Methow Valley Ranger District, Okanogan & Wenatchee National Forests, WA, Pack Stock Outfitter Guide Special Use Permits Environmental Impact Statement, 36112-36114 [05-12290]

Download as PDF 36112 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 119 / Wednesday, June 22, 2005 / Notices Dated: June 16, 2005. Kenneth C. Clayton, Acting Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service. [FR Doc. 05–12255 Filed 6–21–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–02–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service [Docket Number FV–05–302] United States Standards for Grades of Snap Beans Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA. ACTION: Notice; withdrawal. AGENCY: SUMMARY: The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is withdrawing the notice soliciting comments on its proposal to amend the voluntary United States Standards for Grades of Snap Beans. After reviewing and considering the comments received, the Agency has decided not to proceed with this action. DATES: Effective Date: June 22, 2005. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: David Priester, Standardization Section, Fresh Products Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, Agricultural Marketing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Room 1661 South Building, STOP 0240, Washington, DC 20250–0240, Fax (202) 720–8871 or call (202) 720–2185; E-mail David.Priester@usda.gov. The United States Standards for Grades of Snap Beans are available either through the address cited above or by accessing the Fresh Products Branch Web site at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/standards/ stanfrfv.htm. Background At a 2003 meeting with the Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee, AMS was asked to review all the fresh fruit and vegetable grade standards for their usefulness in serving the industry. AMS had identified the United States Standards for Grades of Snap Beans for a possible revision. The United States Standards for Grades of Snap Beans were last amended July 5, 1990. On March 11, 2005, a notice requesting comments on the possible revision of the standards by allowing percentages to be determined by count and not weight as well as other changes was published in the Federal Register (70 FR 12175) with the comment period ending May 10, 2005. Three comments were received during the official period for comment. One comment from an industry member VerDate jul<14>2003 21:12 Jun 21, 2005 Jkt 205001 supported the proposed revision. Two comments from industry groups did not support revising the standard. Both of the comments not supporting the revision noted concerns over the accuracy or representative nature of a count-based inspection. The industry groups also noted that size variation of the individual bean as well as foreign material or debris in the sample could affect the inspection in a different manner if inspected on a count and not a weight basis. In view of the concerns from the industry, the proposed changes are not warranted at this time, thus the notice is being withdrawn. This withdrawal will provide industry representatives with an opportunity for further discussions in the areas of concern. After reviewing and considering the comments received, the Agency has decided not to proceed with the action. Therefore, the notice published March 11, 2005, (70 FR 12172) is withdrawn. Authority: 7 U.S.C. 1621–1627. Dated: June 16, 2005. Kenneth C. Clayton, Acting Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service. [FR Doc. 05–12256 Filed 6–21–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–02–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Methow Valley Ranger District, Okanogan & Wenatchee National Forests, WA, Pack Stock Outfitter Guide Special Use Permits Environmental Impact Statement Forest Service, USDA. Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement. AGENCY: ACTION: SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given that the USDA, Forest Service will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement that will evaluate alternatives to provide pack stock outfitter and guide services on the Methow Valley, Chelan and Tonasket Ranger Districts of the Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests. The proposed action is to issue ten-year, pack stock outfitter and guide special use permits to nine companies to operate on these three Districts. A maximum of 4,900 client days will be shared between these companies. Outfitting and guiding would take place both in the Lake Chelan-Sawtooth and Pasayten Wildernesses, and outside of wilderness. Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received by July DATES: PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 15, 2005. The draft environmental impact statement is expected December 2005 and the final environmental impact statement is expected May 2006. ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Jennifer Zbyszewski, Recreation & Wilderness Program Manager, Methow Valley Ranger District, 24 W. Chewuch Rd., Winthrop WA 98862, or by e-mail to jzbyszewski@fs.fed.us. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Direct questions to Jennifer Zbyszewski, Recreation & Wilderness Program, Manager, Methow Valley Ranger District, 24 W. Chewuch Rd., Winthrop WA 98862, (509) 996–4021, or by e-mail to jzbyszewski@fs.fed.us. