Written Determination: Bicycle Use at Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, 3190-3193 [2021-00595]

Download as PDF khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES 3190 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 9 / Thursday, January 14, 2021 / Notices Officer, at (907) 644–3596 or via email at joshua_ream@nps.gov. ADDRESSES: The Aniakchak National Monument SRC will meet via teleconference. The Denali National Park SRC will meet via teleconference. The Cape Krusenstern National Monument SRC will meet in-person in the conference room at the Northwest Arctic Heritage Center, 171 3rd Avenue, Kotzebue, AK 99752. If an in-person meeting is not feasible or advisable, the meeting will be held solely by teleconference. The Lake Clark National Park SRC will meet in-person at the Newhalen School, 900 Schoolhouse Road, Iliamna, AK 99606. If an inperson meeting is not feasible or advisable, the meeting will be held solely by teleconference. The Kobuk Valley National Park SRC will meet inperson in the conference room at the Northwest Arctic Heritage Center, 171 3rd Avenue, Kotzebue, AK 99752. If an in-person meeting is not feasible or advisable, the meeting will be held solely by teleconference. The WrangellSt. Elias National Park SRC will meet inperson at the NPS office in the Copper Center Visitor Center Complex, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Mile 106.8 Richardson Highway, Copper Center, AK 99573 and via teleconference. If an in-person meeting is not feasible or advisable, the meeting will be held solely by teleconference. The Gates of the Arctic National Park SRC will meet via teleconference. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The NPS is holding meetings pursuant to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. Appendix 1–16). The NPS SRC program is authorized under title VIII, section 808 of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (16 U.S.C. 3118). SRC meetings are open to the public and will have time allocated for public testimony. The public is welcome to present written or oral comments to the SRC. SRC meetings will be recorded and meeting minutes will be available upon request from the Superintendent for public inspection approximately six weeks after the meeting. Purpose of the Meeting: The agenda may change to accommodate SRC business. The proposed meeting agenda for each meeting includes the following: 1. Call to Order—Confirm Quorum 2. Welcome and Introduction 3. Review and Adoption of Agenda 4. Approval of Minutes 5. Superintendent’s Welcome and Review of the SRC Purpose 6. SRC Membership Status 7. SRC Chair and Members’ Reports VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:43 Jan 13, 2021 Jkt 253001 8. Superintendent’s Report 9. Old Business 10. New Business 11. Federal Subsistence Board Update 12. Alaska Boards of Fish and Game Update 13. National Park Service Staff Reports a. Superintendent/Ranger Reports b. Resource Manager’s Report c. Subsistence Manager’s Report 14. Work Session 15. Public and Other Agency Comments 16. Set Tentative Date and Location for Next SRC Meeting 17. Adjourn Meeting. SRC meeting location and date may change based on inclement weather or exceptional circumstances, including public health advisories or mandates. If the meeting date and location are changed, the Superintendent will issue a press release and use local newspapers and/or radio stations to announce the rescheduled meeting. Public Disclosure of Comments: Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Authority: 5 U.S.C. Appendix 2. Alma Ripps, Chief, Office of Policy. [FR Doc. 2021–00726 Filed 1–13–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4312–52–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service [NPS–CHCH–DTS 29367; PPSECHCH00; PPMPSAS1Z.Y00000] Written Determination: Bicycle Use at Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park National Park Service, Interior. Notice of Written Determination. AGENCY: ACTION: The National Park Service determines that allowing bicycles on certain administrative roads and two miles of existing hiking trails within Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park is consistent with the protection of the park’s natural, scenic, and aesthetic values; safety considerations; and management objectives; and will not disturb wildlife or park resources. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00082 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Comments on this written determination must be received by 11:59 EDT on February 16, 2021. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods: (1) Electronically: Visit https:// parkplanning.nps.gov/chch and click on the link entitled ‘‘Open for Comment’’. (2) By hard copy: Mail to Park Superintendent, Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, 3370 Lafayette Road, Fort Oglethorpe, GA 30742. Document Availability: The Proposed Bicycle Use Jackson Gap and John Smartt Trails Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact provide information and context for this written determination and are available online at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/chch. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brad Bennett, Superintendent, Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, (706) 866–9241 x115, brad_bennett@ nps.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: DATES: Background In 1890, Congress established Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park (the park) to preserve the sites of some of the most remarkable maneuvers and brilliant fighting of the Civil War for historical and professional military study. In addition to the primary purpose for which it was established, the NPS manages the park to allow for recreational activity, which began to increase significantly in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In the 1980s, concerned about potential impacts from the use of mountain bicycles that were becoming very popular at the time, the NPS limited bicycles to (1) park roads open for motor vehicle use by the general public; and (2) a subset of administrative roads closed to motor vehicle use by the public, but open to motor vehicle use by the NPS for administrative purposes. This management framework continues today. Bicycles are allowed on park roads and on the following administrative roads: • Dalton Ford Road • Thedford Ford Road • Vittetoe Road • Mullis-Vittetoe Road • the roads located within the South Post area • the roads known as the Upper Truck Trail and the Lower Truck Trail. In 2015, the NPS completed the Lookout Mountain Battlefield General Management Plan Amendment (GMPA). The GMPA establishes long-term goals for preserving the park’s natural and E:\FR\FM\14JAN1.SGM 14JAN1 khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 9 / Thursday, January 14, 2021 / Notices cultural resources and improving interpretive, educational, and recreational opportunities for visitors. During the scoping period for the GMPA, the NPS received a request to open approximately two miles of the Jackson Gap Trail and the upper portion of the John Smartt Trail to bicycle use. Public comments received during the GMPA supported bicycle use on these two trails. In order to evaluate the potential impacts from the use of bicycles on these trails, the NPS issued the Proposed Bicycle Use Jackson Gap and John Smartt Trails