16 U.S.C. 1271), the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, has prepared the Final Merced Wild and Scenic River Revised Comprehensive Management Plan and Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (Final Revised Merced River Plan/SEIS). It is intended to amend and supplement the Merced E:\FR\FM\21JNN1.SGM 21JNN1 35704 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 118 / Tuesday, June 21, 2005 / Notices Wild and Scenic River Comprehensive Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement (Merced River Plan/FEIS) released in June 2000. The Final Revised Merced River Plan/SEIS identifies and evaluates four alternatives for guiding management of the Merced Wild and Scenic River within the jurisdiction of the National Park Service in Yosemite and the El Portal Administrative Site. Potential impacts and appropriate mitigation measures are assessed for each alternative. When approved, the plan will serve as a template for all future decisions relating to recreation and land use within the 81-mile Merced River corridor on both the main stem and South Fork. The primary goals of the plan are to ensure the free-flowing condition of the river, along with providing long-term protection and enhancement of what the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act calls the river’s ‘‘Outstandingly Remarkable Values’’ the unique qualities that make the river worthy of special protection. Purpose and Need for Federal Action: The Merced River Plan is the official document for guiding future management of the main stem and South Fork of the Merced Wild and Scenic River within the jurisdiction of the National Park Service (NPS). In August 2000, the Merced River Plan/ FEIS was approved (the Record of Decision was subsequently revised in November 2000). Shortly after the Record of Decision was signed, the plan became the subject of a lengthy litigation process. In April 2004, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit directed the NPS to prepare a ‘‘new or revised’’ comprehensive management plan that addresses two deficiencies identified in the Court’s October 27, 2003 opinion (Friends of Yosemite Valley v. Norton, 348 F.3d 789, 803 9th Cir. 2003). The Court ruled that: (1) The revised plan must implement a user capacity program that presents specific measurable limits on use, and (2) the revised plan must reassess the river corridor boundary in the El Portal Administrative Site based on the location of Outstandingly Remarkable Values. The programmatic guidance identified herein would revise and supplement the Merced River Plan/FEIS and the park’s 1980 General Management Plan. Proposed Plan and Alternatives: In the proposed Revised Merced River Plan, Alternative 2 (agency preferred alternative) would include all of the elements of the No Action Alternative, with the addition of implementing the Visitor Experience Resource Protection (VERP) user capacity component, along VerDate jul<14>2003 22:07 Jun 20, 2005 Jkt 205001 with interim limits on some park facilities; the El Portal segment boundary would be redrawn to a quarter-mile on either side of the river. In addition to this proposed plan, the Final Revised Merced River Plan/SEIS identifies and analyzes three other alternatives: Alternative 1—No Action; Alternative 3—Segment Limits with VERP Program; and Alternative 4— Management Zone Limits with VERP Program. Alternative 2 has also been deemed to be the ‘‘environmentally preferable’’ alternative. The No Action Alternative represents a baseline from which to compare the three action alternatives. Under Alternative 1, the Merced River Plan— as detailed in the 2000 Record of Decision (and subsequent revision)— would continue to guide management in the river corridor. Application of its management elements (boundaries, classifications, Outstandingly Remarkable Values, management zoning, River Protection Overlay, Section 7 determination process) would continue as presented in the plan. However, a program of standards and indicators under the Visitor Experience Resource Protection (VERP) framework would not be in place and the park would continue managing user capacity under existing programs and policies outlined in the February 2004 User Capacity Program for the Merced Wild and Scenic River Corridor. This program includes continuation of the current wilderness management program and existing Wilderness Trailhead Quota System. Alternative 1 would implement the narrow boundary for the El Portal segment as described in the selected alternative of the Merced River Plan/ FEIS (100-year floodplain or River Protection Overlay [whichever is greater] along with adjacent wetlands). Alternative 3 would also include all of the elements from the No Action alternative, in addition to a VERP user capacity component (as described in Alternative 2), along with a maximum daily limit for each river segment and an annual visitation limit of 5.32 million; the El Portal segment would have the maximum quarter-mile boundary. Alternative 4 would contain the elements of No Action in addition to a VERP user capacity component (as described in Alternative 2), along with limits for each river management zone and an annual visitation limit of 3.27 million; the El Portal segment boundary would be drawn according to the location of Outstandingly Remarkable Values. Planning Background: The draft and final Revised Merced River Plan/SEIS were prepared pursuant to the Wild and PO 00000 Frm 00090 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Scenic Rivers Act and National Environmental Policy Act. On July 27, 2004, a Notice of Intent to prepare an environmental impact statement was published in the Federal Register. At this time, a 30-day scoping period was initiated. In response to