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Purposed and Need for Action Nine companies have applied to the Forest Service for ten year permits to outfit and guide on the Methow Valley, Chelan and/or Tonasket Ranger District of the Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests. North Cascade Safari, Cascade Wilderness Outfitters, North Cascade Outfitters, Rocking Horse Ranch, and Backcountry Burros have operated under five-year term special use permits in the past, but these permits expired in 2000. The companies have been operating under short-term permits since then. Each of these companies have operated for at least 20 years on the Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests. Deli-Llamas and Pasayten Llamas have operated under short-term permits since 1993. Sawtooth Outfitters has operated under short-term permits since 1993. Early Winters Outfitting’s term permit expired in 2004. In order for an outfitter-guide business to be successful, and justify financial commitments, such as purchasing and caring for stock animals, and hiring experienced guides, these businesses need multi-year permits. Multi-year permits are needed to respond to the applications, and continue the professional relationship that has been established with these companies to provide service to the public. The Forest Service has identified a need for outfitting and guiding services on these Districts to access to the Wilderness and backcountry. The ‘‘Assessment for Need For Outfitting/ Guiding Assistance, Okanogan National Forest, Chelan Ranger District Portion of Wenatchee National Forest North of Lake Chelan’’ (the Needs Assessment) was completed by the Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests in 1996. That document provides overall guidance relating to issuing permits. E:\FR\FM\22JNN1.SGM 22JNN1 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 119 / Wednesday, June 22, 2005 / Notices The Needs Assessment states that the relative public need for outfitting/ guiding assistance ranges from high to low based on the type of activity. The justification for authorizing outfitting and guiding operations is proportional to the public’s need for outfittingguiding assistance. Appendix H in the assessment (page H–1) shows that pack animal trips and drop camps carry a high rating for skills and equipment, knowledge, safety risk, unique services provided, and wilderness dependency. In addition Okanogan National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan, 1989, standard and guideline MA 15B21Q, requires retention of the current number and type of outfitter guide authorizations and the current amount of priority use allocated to outfitter guides. The Wenatchee National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan, 1990, as amended (which covers the portion of the permit areas on the Chelan Ranger District) states that outfitter guide permits will be issued when appropriate to the goals of wilderness management and where compatible with Wilderness management objectives, and existing visitor use. Valley Ranger District, with some continuing onto the Tonasket and Chelan Districts. It includes all of the Pasayten and Lake Chelan/Sawthooth Wildernesses, the North Cascades Highway Corridor, the Sawtooth Backcountry, the North Summit, and some National Forest System land adjacent to these areas. There would be no changes in permit areas from the areas recently permitted in the past. Reserved camps would be assigned to the horse and mule packers to allow closer monitoring and modification. Proposed camp locations would include Bald Mountain, Sheep Mountain, Beaver Creek, Crow Lake, and Whistler. The reserved camps would be primarily used for guided horseback riding trips with meals, cook, and most or all camping gear provided. Camp locations for all other trips would not be assigned. Proposed Action The Forest Supervisor for the Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests proposes to issue ten-year, special use permits to each of the following companies: North Cascade Safari, Cascade Wilderness Outfitters, North Cascade Outfitters, Early Winters Outfitting, Rocking Horse Ranch, Sawtooth Outfitters, Backcountry Burros, Deli-Llamas, and Pasayten Llamas in 2006. These outfitters take people into the Wilderness and other remote areas using pack and riding animals (horses, mules, llamas, and burros). Most of the trips are severalnight camping expeditions, although some of the use involves day-rides. The outfitters offer client a variety of triptypes to meet needs, expectations, and budgets. Trips range from guided horseback riding trips with meals, cook, and most or all camping gear provided to day trips, and also include simply dropping gear off for hikers. The maximum number of client days that would be divided between these outfitters, or replacements for these outfitters who have met the requirements for term permits, would be 4,900, which is the total of the highest annual number of client days each has used over the past ten years. The analysis area (which includes all the permit areas) is located on the Okanogan and Wentachee National Forests. Most of it is on the Methow The