Environmental Assessment (EA) in May 2019. The EA considered two alternatives: (1) A no action alternative that would continue to allow only hiking on these trails; and (2) the NPS preferred alternative that would also allow bicycling on the portions of these trails identified in the EA. The EA was open for public review and comment for 30 days. On September 13, 2019, the Regional Director for DOI Unified Region 2 South Atlantic–Gulf signed a Finding of No Significant Impact that identified the preferred alternative in the EA as the selected alternative. Prior to designating the trails for bicycle use, NPS regulations at 36 CFR 4.30(d)(3) require the Superintendent to determine that the addition of bicycles is consistent with the protection of the park’s natural, scenic and aesthetic values, safety considerations, and management objectives, and will not disturb wildlife or park resources. The regulations require that this written determination be published in the Federal Register for a 30-day public comment period. After the 30-day public review period concludes, the Regional Director will evaluate whether to approve the written determination. If the Regional Director approves the written determination, the Superintendent may designate the trails for bicycle use and will provide notice of such designation to the public under 36 CFR 1.7. During the preparation of this written determination for the Jackson Gap and John Smartt Trails, the NPS recognized an opportunity to evaluate bicycle use on the administrative roads where bicycles are already allowed. NPS regulations require the Superintendent to determine that bicycle use on administrative roads is consistent with the protection of the park’s natural, scenic, and aesthetic values; safety considerations; and management objectives; and will not disturb wildlife or park resources. 36 CFR 4.30(b). This is the same written determination that must be made before allowing bicycles on the Jackson Gap Trail and John VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:43 Jan 13, 2021 Jkt 253001 Smartt Trails. For this reason, this written determination applies to two separate management actions: (1) Continuing to allow bicycles on the administrative roads identified above; and (2) allowing bicycles for the first time on the approximately two miles of the Jackson Gap Trail and the upper portion of the John Smartt Trail that are identified in the EA. Written Determination Park Significance, Purpose, and Values As stated above, Congress established the park in 1890 for its historic significance. Consisting of more than 9,000 acres, the park is the largest federally protected Civil War battlefield in the United States. The park encompasses multiple administrative units along the Tennessee-Georgia border and contains nearly 1,500 commemorative features such as monuments, markers, and tablets. The park is located in Catoosa, Dade, and Walker Counties in Georgia, and Hamilton County in Tennessee. A formal statement of the purpose and significance of the park is set forth in the park’s 2016 Foundation Document. The purpose of the park is to preserve, protect, and interpret the nationally significant resources associated with the Civil War Campaign for Chattanooga and the 12,000 years of American Indian presence on Moccasin Bend. The fundamental historic and cultural resources and values that contribute to this purpose include battlefields and related sites, commemorative features, archeological resources, strategic and important views, and the contemplative experience. In addition to these resources and values, the park includes one of the few large open spaces within and near the Chattanooga metropolitan area. The paved tour roads and hiking trails in the park provide outstanding opportunities for recreation and alternative ways to experience park landscapes. Use of the park for fitness activities like walking, running, and bicycling creates a unique opportunity to engage community members and foster the relevancy of the park with local stakeholders. The flora and fauna protected within the park provide the public with opportunities to view wildlife and enjoy natural beauty and scenic views. Recreation at the park provides an opportunity for current and future generations of visitors to experience and appreciate the park in different ways, while at the same time respecting and commemorating the solemnity of the battlefields. PO 00000 Frm 00083 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 3191 Management Objectives Continuing to allow bicycles on the subset of administrative roads where they are already allowed and adding bicycles to the two miles of existing hiking trails is consistent with the GMPA and the Foundation Document, which emphasize improvements to the visitor experience through the expansion of appropriate recreational activities, including bicycling, while protecting and preserving the park’s natural and cultural resources. Bicycling on the administrative roads has occurred for more than 100 years and is an established form of visiting and experiencing the park. Continuing to allow bicycles on the administrative roads would maintain an important recreational opportunity for park visitors. Many visitors access and travel through the park on bicycles. Bicycles provide visitors with a different experience than other forms of recreation and transportation, such as driving, horseback riding, or hiking. The administrative roads provide approximately 15.82 miles of bicycling access in the park. Bicycling on administrative roads provides more solitude than bicycling on park roads by removing bicyclists from public motor vehicle traffic. This allows for a more contemplative experience for those who seek to interact with and learn about the history of the park in that type of environment. Adding bicycles to the hiking trails on Lookout Mountain is consistent with the GMPA and the Foundation Document, which emphasize improvements to the visitor experience through the expansion of appropriate recreational activities, including bicycling. These management actions are also consistent with Secretary of the Interior Order 3366, ‘‘Increasing Recreational Opportunities on Lands and Waters Managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior,’’ which directs the NPS to expand access to outdoor recreational opportunities on NPS-managed lands and waters. Currently, bicycle traffic in Lookout Mountain Battlefield is limited to the Upper Truck Trail and Lower Truck Trail, administrative roads that connect the park to the regional bicycle trail system on the Tennessee side. Bicyclists can access the Upper Truck Trail from the Guild Trail, which is part of the regional bicycle trail system owned by the Lookout Mountain Conservancy. In the opposite direction, the Upper Truck Trail connects to the Jackson Gap and John Smartt trails in the park. These trails connect to the regional bicycle trail system in Georgia. Under current E:\FR\FM\14JAN1.SGM 14JAN1 3192 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 9 / Thursday, January 14, 2021 / Notices khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES rules, when bicyclists reach the end of the Upper Truck Trail, in order to continue riding they must turn around and exit the park on the Tennessee side from where they entered. Otherwise, bicyclists must carry their bikes up hiking trails to exit the park on the Georgia