public comment, this scoping period was extended to September 10, 2004. During scoping, a series of public meetings were held. A letter from the Superintendent was sent to over 8,000 interested members of the public on the park’s Planning Mailing list, encouraging them to submit ideas, issues, and concerns relating to the scope of this planning effort. In addition, the scoping period and associated public meetings were publicized via regional media, on the park’s Web site, through emailed notices on the park’s electronic newsletter, and on various state-wide online bulletin boards. Over 100 letters, faxes, and emails were received and considered during the development of the Draft Revised Merced River Plan/SEIS. All written scoping comments, as well as oral testimony from public hearings, can be viewed on the park’s Web site (http://www.nps.gov/yose/planning/ mrp/revision). A scoping report is also available. On January 14, 2005, a Notice of Availability for the Draft Merced Wild and Scenic River Revised Comprehensive Management Plan Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement was published in the Federal Register. The public review period continued through March 22, 2005. Approximately 1,500 printed copies and 600 CD–ROM versions of the draft SEIS were mailed to interested individuals and organizations. In February and March 2005, a series of public meetings was held in locations throughout California to discuss the draft document. During the public comment period, eleven public meetings were hosted throughout California between February 22, 2005 and March 7, 2005. Meetings were held at El Portal, San Francisco, Burbank, Oakhurst, Mammoth Lakes, Sacramento, Fresno, Merced, Mariposa, Groveland and in Yosemite Valley. An additional Open House was hosted in Yosemite Valley prior to the end of the public comment period. Each public meeting was set up to allow for (1) informal conversations between park staff (including consultants) and the public, (2) a presentation by park staff on the plan’s proposed elements, and (3) a formal public hearing attended by a court reporter. The public was encouraged to submit written comments on the Draft E:\FR\FM\21JNN1.SGM 21JNN1 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 118 / Tuesday, June 21, 2005 / Notices Revised Merced River Plan/SEIS via letter, email or fax. Attendees could also leave written comments on comment forms provided at the meetings. The NPS contacted local, regional, and national media outlets, issued press releases that were faxed and emailed to media outlets and phone calls that were made to newspaper and news reporters to generate interest in the plan. In addition, paid newspaper advertisements were placed in the Mariposa Gazette, the Sierra Star (Oakhurst, CA), the Union Democrat (Sonora, CA), the Merced Sun-Star and the Mammoth Times. Paid public notices were placed in the San Francisco Chronicle, the L.A. Times, the Sacramento Bee, and the Fresno Bee. Numerous stories about the plan and the schedule of public meetings appeared in local and regional newspapers. In addition, several project fact sheets were posted on the park’s Web site; fliers were posted on community bulletin boards, post offices, and local businesses in communities where public meetings were hosted; and press release announcements were included in the park’s Daily Report throughout the entire comment period. The park specifically initiated dialogue with several interested local parties. These included park employees and their families, Delaware North Companies Parks and Resorts at Yosemite (primary concessioner) employees and residents, and park partner staff such as the Yosemite Institute, the Yosemite Association, and The Yosemite Fund. In addition, there was extensive outreach within the local communities of El Portal and Wawona through participation at local Mariposa County Planning Advisory Committee meetings. The park also conducted a ‘‘walking tour’’ in El Portal to discuss the process for identifying Outstandingly Remarkable Values within the El Portal segment of the Merced River and the rationale for the various El Portal boundary alternatives. The NPS engaged gateway communities throughout the process through personal communications and meetings between the park staff and gateway community members. As a result of the public review period, the NPS received comments from 114 individuals, 25 organizations, 6 government agencies, 2 tribes and 1 university, including public testimony given by individuals at public meetings. Over 900 individual comments were received. The analysis of these comments generated about 400 concerns statements, which were categorized and considered for incorporation in the planning process. The public comments VerDate jul<14>2003 22:07 Jun 20, 2005 Jkt 205001 received and transcripts from the public hearings are available for viewing on the park Web site (http://www.nps.gov/ yose/planning/mrp/revision). The Public Comment Analysis and Response Report is included as Appendix F in the Final SEIS. Distribution of Final Revised Merced River Plan/SEIS: A mail-back postcard was sent to all individuals and organizations on the park’s general mailing list asking recipients if they would like to receive a printed copy or CD–ROM version (or both) of the Final Revised Merced River Plan/SEIS. This announcement also indicated that the plan would be available for viewing on the park’s Web site (http:// www.nps.gov/yose/planning). Copies of the final plan will also be available at the National Park Service headquarters in Yosemite Valley, the Yosemite Valley Research Library, the National Park Service warehouse building in El Portal, and at a number local and regional libraries (listed in Chapter VI of the Final SEIS). Decision