Responsible Official will decide whether or not to issue term permits to the outfitters described in the proposed action. He will also decide what, if any, mitigation measures and monitoring are needed. The criteria that will be used to select between the alternatives are: (1) To what extent the alternative is consistent with Okanogan Forest Plan standard and guideline 15B 21–Q, and the standard and guideline from the Wenatchee Forest Plan, (2) to what extent the alternative provides enough stability to the businesses to allow them to make the financial commitments necessary to continue to provide service to the public, (3) to what extent the action meets the needs identified in the 1996 Outfitter Guide Needs Assessment, and (4) the effects of the alternative on the environment. VerDate jul<14>2003 21:12 Jun 21, 2005 Jkt 205001 Responsible Official The Responsible Official is James L. Boynton, Forest Supervisor, Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests, 215 Melody Lane, Wenatchee, WA 98801. Nature of Decision To Be Made Scoping Process In November 2000, as scoping letter was sent to people and organizations that had expressed interest, in addition to those of the Methow Valley Ranger District mailing list. An updated letter is being sent concurrently with this notice of intent to everyone who received the first letter, in addition to everyone on the Tonasket, Methow Valley, and Chelan Ranger Districts mailing lists. All comments received will be used to identify issues, and develop alternatives. PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 36113 Comment Requested This notice of intent initiates the scoping process which guides the development of the environmental impact statement. The Forest Service is seeking public and agency comment on the proposed action to identify major issues to be analyzed in depth and assistance in identifying possible alternatives to be evaluated. Comments received to this notice, including the names and addresses of those who comment, will be considered part of the public record on this proposed action, and will be available for public inspection. Comments submitted anonymously will be accepted and considered, whoever those commenters will not have standing for appeal under 36 CFR 215. Early Notice of Importance of Public Participation in Subsequent Environmental Review: A draft environmental impact statement will be prepared for comment. The comment period on the draft environmental impact statement will be 45 days from the date the Environmental Protection Agency publishes the notice of availability in the Federal Register. The Forest Service believes, at this early stage, it is important to give reviewers notice of several court rulings related to public participation in the environmental review process. First, reviewers of draft environmental impact statements must structure their participation in the environmental review of the proposal so that it is meaningful and alerts an agency to the reviewer’s position and contentions. Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Corp. v. NRDC, 435 U.S. 519, 553 (1978). Also, environmental objections that could be raised at the draft environmental impact statement stage but that are not raised until after completion of the final environmental impact statement may be waived or dismissed by the courts. City of Angoon v. Hodel, 803 F.2d 1016, 1022 (9th Cir. 1986) and Wisconsin Heritages, Inc. v. Harris, 490 F.Supp. 1334, 1338 (E.D. Wis. 1980). Because of these court rulings, it is very important that those interested in this proposed action participate by the close of the 45day comment period so that substantive comments and objections are made available to the Forest Service at a time when it can meaningfully consider them and respond to them in the final environmental impact statement. To assist the Forest Service in identifying and considering issues and concerns on the proposed action, comments on the draft environmental impact statement should be as specific as possible. It is also helpful if E:\FR\FM\22JNN1.SGM 22JNN1 36114 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 119 / Wednesday, June 22, 2005 / Notices comments refer to specific pages or chapters of the draft statement. Comments may also address the adequacy of the draft environmental impact statement or the merits of the alternatives formulated and discussed in the statement. Reviewers may wish to refer to the Council on Environmental Quality Regulations for implementing the procedural provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act at 40 CFR 1503.3 in addressing these points. In the final EIS, the Forest Service is required to respond to comments and responses received during the comment period that pertain to the environmental consequences discussed in the draft EIS and applicable laws, regulations, and policies considered in making a decision regarding the proposal. The Forest Supervisor for the Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests will be the Federal responsible official for this EIS and its Record of Decision, and his decision will be subject to appeal pursuant to 36 CFR 215. (Authority: 40 CFR 1501.7 and 1508.22; Forest Service Handbook 1909.15, Section 21). G. Elton Thomas, Deputy forest Supervisor, OkanoganWenatchee