side. Under these circumstances, hikers are the only user group that has continuous access through the park from the regional trail systems in Georgia and Tennessee. If bicycles were allowed on the two miles of the Jackson Gap Trail and the upper portion of the John Smartt Trail identified in the EA, then bicyclists could ride the entire 21 miles, through the park, in either direction between Cloudland Canyon State Park in Georgia and Chattanooga in Tennessee. Wildlife The NPS strives to maintain all components and processes of naturally evolving ecosystems, including the natural abundance, diversity, and ecological integrity of wildlife. Allowing bicycles on the Jackson Gap and upper John Smartt Trails would increase the overall human traffic on those trails by a small amount. The NPS expects most of the bicycle traffic to be slow due to steep grades. Bicycling on the Jackson Gap and John Smartt trails would occur in areas that already receive frequent human visitation. Typically, wildlife avoid these areas during the daylight to avoid humans. Nonetheless, bicycle use in these locations could create the potential for collisions with wildlife, especially along curves of the trails where forward visibility is diminished. It is unlikely that large species, such as deer, would be impacted. Smaller species, however, such as snakes or lizards, could be injured or killed by bicycle tires. These risks would likely have minimal adverse effects due to the expected low incidence rate of collisions on the Jackson Gap and upper John Smartt Trails. Effects upon wildlife from adding bicycles to the hiking trails were dismissed from further analysis in the EA because the NPS concluded they would be negligible and not likely result in unacceptable impacts. The Endangered Species Act (ESA) requires examination of impacts to federally listed threatened, endangered, and candidate species. Section 7 of the ESA requires Federal agencies to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure that any action authorized, funded, or carried out by the agency does not jeopardize the continued existence of listed species or critical habitats. NPS Management Policies 2006 require the NPS to examine the impacts to Federal VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:43 Jan 13, 2021 Jkt 253001 candidate species, as well as state listed threatened, endangered, candidate, rare, declining, and sensitive species. Park records and field surveys did not identify the potential for individual species, or habitat for any of the known special status species, within the vicinity of the hiking trails where bicycles would be allowed nor in proximity to the administrative roads where bicycles are presently allowed. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was consulted and determined the proposed action is not expected to significantly impact fish and wildlife resources under the jurisdiction of the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service. For these reasons, impacts to special status species from adding bicycles to the hiking trails were dismissed from detailed analysis in the EA. Bicycle use on the administrative roads is considerably less than the volume of bicycles using the park roads. Over the past 34 years, relatively few wildlife-bicycle encounters have been observed on administrative roads and even fewer accidents have been reported by the public as a result of those encounters. Cultural Resources The NPS preserves and maintains 755 documented historic structures within the park. Most of these are monuments and markers that commemorate the troops that fought across the park landscapes during the two Civil War battles. The NPS expects that allowing bicycles on the hiking trails would result in a relatively small increase (approximately 200 bicyclists per year) to the total number of recreational visitors on the trails. The NPS does not expect this level of increased use would have a measurable impact to cultural resources within this area. None of the park’s documented commemorative features are located along the Jackson Gap Trail or the upper John Smartt Trail. These trails were likely constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps under the Emergency Conservation Works Administration from either Camp Adolph Ochs or Camp Demaray, both located on Lookout Mountain. They have several dry laid retaining walls and wet weather drainage crossings that are constructed of native stone. These early 20th century stone walls and drainage features, the only extant cultural resources on the trails, have required minor and infrequent maintenance by the NPS. NPS staff within the Resource Management Division would increase the frequency of monitoring the retaining walls and drainages to ensure these resources are protected. PO 00000 Frm 00084 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Staff from the NPS Southeast Archeological Center (SEAC) conducted shovel test surveys and a metal detector survey within the area potentially affected by bicycles on the hiking trails. Archeologists tested six sections of the trails, including areas proposed for widening a switchback and locations identified for sign and fence installation. The SEAC determined there was no potential for significant archeological resources to be harmed. The NPS would implement management strategies to minimize impacts to resources on the trails, including: (1) Issuing citations for offtrail use; (2) increasing monitoring, education, and enforcement of regulations; (3) re-evaluating trail design; and (4) requesting assistance from trail advocates to establish a defined trail edge by barricading short cuts. Over the last 34 years, the NPS has not recorded any adverse effects to historic structures or archeological resources caused by bicycle use on the administrative roads. For this reason, the NPS does not expect that the continued use of bicycles on the administrative roads would adversely affect the park’s cultural resources. Natural, Scenic and Aesthetic Values The 30-mile network of trails within Lookout Mountain Battlefield and more than 80 miles of trail throughout the park provide ample opportunities for hikers to view wildlife and enjoy natural beauty and scenic views. The proposed actions would extend similar opportunities to bicyclists on approximately two miles of the Jackson Gap Trail and the upper portion of the John Smartt Trail and maintain similar opportunities for bicyclists on the administrative roads. Allowing bicycles on the hiking trails would allow more regional trail users to experience the scenic vistas and natural features in the park. New signs on the hiking trails would be small scale, low stature, natural metal, and post-mounted with incised letters. Scale and placement would minimally affect the natural landscape. Installation would occur in disturbed locations within the trail beds. Kiosks at trailheads and other locations would be based on standard NPS designs that are appropriate for the selected locations. Aside from signage, bicycle use on the trails would not require the addition of any human-made features and would have no other visual impacts on natural landscape. Trail width and trail tread would remain the same as they currently are on both trails: Single-track trail with a width ranging from 2–4 feet E:\FR\FM\14JAN1.SGM 14JAN1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 9 / Thursday, January 