Process: Depending upon the response from other agencies, interested organizations, and the general public, at this time it is anticipated that a Record of Decision would be approved not sooner than at least 30 days have elapsed after publication by the EPA of their filing notice for the Final Revised MRP/SEIS. Notice of the approved decision will be posted in the Federal Register and announced in local and regional media. As a delegated EIS, the official responsible for the decision is the Regional Director, Pacific West Region, National Park Service; subsequently the official responsible for implementing the approved Revised Merced River Plan is the Superintendent, Yosemite National Park. Dated: May 18, 2005. Jonathan B. Jarvis, Regional Director, Pacific West Region. [FR Doc. 05–12207 Filed 6–20–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4312–52–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service Notice of Intent To Prepare a General Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement National Park Service, Interior. Pursuant to section 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, the National Park Service (NPS) announces its intent to prepare a General Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (GMP/ AGENCY: SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00091 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 35705 EIS) for Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park, located in Frederick, Shenandoah, and Warren Counties of Virginia. The park consists of 3,000 acres that comprise significant portions of the Cedar Creek Battlefield, a decisive battle in the Civil War, and Belle Grove Plantation, an antebellum manor house listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In the enabling legislation for the park, Congress established a Federal Advisory Commission to advise in the preparation of a GMP, and key partner organizations who may continue to own and manage properties within the park. Prepared by planners at the park and in the NPS Northeast Region, with assistance from advisors and consultants, the GMP/EIS will propose a long-term approach to managing Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Diann Jacox, Superintendent, Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park, (540) 868–9176. Consistent with the park’s mission, NPS policy, and other laws and regulations, alternatives will be developed to guide the management of the site over the next 15 to 20 years. The alternatives will incorporate various zoning and management prescriptions to ensure resource protection and public enjoyment of the site, and continued involvement by the key partner organizations. The environmental consequences that could result from implementing the various alternatives will be evaluated in the GMP/EIS. The public will be invited to express opinions about the management of the park early in the process through public meetings and other media; and will have an opportunity to review and comment on the draft GMP/EIS. The Advisory Commission and key partner organizations will be involved early in the planning process and will remain actively involved throughout the development of the plan. Following the public review processes outlined under NEPA, the final plan will become official, authorizing implementation of a preferred alternative. The target date for the Record of Decision is October 8, 2008. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Dated: June 2, 2005. Diann Jacox, Superintendent, Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park. [FR Doc. 05–12211 Filed 6–20–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4312–52–M E:\FR\FM\21JNN1.SGM 21JNN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 118 (Tuesday, June 21, 2005)]
[Notices]
[Pages 35703-35705]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-12207]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

National Park Service


Merced Wild and Scenic River Revised Comprehensive Management 
Plan and Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement; Yosemite 
National Park; Tuolumne, Mariposa, and Madera Counties, California; 
Notice of Availability

    Summary: Pursuant to section 102(2)(c) of the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (Pub. L. 91-190, as amended), the 
Council of Environmental Quality regulations (40 CFR part 1500), and 
the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (as amended, 16 U.S.C. 1271), the 
National Park Service, Department of the Interior, has prepared the 
Final Merced Wild and Scenic River Revised Comprehensive Management 
Plan and Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (Final Revised 
Merced River Plan/SEIS). It is intended to amend and supplement the 
Merced

[[Page 35704]]

Wild and Scenic River Comprehensive Management Plan and Final 
Environmental Impact Statement (Merced River Plan/FEIS) released in 
June 2000. The Final Revised Merced River Plan/SEIS identifies and 
evaluates four alternatives for guiding management of the Merced Wild 
and Scenic River within the jurisdiction of the National Park Service 
in Yosemite and the El Portal Administrative Site. Potential impacts 
and appropriate mitigation measures are assessed for each alternative. 
When approved, the plan will serve as a template for all future 
decisions relating to recreation and land use within the 81-mile Merced 
River corridor on both the main stem and South Fork. The primary goals 
of the plan are to ensure the free-flowing condition of the river, 
along with providing long-term protection and enhancement of what the 
Wild and Scenic Rivers Act calls the river's ``Outstandingly Remarkable 
Values'' the unique qualities that make the river worthy of special 
protection.