National Forest. [FR Doc. 05–12290 Filed 6–21–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–11–M DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Colville Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) Forest Service, USDA. Notice of meeting. AGENCY: ACTION: SUMMARY: The Colville Resource Advisory Committee will meet on Thursday, June 30, 2005, at the Spokane Community College, Colville Campus, Dominion Room 985 South Elm Street, Colville, Washington. The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. and conclude at 4 p.m. Agenda items include: (1) Welcome and introduction of new members serving on the Colville Resource Advisory Committee. (2) Review and approve meeting notes from July 29, 2004, meeting (3) Fiscal Year 2006 Title II projects review and recommendation to the forest designated Federal official on Stevens, Ferry and Pend Oreille Counties applications; and (4) Public Forum. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Direct questions regarding this meeting to Rick Brazell, designated Federal official or to Diana Baxter, Public Affairs Officer, Colville National Forest, 765 S. VerDate jul<14>2003 21:12 Jun 21, 2005 Jkt 205001 Main, Colville, Washington 99114, (509) 684–7000. Dated: June 13, 2005. Rick Brazell, Designated Federal Official. [FR Doc. 05–12179 Filed 6–21–05; 8:45 am] Dated: June 16, 2005. Gwellnar Banks, Management Analyst, Office of the Chief Information Officer. [FR Doc. 05–12264 Filed 6–21–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P BILLING CODE 3410–11–M DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request The Department of Commerce has submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for clearance the following proposal for collection of information under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. chapter 35). Agency: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Title: Fishing Capacity Reduction Program Buyback Requests. Form Number(s): None. OMB Approval Number: 0648–0376. Type of Request: Regular submission. Burden Hours: 38,563. Number of Respondents: 878. Average Hours Per Response: 2 hours and 20 minutes. Needs and Uses: The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has established a program to reduce excess fishing capacity by paying fishermen (1) to surrender their fishing permits or (2) both surrender their permits and either scrap their vessels or restrict vessel titles to prevent fishing. NMFS proposes to extend the currently approved collection. Affected Public: Business or other forprofit organizations; individuals or households; State, Local or Tribal Government. Frequency: Annually, monthly, and on occasion. Respondent’s Obligation: Mandatory. OMB Desk Officer: David Rostker, (202) 395–3897. Copies of the above information collection proposal can be obtained by calling or writing Diana Hynek, Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, (202) 482–0266, Department of Commerce, Room 6625, 14th and Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20230 (or via the Internet at dHynek@doc.gov). Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent within 30 days of publication of this notice to David Rostker, OMB Desk Officer, FAX number (202) 395–7285, or David_Rostker@omb.eop.gov. PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request The Department of Commerce has submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for clearance the following proposal for collection of information under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. chapter 35). Agency: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Title: Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Vessel and Gear Marking. Form Number(s): None. OMB Approval Number: 0648–0373. Type of Request: Regular submission. Burden Hours: 7,134. Number of Respondents: 8,973. Average Hours Per Response: 34 minutes. Needs and Uses: Under current regulations, fishing vessels permitted for Atlantic Highly Migratory Species must display their official vessel numbers on their vessels to assist law enforcement in monitoring fishing and other activities. Floatation devices attached to certain fishing gear must also be marked with the vessel’s official numbers to identify catch that is buoyed. This is also necessary for law enforcement purposes. Affected Public: Business or other forprofit organizations; individuals or households. Frequency: Annually. Respondent’s Obligation: Mandatory. OMB Desk Officer: David Rostker, (202) 395–3897. Copies of the above information collection proposal can be obtained by calling or writing Diana Hynek, Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, (202) 482–0266, Department of Commerce, Room 6625, 14th and Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20230 (or via the Internet at dHynek@doc.gov). Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent within 30 days of publication of this notice to David Rostker, OMB Desk Officer, FAX number (202) 395–7285, or David_Rostker@omb.eop.gov. E:\FR\FM\22JNN1.SGM 22JNN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 119 (Wednesday, June 22, 2005)]
[Notices]
[Pages 36112-36114]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-12290]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service