14, 2021 / Notices khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES with natural trail tread. Allowing bicycle use on these trails would not negatively impact opportunities for other visitors to experience scenic and aesthetic values on these trails. Existing signs along the administrative roads provide route information and safety messages about bicycling. The continued use of bicycles on the administrative roads would not require the addition of new humanmade features that would impact the natural landscape at the Chickamauga Battlefield. Safety Considerations The NPS will install new signs on the trails that convey safety messages about bicycling. Due to steep grades, the hiking trails would receive a ‘‘Black Diamond’’ designation according to the criteria that has been developed by the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA). Signs and educational materials would be posted at the Jackson Gap trailhead, at the intersection of the John Smartt Trail and Upper Truck Trail, near switchbacks, and in other strategic locations to convey important safety and regulatory information. Signs and educational materials would provide guidance on trail etiquette to mitigate the potential for user conflict and to help establish user norms. Signs would provide route names, trail direction and appropriate practices for yielding to others. The Jackson Gap and John Smartt Trails are well-constructed hiking trails within a natural zone of the park. They have existed for many decades in good condition without a high frequency of maintenance. Trail crews would continue to assess the Jackson Gap and John Smartt Trail during annual condition assessments, on regular patrols, and as reports are received concerning fallen trees or other hazards. Crews would continue to clean all drainages and culverts, remove loose rocks and debris, and prune vegetation as necessary. Trail rovers would conduct monthly monitoring to assist in identifying any additional maintenance needs. Volunteers will patrol these trails to provide safety information. Since the implementation of the current incident reporting system, there have been no reports of bicycle accidents on park administrative roads. As stated above, the administrative roads have signs conveying wayfinding information and safety messages. Electric Bicycles The NPS will evaluate the environmental impacts of allowing electric bicycles (e-bikes) on the administrative roads and hiking trails VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:43 Jan 13, 2021 Jkt 253001 under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) after the conclusion of the written determination process. Ebikes will only be considered in locations where traditional bicycles are already allowed. E-bikes will not be allowed anywhere in the park until compliance with the NEPA is completed and the Superintendent designates those locations for e-bike use in accordance with 36 CFR 1.7. Determination Based upon the foregoing, the NPS determines that (1) continuing to allow bicycle use on the administrative roads identified above; and (2) allowing bicycle use on the two miles of the Jackson Gap Trail and the upper section of the John Smartt Trail (identified in the EA) are consistent with the protection of the park’s natural, scenic and aesthetic values; safety considerations; and management objectives; and will not disturb wildlife or park resources. Jon Bennett, Superintendent. [FR Doc. 2021–00595 Filed 1–13–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4312–52–P INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION [Investigation Nos. 701–TA–657 and 731– TA–1537 (Final)] Chassis From China; Scheduling of the Final Phase of Countervailing Duty and Antidumping Duty Investigations United States International Trade Commission. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The Commission hereby gives notice of the scheduling of the final phase of antidumping and countervailing duty investigation Nos. 701–TA–657 and 731–TA–1537 (Final) pursuant to the Tariff Act of 1930 (‘‘the Act’’) to determine whether an industry in the United States is materially injured or threatened with material injury, or the establishment of an industry in the United States is materially retarded, by reason of imports of chassis from China, provided for in subheadings 8716.39.00 and 8716.90.50 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, preliminarily determined by the Department of Commerce (‘‘Commerce’’) to be subsidized. The determination with respect to imports of chassis alleged to be sold at less-than-fair-value is pending. DATE: December 28, 2020. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00085 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 3193 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ahdia Bavari ((202) 205–3191), Office of Investigations, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436. Hearingimpaired persons can obtain information on this matter by contacting the Commission’s TDD terminal on 202– 205–1810. Persons with mobility impairments who will need special assistance in gaining access to the Commission should contact the Office of the Secretary at 202–205–2000. General information concerning the Commission may also be obtained by accessing its internet server (https:// www.usitc.gov). The public record for these investigations may be viewed on the Commission’s electronic docket (EDIS) at https://edis.usitc.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Scope.—For purposes of these investigations, Commerce has defined the subject merchandise as ‘‘chassis and subassemblies thereof, whether finished or unfinished, whether assembled or unassembled, whether coated or uncoated, regardless of the number of axles, for carriage of containers, or other payloads (including self-supporting payloads) for road, marine roll-on/rolloff (RORO) and/or rail transport. Chassis are typically, but are not limited to, rectangular framed trailers with a suspension and axle system, wheels and tires, brakes, a lighting and electrical system, a coupling for towing behind a truck tractor, and a locking system or systems to secure the shipping container or containers to the chassis using twistlocks, slide pins or similar attachment devices to engage the corner fittings on the container or other payload. Subject merchandise includes, but is not limited to, the following subassemblies: • Chassis frames, or sections of chassis frames, including kingpins or kingpin assemblies, bolsters consisting of transverse beams with locking or support mechanisms, goosenecks, drop assemblies, extension mechanisms and/ or rear impact guards; • Running gear assemblies or axle assemblies for connection to the chassis frame, whether fixed in nature or capable of sliding fore and aft or lifting up and lowering down, which may or may not include suspension(s) (mechanical or pneumatic), wheel end components, slack adjusters, axles, brake chambers, locking pins, and tires and wheels; • Landing gear (legs) or landing gear assemblies, for connection to the chassis frame, capable of supporting the chassis when it is not engaged to a tractor; and E:\FR\FM\14JAN1.SGM 14JAN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 9 (Thursday, January 14, 2021)]
[Notices]
[Pages 3190-3193]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-00595]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