    Purpose and Need for Federal Action: The Merced River Plan is the 
official document for guiding future management of the main stem and 
South Fork of the Merced Wild and Scenic River within the jurisdiction 
of the National Park Service (NPS). In August 2000, the Merced River 
Plan/FEIS was approved (the Record of Decision was subsequently revised 
in November 2000). Shortly after the Record of Decision was signed, the 
plan became the subject of a lengthy litigation process. In April 2004, 
the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit directed the NPS to 
prepare a ``new or revised'' comprehensive management plan that 
addresses two deficiencies identified in the Court's October 27, 2003 
opinion (Friends of Yosemite Valley v. Norton, 348 F.3d 789, 803 9th 
Cir. 2003). The Court ruled that: (1) The revised plan must implement a 
user capacity program that presents specific measurable limits on use, 
and (2) the revised plan must reassess the river corridor boundary in 
the El Portal Administrative Site based on the location of 
Outstandingly Remarkable Values. The programmatic guidance identified 
herein would revise and supplement the Merced River Plan/FEIS and the 
park's 1980 General Management Plan.
    Proposed Plan and Alternatives: In the proposed Revised Merced 
River Plan, Alternative 2 (agency preferred alternative) would include 
all of the elements of the No Action Alternative, with the addition of 
implementing the Visitor Experience Resource Protection (VERP) user 
capacity component, along with interim limits on some park facilities; 
the El Portal segment boundary would be redrawn to a quarter-mile on 
either side of the river. In addition to this proposed plan, the Final 
Revised Merced River Plan/SEIS identifies and analyzes three other 
alternatives: Alternative 1--No Action; Alternative 3--Segment Limits 
with VERP Program; and Alternative 4--Management Zone Limits with VERP 
Program. Alternative 2 has also been deemed to be the ``environmentally 
preferable'' alternative.
    The No Action Alternative represents a baseline from which to 
compare the three action alternatives. Under Alternative 1, the Merced 
River Plan--as detailed in the 2000 Record of Decision (and subsequent 
revision)--would continue to guide management in the river corridor. 
Application of its management elements (boundaries, classifications, 
Outstandingly Remarkable Values, management zoning, River Protection 
Overlay, Section 7 determination process) would continue as presented 
in the plan. However, a program of standards and indicators under the 
Visitor Experience Resource Protection (VERP) framework would not be in 
place and the park would continue managing user capacity under existing 
programs and policies outlined in the February 2004 User Capacity 
Program for the Merced Wild and Scenic River Corridor. This program 
includes continuation of the current wilderness management program and 
existing Wilderness Trailhead Quota System. Alternative 1 would 
implement the narrow boundary for the El Portal segment as described in 
the selected alternative of the Merced River Plan/FEIS (100-year 
floodplain or River Protection Overlay [whichever is greater] along 
with adjacent wetlands).
    Alternative 3 would also include all of the elements from the No 
Action alternative, in addition to a VERP user capacity component (as 
described in Alternative 2), along with a maximum daily limit for each 
river segment and an annual visitation limit of 5.32 million; the El 
Portal segment would have the maximum quarter-mile boundary.
    Alternative 4 would contain the elements of No Action in addition 
to a VERP user capacity component (as described in Alternative 2), 
along with limits for each river management zone and an annual 
visitation limit of 3.27 million; the El Portal segment boundary would 
be drawn according to the location of Outstandingly Remarkable Values.
    Planning Background: The draft and final Revised Merced River Plan/
SEIS were prepared pursuant to the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and 
National Environmental Policy Act. On July 27, 2004, a Notice of Intent 
to prepare an environmental impact statement was published in the 
Federal Register. At this time, a 30-day scoping period was initiated. 
In response to public comment, this scoping period was extended to 
September 10, 2004. During scoping, a series of public meetings were 
held. A letter from the Superintendent was sent to over 8,000 
interested members of the public on the park's Planning Mailing list, 
encouraging them to submit ideas, issues, and concerns relating to the 
scope of this planning effort. In addition, the scoping period and 
associated public meetings were publicized via regional media, on the 
park's Web site, through emailed notices on the park's electronic 
newsletter, and on various state-wide online bulletin boards. Over 100 
letters, faxes, and emails were received and considered during the 
development of the Draft Revised Merced River Plan/SEIS. All written 
scoping comments, as well as oral testimony from public hearings, can 
be viewed on the park's Web site (http://www.nps.gov/yose/planning/mrp/
revision). A scoping report is also available.
    On January 14, 2005, a Notice of Availability for the Draft Merced 
Wild and Scenic River Revised Comprehensive Management Plan 
Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement was published in the 
Federal Register. The public review period continued through March 22, 
2005. Approximately 1,500 printed copies and 600 CD-ROM versions of the 
draft SEIS were mailed to interested individuals and organizations. In 
February and March 2005, a series of public meetings was held in 
locations throughout California to discuss the draft document. During 
the public comment period, eleven public meetings were hosted 
throughout California between February 22, 2005 and March 7, 2005. 