Methow Valley Ranger District, Okanogan & Wenatchee National 
Forests, WA, Pack Stock Outfitter Guide Special Use Permits 
Environmental Impact Statement

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement.

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

SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given that the USDA, Forest Service will 
prepare an Environmental Impact Statement that will evaluate 
alternatives to provide pack stock outfitter and guide services on the 
Methow Valley, Chelan and Tonasket Ranger Districts of the Okanogan and 
Wenatchee National Forests. The proposed action is to issue ten-year, 
pack stock outfitter and guide special use permits to nine companies to 
operate on these three Districts. A maximum of 4,900 client days will 
be shared between these companies. Outfitting and guiding would take 
place both in the Lake Chelan-Sawtooth and Pasayten Wildernesses, and 
outside of wilderness.

DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received 
by July 15, 2005. The draft environmental impact statement is expected 
December 2005 and the final environmental impact statement is expected 
May 2006.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Jennifer Zbyszewski, Recreation & 
Wilderness Program Manager, Methow Valley Ranger District, 24 W. 
Chewuch Rd., Winthrop WA 98862, or by e-mail to jzbyszewski@fs.fed.us.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Direct questions to Jennifer 
Zbyszewski, Recreation & Wilderness Program, Manager, Methow Valley 
Ranger District, 24 W. Chewuch Rd., Winthrop WA 98862, (509) 996-4021, 
or by e-mail to jzbyszewski@fs.fed.us.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Purposed and Need for Action

    Nine companies have applied to the Forest Service for ten year 
permits to outfit and guide on the Methow Valley, Chelan and/or 
Tonasket Ranger District of the Okanogan and Wenatchee National 
Forests. North Cascade Safari, Cascade Wilderness Outfitters, North 
Cascade Outfitters, Rocking Horse Ranch, and Backcountry Burros have 
operated under five-year term special use permits in the past, but 
these permits expired in 2000. The companies have been operating under 
short-term permits since then. Each of these companies have operated 
for at least 20 years on the Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests. 
Deli-Llamas and Pasayten Llamas have operated under short-term permits 
since 1993. Sawtooth Outfitters has operated under short-term permits 
since 1993. Early Winters Outfitting's term permit expired in 2004.
    In order for an outfitter-guide business to be successful, and 
justify financial commitments, such as purchasing and caring for stock 
animals, and hiring experienced guides, these businesses need multi-
year permits. Multi-year permits are needed to respond to the 
applications, and continue the professional relationship that has been 
established with these companies to provide service to the public.
    The Forest Service has identified a need for outfitting and guiding 
services on these Districts to access to the Wilderness and 
backcountry. The ``Assessment for Need For Outfitting/Guiding 
Assistance, Okanogan National Forest, Chelan Ranger District Portion of 
Wenatchee National Forest North of Lake Chelan'' (the Needs Assessment) 
was completed by the Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests in 1996. 
That document provides overall guidance relating to issuing permits.

[[Page 36113]]

    The Needs Assessment states that the relative public need for 
outfitting/guiding assistance ranges from high to low based on the type 
of activity. The justification for authorizing outfitting and guiding 
operations is proportional to the public's need for outfitting-guiding 
assistance. Appendix H in the assessment (page H-1) shows that pack 
animal trips and drop camps carry a high rating for skills and 
equipment, knowledge, safety risk, unique services provided, and 
wilderness dependency.
    In addition Okanogan National Forest Land and Resource Management 
Plan, 1989, standard and guideline MA 15B-21Q, requires retention of 
the current number and type of outfitter guide authorizations and the 
current amount of priority use allocated to outfitter guides. The 
Wenatchee National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan, 1990, as 
amended (which covers the portion of the permit areas on the Chelan 
Ranger District) states that outfitter guide permits will be issued 
when appropriate to the goals of wilderness management and where 
compatible with Wilderness management objectives, and existing visitor 
use.

Proposed Action

    The Forest Supervisor for the Okanogan and Wenatchee National 
Forests proposes to issue ten-year, special use permits to each of the 
following companies: North Cascade Safari, Cascade Wilderness 
Outfitters, North Cascade Outfitters, Early Winters Outfitting, Rocking 
Horse Ranch, Sawtooth Outfitters, Backcountry Burros, Deli-Llamas, and 
Pasayten Llamas in 2006. These outfitters take people into the 
Wilderness and other remote areas using pack and riding animals 
(horses, mules, llamas, and burros). Most of the trips are several-
night camping expeditions, although some of the use involves day-rides. 
The outfitters offer client a variety of trip-types to meet needs, 
expectations, and budgets. Trips range from guided horseback riding 
trips with meals, cook, and most or all camping gear provided to day 
trips, and also include simply dropping gear off for hikers.
    The maximum number of client days that would be divided between 
these outfitters, or replacements for these outfitters who have met the 
requirements for term permits, would be 4,900, which is the total of 
the highest annual number of client days each has used over the past 
ten years.
    The analysis area (which includes all the permit areas) is located 
on the Okanogan and Wentachee National Forests. Most of it is on the 
Methow Valley Ranger District, with some continuing onto the Tonasket 
and Chelan Districts. It includes all of the Pasayten and Lake Chelan/
Sawthooth Wildernesses, the North Cascades Highway Corridor, the 
Sawtooth Backcountry, the North Summit, and some National Forest System 
land adjacent to these areas. There would be no changes in permit areas 
from the areas recently permitted in the past.
    Reserved camps would be assigned to the horse and mule packers to 
allow closer monitoring and modification. Proposed camp locations would 
include Bald Mountain, Sheep Mountain, Beaver Creek, Crow Lake, and 
Whistler. The reserved camps would be primarily used for guided 
horseback riding trips with meals, cook, and most or all camping gear 
provided. Camp locations for all other trips would not be assigned.