National Park Service

[NPS-CHCH-DTS 29367; PPSECHCH00; PPMPSAS1Z.Y00000]


Written Determination: Bicycle Use at Chickamauga and Chattanooga 
National Military Park

AGENCY: National Park Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of Written Determination.

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

SUMMARY: The National Park Service determines that allowing bicycles on 
certain administrative roads and two miles of existing hiking trails 
within Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park is consistent 
with the protection of the park's natural, scenic, and aesthetic 
values; safety considerations; and management objectives; and will not 
disturb wildlife or park resources.

DATES: Comments on this written determination must be received by 11:59 
EDT on February 16, 2021.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods:
    (1) Electronically: Visit https://parkplanning.nps.gov/chch and 
click on the link entitled ``Open for Comment''.
    (2) By hard copy: Mail to Park Superintendent, Chickamauga and 
Chattanooga National Military Park, 3370 Lafayette Road, Fort 
Oglethorpe, GA 30742.
    Document Availability: The Proposed Bicycle Use Jackson Gap and 
John Smartt Trails Environmental Assessment and Finding of No 
Significant Impact provide information and context for this written 
determination and are available online at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/chch.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brad Bennett, Superintendent, 
Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, (706) 866-9241 
x115, [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    In 1890, Congress established Chickamauga and Chattanooga National 
Military Park (the park) to preserve the sites of some of the most 
remarkable maneuvers and brilliant fighting of the Civil War for 
historical and professional military study. In addition to the primary 
purpose for which it was established, the NPS manages the park to allow 
for recreational activity, which began to increase significantly in the 
late 1960s and early 1970s. In the 1980s, concerned about potential 
impacts from the use of mountain bicycles that were becoming very 
popular at the time, the NPS limited bicycles to (1) park roads open 
for motor vehicle use by the general public; and (2) a subset of 
administrative roads closed to motor vehicle use by the public, but 
open to motor vehicle use by the NPS for administrative purposes. This 
management framework continues today. Bicycles are allowed on park 
roads and on the following administrative roads:

     Dalton Ford Road
     Thedford Ford Road
     Vittetoe Road
     Mullis-Vittetoe Road
     the roads located within the South Post area
     the roads known as the Upper Truck Trail and the Lower 
Truck Trail.