Meetings were held at El Portal, San Francisco, Burbank, Oakhurst, 
Mammoth Lakes, Sacramento, Fresno, Merced, Mariposa, Groveland and in 
Yosemite Valley. An additional Open House was hosted in Yosemite Valley 
prior to the end of the public comment period. Each public meeting was 
set up to allow for (1) informal conversations between park staff 
(including consultants) and the public, (2) a presentation by park 
staff on the plan's proposed elements, and (3) a formal public hearing 
attended by a court reporter. The public was encouraged to submit 
written comments on the Draft

[[Page 35705]]

Revised Merced River Plan/SEIS via letter, email or fax. Attendees 
could also leave written comments on comment forms provided at the 
meetings.
    The NPS contacted local, regional, and national media outlets, 
issued press releases that were faxed and emailed to media outlets and 
phone calls that were made to newspaper and news reporters to generate 
interest in the plan. In addition, paid newspaper advertisements were 
placed in the Mariposa Gazette, the Sierra Star (Oakhurst, CA), the 
Union Democrat (Sonora, CA), the Merced Sun-Star and the Mammoth Times. 
Paid public notices were placed in the San Francisco Chronicle, the 
L.A. Times, the Sacramento Bee, and the Fresno Bee. Numerous stories 
about the plan and the schedule of public meetings appeared in local 
and regional newspapers. In addition, several project fact sheets were 
posted on the park's Web site; fliers were posted on community bulletin 
boards, post offices, and local businesses in communities where public 
meetings were hosted; and press release announcements were included in 
the park's Daily Report throughout the entire comment period. The park 
specifically initiated dialogue with several interested local parties. 
These included park employees and their families, Delaware North 
Companies Parks and Resorts at Yosemite (primary concessioner) 
employees and residents, and park partner staff such as the Yosemite 
Institute, the Yosemite Association, and The Yosemite Fund. In 
addition, there was extensive outreach within the local communities of 
El Portal and Wawona through participation at local Mariposa County 
Planning Advisory Committee meetings. The park also conducted a 
``walking tour'' in El Portal to discuss the process for identifying 
Outstandingly Remarkable Values within the El Portal segment of the 
Merced River and the rationale for the various El Portal boundary 
alternatives. The NPS engaged gateway communities throughout the 
process through personal communications and meetings between the park 
staff and gateway community members.
    As a result of the public review period, the NPS received comments 
from 114 individuals, 25 organizations, 6 government agencies, 2 tribes 
and 1 university, including public testimony given by individuals at 
public meetings. Over 900 individual comments were received. The 
analysis of these comments generated about 400 concerns statements, 
which were categorized and considered for incorporation in the planning 
process. The public comments received and transcripts from the public 
hearings are available for viewing on the park Web site (http://
www.nps.gov/yose/planning/mrp/revision). The Public Comment Analysis 
and Response Report is included as Appendix F in the Final SEIS.
    Distribution of Final Revised Merced River Plan/SEIS: A mail-back 
postcard was sent to all individuals and organizations on the park's 
general mailing list asking recipients if they would like to receive a 
printed copy or CD-ROM version (or both) of the Final Revised Merced 
River Plan/SEIS. This announcement also indicated that the plan would 
be available for viewing on the park's Web site (http://www.nps.gov/
yose/planning). Copies of the final plan will also be available at the 
National Park Service headquarters in Yosemite Valley, the Yosemite 
Valley Research Library, the National Park Service warehouse building 
in El Portal, and at a number local and regional libraries (listed in 
Chapter VI of the Final SEIS).
    Decision Process: Depending upon the response from other agencies, 
interested organizations, and the general public, at this time it is 
anticipated that a Record of Decision would be approved not sooner than 
at least 30 days have elapsed after publication by the EPA of their 
filing notice for the Final Revised MRP/SEIS. Notice of the approved 
decision will be posted in the Federal Register and announced in local 
and regional media. As a delegated EIS, the official responsible for 
the decision is the Regional Director, Pacific West Region, National 
Park Service; subsequently the official responsible for implementing 
the approved Revised Merced River Plan is the Superintendent, Yosemite 
National Park.

    Dated: May 18, 2005.
Jonathan B. Jarvis,
Regional Director, Pacific West Region.
[FR Doc. 05-12207 Filed 6-20-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4312-52-P