Responsible Official

    The Responsible Official is James L. Boynton, Forest Supervisor, 
Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests, 215 Melody Lane, Wenatchee, WA 
98801.

Nature of Decision To Be Made

    The Responsible Official will decide whether or not to issue term 
permits to the outfitters described in the proposed action. He will 
also decide what, if any, mitigation measures and monitoring are 
needed. The criteria that will be used to select between the 
alternatives are: (1) To what extent the alternative is consistent with 
Okanogan Forest Plan standard and guideline 15B 21-Q, and the standard 
and guideline from the Wenatchee Forest Plan, (2) to what extent the 
alternative provides enough stability to the businesses to allow them 
to make the financial commitments necessary to continue to provide 
service to the public, (3) to what extent the action meets the needs 
identified in the 1996 Outfitter Guide Needs Assessment, and (4) the 
effects of the alternative on the environment.

Scoping Process

    In November 2000, as scoping letter was sent to people and 
organizations that had expressed interest, in addition to those of the 
Methow Valley Ranger District mailing list. An updated letter is being 
sent concurrently with this notice of intent to everyone who received 
the first letter, in addition to everyone on the Tonasket, Methow 
Valley, and Chelan Ranger Districts mailing lists. All comments 
received will be used to identify issues, and develop alternatives.

Comment Requested

    This notice of intent initiates the scoping process which guides 
the development of the environmental impact statement. The Forest 
Service is seeking public and agency comment on the proposed action to 
identify major issues to be analyzed in depth and assistance in 
identifying possible alternatives to be evaluated. Comments received to 
this notice, including the names and addresses of those who comment, 
will be considered part of the public record on this proposed action, 
and will be available for public inspection. Comments submitted 
anonymously will be accepted and considered, whoever those commenters 
will not have standing for appeal under 36 CFR 215.
    Early Notice of Importance of Public Participation in Subsequent 
Environmental Review: A draft environmental impact statement will be 
prepared for comment. The comment period on the draft environmental 
impact statement will be 45 days from the date the Environmental 
Protection Agency publishes the notice of availability in the Federal 
Register.
    The Forest Service believes, at this early stage, it is important 
to give reviewers notice of several court rulings related to public 
participation in the environmental review process. First, reviewers of 
draft environmental impact statements must structure their 
participation in the environmental review of the proposal so that it is 
meaningful and alerts an agency to the reviewer's position and 
contentions. Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Corp. v. NRDC, 435 U.S. 519, 
553 (1978). Also, environmental objections that could be raised at the 
draft environmental impact statement stage but that are not raised 
until after completion of the final environmental impact statement may 
be waived or dismissed by the courts. City of Angoon v. Hodel, 803 F.2d 
1016, 1022 (9th Cir. 1986) and Wisconsin Heritages, Inc. v. Harris, 490 
F.Supp. 1334, 1338 (E.D. Wis. 1980). Because of these court rulings, it 
is very important that those interested in this proposed action 
participate by the close of the 45-day comment period so that 
substantive comments and objections are made available to the Forest 
Service at a time when it can meaningfully consider them and respond to 
them in the final environmental impact statement.
    To assist the Forest Service in identifying and considering issues 
and concerns on the proposed action, comments on the draft 
environmental impact statement should be as specific as possible. It is 
also helpful if

[[Page 36114]]

comments refer to specific pages or chapters of the draft statement. 
Comments may also address the adequacy of the draft environmental 
impact statement or the merits of the alternatives formulated and 
discussed in the statement. Reviewers may wish to refer to the Council 
on Environmental Quality Regulations for implementing the procedural 
provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act at 40 CFR 1503.3 in 
addressing these points.
    In the final EIS, the Forest Service is required to respond to 
comments and responses received during the comment period that pertain 
to the environmental consequences discussed in the draft EIS and 
applicable laws, regulations, and policies considered in making a 
decision regarding the proposal. The Forest Supervisor for the Okanogan 
and Wenatchee National Forests will be the Federal responsible official 
for this EIS and its Record of Decision, and his decision will be 
subject to appeal pursuant to 36 CFR 215.

(Authority: 40 CFR 1501.7 and 1508.22; Forest Service Handbook 
1909.15, Section 21).
G. Elton Thomas,
Deputy forest Supervisor, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.
[FR Doc. 05-12290 Filed 6-21-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-11-M