    In 2015, the NPS completed the Lookout Mountain Battlefield General 
Management Plan Amendment (GMPA). The GMPA establishes long-term goals 
for preserving the park's natural and

[[Page 3191]]

cultural resources and improving interpretive, educational, and 
recreational opportunities for visitors. During the scoping period for 
the GMPA, the NPS received a request to open approximately two miles of 
the Jackson Gap Trail and the upper portion of the John Smartt Trail to 
bicycle use. Public comments received during the GMPA supported bicycle 
use on these two trails. In order to evaluate the potential impacts 
from the use of bicycles on these trails, the NPS issued the Proposed 
Bicycle Use Jackson Gap and John Smartt Trails Environmental Assessment 
(EA) in May 2019. The EA considered two alternatives: (1) A no action 
alternative that would continue to allow only hiking on these trails; 
and (2) the NPS preferred alternative that would also allow bicycling 
on the portions of these trails identified in the EA. The EA was open 
for public review and comment for 30 days. On September 13, 2019, the 
Regional Director for DOI Unified Region 2 South Atlantic-Gulf signed a 
Finding of No Significant Impact that identified the preferred 
alternative in the EA as the selected alternative.
    Prior to designating the trails for bicycle use, NPS regulations at 
36 CFR 4.30(d)(3) require the Superintendent to determine that the 
addition of bicycles is consistent with the protection of the park's 
natural, scenic and aesthetic values, safety considerations, and 
management objectives, and will not disturb wildlife or park resources. 
The regulations require that this written determination be published in 
the Federal Register for a 30-day public comment period. After the 30-
day public review period concludes, the Regional Director will evaluate 
whether to approve the written determination. If the Regional Director 
approves the written determination, the Superintendent may designate 
the trails for bicycle use and will provide notice of such designation 
to the public under 36 CFR 1.7.
    During the preparation of this written determination for the 
Jackson Gap and John Smartt Trails, the NPS recognized an opportunity 
to evaluate bicycle use on the administrative roads where bicycles are 
already allowed. NPS regulations require the Superintendent to 
determine that bicycle use on administrative roads is consistent with 
the protection of the park's natural, scenic, and aesthetic values; 
safety considerations; and management objectives; and will not disturb 
wildlife or park resources. 36 CFR 4.30(b). This is the same written 
determination that must be made before allowing bicycles on the Jackson 
Gap Trail and John Smartt Trails. For this reason, this written 
determination applies to two separate management actions: (1) 
Continuing to allow bicycles on the administrative roads identified 
above; and (2) allowing bicycles for the first time on the 
approximately two miles of the Jackson Gap Trail and the upper portion 
of the John Smartt Trail that are identified in the EA.

Written Determination

Park Significance, Purpose, and Values

    As stated above, Congress established the park in 1890 for its 
historic significance. Consisting of more than 9,000 acres, the park is 
the largest federally protected Civil War battlefield in the United 
States. The park encompasses multiple administrative units along the 
Tennessee-Georgia border and contains nearly 1,500 commemorative 
features such as monuments, markers, and tablets. The park is located 
in Catoosa, Dade, and Walker Counties in Georgia, and Hamilton County 
in Tennessee.
    A formal statement of the purpose and significance of the park is 
set forth in the park's 2016 Foundation Document. The purpose of the 
park is to preserve, protect, and interpret the nationally significant 
resources associated with the Civil War Campaign for Chattanooga and 
the 12,000 years of American Indian presence on Moccasin Bend. The 
fundamental historic and cultural resources and values that contribute 
to this purpose include battlefields and related sites, commemorative 
features, archeological resources, strategic and important views, and 
the contemplative experience.
    In addition to these resources and values, the park includes one of 
the few large open spaces within and near the Chattanooga metropolitan 
area. The paved tour roads and hiking trails in the park provide 
outstanding opportunities for recreation and alternative ways to 
experience park landscapes. Use of the park for fitness activities like 
walking, running, and bicycling creates a unique opportunity to engage 
community members and foster the relevancy of the park with local 
stakeholders. The flora and fauna protected within the park provide the 
public with opportunities to view wildlife and enjoy natural beauty and 
scenic views. Recreation at the park provides an opportunity for 
current and future generations of visitors to experience and appreciate 
the park in different ways, while at the same time respecting and 
commemorating the solemnity of the battlefields.

Management Objectives

    Continuing to allow bicycles on the subset of administrative roads 
where they are already allowed and adding bicycles to the two miles of 
existing hiking trails is consistent with the GMPA and the Foundation 
Document, which emphasize improvements to the visitor experience 
through the expansion of appropriate recreational activities, including 
bicycling, while protecting and preserving the park's natural and 
cultural resources.
    Bicycling on the administrative roads has occurred for more than 
100 years and is an established form of visiting and experiencing the 
park. Continuing to allow bicycles on the administrative roads would 
maintain an important recreational opportunity for park visitors. Many 
visitors access and travel through the park on bicycles. Bicycles 
provide visitors with a different experience than other forms of 
recreation and transportation, such as driving, horseback riding, or 
hiking. The administrative roads provide approximately 15.82 miles of 
bicycling access in the park. Bicycling on administrative roads 
provides more solitude than bicycling on park roads by removing 
bicyclists from public motor vehicle traffic. This allows for a more 
contemplative experience for those who seek to interact with and learn 
about the history of the park in that type of environment.
    Adding bicycles to the hiking trails on Lookout Mountain is 
consistent with the GMPA and the Foundation Document, which emphasize 
improvements to the visitor experience through the expansion of 
appropriate recreational activities, including bicycling. These 
management actions are also consistent with Secretary of the Interior 
Order 3366, ``Increasing Recreational Opportunities on Lands and Waters 
Managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior,'' which directs the NPS 
to expand access to outdoor recreational opportunities on NPS-managed 
lands and waters.
    Currently, bicycle traffic in Lookout Mountain Battlefield is 
limited to the Upper Truck Trail and Lower Truck Trail, administrative 
roads that connect the park to the regional bicycle trail system on the 
Tennessee side. Bicyclists can access the Upper Truck Trail from the 
Guild Trail, which is part of the regional bicycle trail system owned 
by the Lookout Mountain Conservancy. In the opposite direction, the 
Upper Truck Trail connects to the Jackson Gap and John Smartt trails in 
the park. These trails connect to the regional bicycle trail system in 
Georgia. Under current

[[Page 3192]]

rules, when bicyclists reach the end of the Upper Truck Trail, in order 
to continue riding they must turn around and exit the park on the 
Tennessee side from where they entered. Otherwise, bicyclists must 
carry their bikes up hiking trails to exit the park on the Georgia 
side. Under these circumstances, hikers are the only user group that 
has continuous access through the park from the regional trail systems 
in Georgia and Tennessee. If bicycles were allowed on the two miles of 
the Jackson Gap Trail and the upper portion of the John Smartt Trail 
identified in the EA, then bicyclists could ride the entire 21 miles, 
through the park, in either direction between Cloudland Canyon State 
Park in Georgia and Chattanooga in Tennessee.

Wildlife

    The NPS strives to maintain all components and processes of 
naturally evolving ecosystems, including the natural abundance, 
diversity, and ecological integrity of wildlife. Allowing bicycles on 
the Jackson Gap and upper John Smartt Trails would increase the overall 
human traffic on those trails by a small amount. The NPS expects most 
of the bicycle traffic to be slow due to steep grades. Bicycling on the 
Jackson Gap and John Smartt trails would occur in areas that already 
receive frequent human visitation. Typically, wildlife avoid these 
areas during the daylight to avoid humans. Nonetheless, bicycle use in 
these locations could create the potential for collisions with 
wildlife, especially along curves of the trails where forward 
visibility is diminished. It is unlikely that large species, such as 
deer, would be impacted. Smaller species, however, such as snakes or 
lizards, could be injured or killed by bicycle tires. These risks would 
likely have minimal adverse effects due to the expected low incidence 
rate of collisions on the Jackson Gap and upper John Smartt Trails. 
Effects upon wildlife from adding bicycles to the hiking trails were 
dismissed from further analysis in the EA because the NPS concluded 
they would be negligible and not likely result in unacceptable impacts.
    The Endangered Species Act (ESA) requires examination of impacts to 
federally listed threatened, endangered, and candidate species. Section 
7 of the ESA requires Federal agencies to consult with the U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service to ensure that any action authorized, funded, or 
carried out by the agency does not jeopardize the continued existence 
of listed species or critical habitats. NPS Management Policies 2006 
require the NPS to examine the impacts to Federal candidate species, as 
well as state listed threatened, endangered, candidate, rare, 
declining, and sensitive species. Park records and field surveys did 
not identify the potential for individual species, or habitat for any 
of the known special status species, within the vicinity of the hiking 
trails where bicycles would be allowed nor in proximity to the 
administrative roads where bicycles are presently allowed. The U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service was consulted and determined the proposed 
action is not expected to significantly impact fish and wildlife 
resources under the jurisdiction of the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service. 
For these reasons, impacts to special status species from adding 
bicycles to the hiking trails were dismissed from detailed analysis in 
the EA.
    Bicycle use on the administrative roads is considerably less than 
the volume of bicycles using the park roads. Over the past 34 years, 
relatively few wildlife-bicycle encounters have been observed on 
administrative roads and even fewer accidents have been reported by the 
public as a result of those encounters.

Cultural Resources

    The NPS preserves and maintains 755 documented historic structures 
within the park. Most of these are monuments and markers that 
commemorate the troops that fought across the park landscapes during 
the two Civil War battles. The NPS expects that allowing bicycles on 
the hiking trails would result in a relatively small increase 
(approximately 200 bicyclists per year) to the total number of 
recreational visitors on the trails. The NPS does not expect this level 
of increased use would have a measurable impact to cultural resources 
within this area.
    None of the park's documented commemorative features are located 
along the Jackson Gap Trail or the upper John Smartt Trail. These 
trails were likely constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps under 
the Emergency Conservation Works Administration from either Camp Adolph 
Ochs or Camp Demaray, both located on Lookout Mountain. They have 
several dry laid retaining walls and wet weather drainage crossings 
that are constructed of native stone. These early 20th century stone 
walls and drainage features, the only extant cultural resources on the 
trails, have required minor and infrequent maintenance by the NPS. NPS 
staff within the Resource Management Division would increase the 
frequency of monitoring the retaining walls and drainages to ensure 
these resources are protected.
    Staff from the NPS Southeast Archeological Center (SEAC) conducted 
shovel test surveys and a metal detector survey within the area 
potentially affected by bicycles on the hiking trails. Archeologists 
tested six sections of the trails, including areas proposed for 
widening a switchback and locations identified for sign and fence 
installation. The SEAC determined there was no potential for 
significant archeological resources to be harmed.
    The NPS would implement management strategies to minimize impacts 
to resources on the trails, including: (1) Issuing citations for off-
trail use; (2) increasing monitoring, education, and enforcement of 
regulations; (3) re-evaluating trail design; and (4) requesting 
assistance from trail advocates to establish a defined trail edge by 
barricading short cuts.
    Over the last 34 years, the NPS has not recorded any adverse 
effects to historic structures or archeological resources caused by 
bicycle use on the administrative roads. For this reason, the NPS does 
not expect that the continued use of bicycles on the administrative 
roads would adversely affect the park's cultural resources.

Natural, Scenic and Aesthetic Values

    The 30-mile network of trails within Lookout Mountain Battlefield 
and more than 80 miles of trail throughout the park provide ample 
opportunities for hikers to view wildlife and enjoy natural beauty and 
scenic views. The proposed actions would extend similar opportunities 
to bicyclists on approximately two miles of the Jackson Gap Trail and 
the upper portion of the John Smartt Trail and maintain similar 
opportunities for bicyclists on the administrative roads. Allowing 
bicycles on the hiking trails would allow more regional trail users to 
experience the scenic vistas and natural features in the park.
    New signs on the hiking trails would be small scale, low stature, 
natural metal, and post-mounted with incised letters. Scale and 
placement would minimally affect the natural landscape. Installation 
would occur in disturbed locations within the trail beds. Kiosks at 
trailheads and other locations would be based on standard NPS designs 
that are appropriate for the selected locations. Aside from signage, 
bicycle use on the trails would not require the addition of any human-
made features and would have no other visual impacts on natural 
landscape. Trail width and trail tread would remain the same as they 
currently are on both trails: Single-track trail with a width ranging 
from 2-4 feet

[[Page 3193]]

with natural trail tread. Allowing bicycle use on these trails would 
not negatively impact opportunities for other visitors to experience 
scenic and aesthetic values on these trails.
    Existing signs along the administrative roads provide route 
information and safety messages about bicycling. The continued use of 
bicycles on the administrative roads would not require the addition of 
new human-made features that would impact the natural landscape at the 
Chickamauga Battlefield.

Safety Considerations

    The NPS will install new signs on the trails that convey safety 
messages about bicycling. Due to steep grades, the hiking trails would 
receive a ``Black Diamond'' designation according to the criteria that 
has been developed by the International Mountain Biking Association 
(IMBA). Signs and educational materials would be posted at the Jackson 
Gap trailhead, at the intersection of the John Smartt Trail and Upper 
Truck Trail, near switchbacks, and in other strategic locations to 
convey important safety and regulatory information. Signs and 
educational materials would provide guidance on trail etiquette to 
mitigate the potential for user conflict and to help establish user 
norms. Signs would provide route names, trail direction and appropriate 
practices for yielding to others.
    The Jackson Gap and John Smartt Trails are well-constructed hiking 
trails within a natural zone of the park. They have existed for many 
decades in good condition without a high frequency of maintenance. 
Trail crews would continue to assess the Jackson Gap and John Smartt 
Trail during annual condition assessments, on regular patrols, and as 
reports are received concerning fallen trees or other hazards. Crews 
would continue to clean all drainages and culverts, remove loose rocks 
and debris, and prune vegetation as necessary. Trail rovers would 
conduct monthly monitoring to assist in identifying any additional 
maintenance needs. Volunteers will patrol these trails to provide 
safety information.
    Since the implementation of the current incident reporting system, 
there have been no reports of bicycle accidents on park administrative 
roads. As stated above, the administrative roads have signs conveying 
wayfinding information and safety messages.

Electric Bicycles

    The NPS will evaluate the environmental impacts of allowing 
electric bicycles (e-bikes) on the administrative roads and hiking 
trails under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) after the 
conclusion of the written determination process. E-bikes will only be 
considered in locations where traditional bicycles are already allowed. 
E-bikes will not be allowed anywhere in the park until compliance with 
the NEPA is completed and the Superintendent designates those locations 
for e-bike use in accordance with 36 CFR 1.7.

Determination

    Based upon the foregoing, the NPS determines that (1) continuing to 
allow bicycle use on the administrative roads identified above; and (2) 
allowing bicycle use on the two miles of the Jackson Gap Trail and the 
upper section of the John Smartt Trail (identified in the EA) are 
consistent with the protection of the park's natural, scenic and 
aesthetic values; safety considerations; and management objectives; and 
will not disturb wildlife or park resources.

Jon Bennett,
Superintendent.
[FR Doc. 2021-00595 Filed 1-13-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4312-52-P