General Regulations for Areas Administered by the National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service
The Department of the Interior, through the National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service, proposes to amend regulations presently codified in 36 CFR part 2 and 50 CFR part 27, which provide guidance and controls for the possession and transportation of firearms in national park areas and national wildlife refuges. The proposed amendments would update the regulations to reflect current state laws authorizing the possession of concealed firearms, while maintaining the existing regulatory provisions that ensure visitor safety and resource protection such as the prohibitions on poaching and limitations on hunting and target practice.
National Park System Units in Alaska
The NPS is proposing to implement recent management decisions affecting Denali National Park and Preserve regarding backcountry management, climbing Mount McKinley, and off-road vehicle use for subsistence purposes.
Temporary Concession Contract for Pinnacles National Monument, CA
Pursuant to 36 CFR 51.24, public notice is hereby given that the National Park Service proposes to award a temporary concession contract for the conduct of retail services (``Services'') available to the public visiting Pinnacles National Monument, California for a term not to exceed 16 months. The visitor services include the operation of a small convenience/grocery store. This action is necessary to avoid interruption of visitor services.
30-Day Notice of Submission to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB); Opportunity for Public Comment
Under provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 and 5 CFR part 1320, Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements, the National Park Service (NPS) invites public comments on a proposed new collection of information (OMB 1024-XXXX).
Final Management Action Plan/Environmental Impact Statement; Record of Decision; National Coal Heritage Area, West Virginia
Pursuant to Section 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, Pub. L. 91-190, 83 Stat. 852, 853, codified as amended at 42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(C), the National Park Service announces the availability of the Record of Decision for the Final Management Action Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (Final MAP/EIS) for the National Coal Heritage Area in West Virginia. The Regional Director, Northeast Region, approved the Record of Decision for the project, selecting Alternative C-Focal Point with Corridor Development, which was described on pages II-1 to II-11 of the Final MAP/EIS and announced to the public in a Notice of Availability published in the Federal Register on September 23, 2002. The selected alternative, and three additional alternatives including Alternative D, the No-Action Alternative, were analyzed in the Draft and Final Environmental Impact Statements. Each alternative was evaluated as to how it would guide the priorities, projects, and management of the national heritage area over the following ten years. Management approach, funding sources, and education, preservation, conservation and interpretation opportunities and priorities were all considered during the analysis, as were marketing and tourism opportunities and priorities and the development of physical components including visitor centers, destination centers, a museum, and access corridors. The full range of foreseeable environmental consequences was assessed and disclosed in relation to impacts on historic, cultural, natural and recreational resources, the environment, and the quality of the visitor experience. The NPS will implement Alternative C, the preferred alternative (the selected action), as described in the National Coal Heritage Area Management Action Plan/Environmental Impact Statement for the National Coal Heritage Area because it best reflects and fulfills the goals of the National Coal Heritage Area's mission, as well as the purpose and intent of the National Coal Heritage Area's enabling legislation. The selected alternative is based on a combined focal point/corridor development approach and is a hybrid of Alternatives A and B, which were also evaluated in the National Coal Heritage Area Management Action Plan/Environmental Impact Statement. The selected alterantive includes the nine Destination Centers and Experience Zones proposed in Alternative A and the development of a large-scale, state-of-the-art interpretive and educational museum/visitor center complex near Beckley proposed in Alternative B. The selected alternative is estimated to cost approximately $78 million over a 10-year period. The NPS has selected Alternative C for implementation because it best meets the legislative intent of the National Coal Heritage Area Act to ``develop and implement integrated cultural, historical, and land resource management policies and programs to retain, enhance, and interpret significant values of the lands, water, and structures of the Area.'' The Selected Alternative captures a broad range of visitors and encourages local capacity building simultaneously. It gives visitors several options for exploring the 11-county heritage area with a large interpretive center, several Visitor Centers and nine Destination Centers. The Selected Alternative provides for strong central leadership that would take an active role in the development of a broad-based preservation and conservation effort that is likely to result in increased investment in the NCHA and increased business and employment opportunities. The Record of Decision includes a background of the project, statement of the decision made, synopses of alternatives considered, the basis for the decision, a finding of no impairment of resources and values, and an overview of public and agency involvement in the decision-making process. This decision is the result of a public planning process that began with public outreach meetings in February and March 2000, and the publication of a Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the National Coal Heritage Area Management Action Plan in the Federal Register on July 17, 2001. The official responsible for this decision is the NPS Regional Director, Northeast Region.
General Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement, Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, NM
Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 42 U.S.C. 4332(C), the National Park Service is preparing an environmental impact statement for a general management plan for Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, New Mexico. The environmental impact statement will be approved by the Director, Intermountain Region. The general management plan will prescribe the resource conditions and visitor experiences that are to be achieved and maintained in the monument over the next 15 to 20 years. The clarification of what must be achieved according to law and policy will be based on review of the monument's purpose, significance, special mandates, and the body of laws and policies directing park management. Based on determinations of desired conditions, the general management plan will outline the kinds of resource management activities, visitor activities, and development that would be appropriate in the future. A range of reasonable management alternatives will be developed through this planning process and will include, at a minimum, no-action and the preferred alternative. The monument does not have a general management plan as required by the Redwood Amendment of 1978 and NPS management policies. Issues to be addressed will include but are not limited to the following: The protection and interpretation options for the cliff dwellings and TJ Ruin and long-term direction for protection and management. The needs of all users (cultural heritage visitors, wilderness hikers, nature watchers, and Native Americans) and the appropriateness and adequacy of current facilities. Identifying and analyzing various options for long-term management of the monument, adjacent land, and facilities.
Elk and Vegetation Management Plan, Final Environmental Impact Statement, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO
Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(C), the National Park Service announces the availability of the Record of Decision for the Elk and Vegetation Management Plan, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. On February 15, 2008, the Regional Director, Intermountain Region, approved the Record of Decision for the project. As soon as practicable, the National Park Service will begin to implement the Preferred Alternative contained in the FEIS issued on January 4, 2008. The Final Plan analyzed five alternatives, including a no action alternative (Alternative 1), to manage elk and vegetation within the Park. The four action alternatives each used different combinations of management tools to reduce the elk population size and densities, redistribute elk, restore natural migration, and restore vegetation. All action alternatives emphasized adaptive management. Alternative 2 used intensive lethal reduction (culling) of elk in the first four years of the plan to reach a population size on the low end of the natural range of variation, in combination with minimal fencing. Alternative 4 used a fertility control agent along with gradual lethal reduction (culling) of elk over the 20 year life of the plan to reach a population size on the high end of the natural range of variation, in combination with a moderate amount of fencing. Alternative 5 used introduction of a small number of intensively managed wolves, along with intensive lethal reduction (culling) of elk in the first four years of the plan to reach a population size that incorporated the full range of natural variation, in combination with minimal fencing. The selected action, Alternative 3, relies on a variety of conservation tools including fencing, redistribution, vegetation restoration and lethal reduction (culling). In future years, the park will, using adaptive management principles, reevaluate opportunities to use wolves or fertility control as additional tools. The selected alternative includes the gradual lethal reduction (culling) of elk by National Park Service staff and authorized agents of the National Park Service to achieve an elk population size at the high end of the natural range of variation of 1,600 to 2,100 elk (600 to 800 park subpopulation; 1,000 to 1,300 town subpopulation) by the end of the plan. Inside the park, up to 200 elk will be removed annually over 20 years. To the extent possible, elk carcasses and/or meat resulting from these actions will be donated through an organized program to eligible recipients, including tribes, based on informed consent and pursuant to applicable public health guidelines. Aspen stands (up to 160 acres) on the elk range will be fenced to exclude elk herbivory. Because this alternative will result in a target population at the high end of the natural range, up to 440 acres of suitable willow habitat will be fenced in the high elk-use areas of the primary summer and winter ranges. These temporary fences will be installed adaptively, based on vegetation response to elk management actions as indicated through a monitoring program. To reduce elk densities on the elk range outside of fenced areas, redistribution of the population will occur using herding, aversive conditioning, and use of unsuppressed weapons for culling. The plan incorporates adaptive management and monitoring to determine the level and intensity of management actions needed, including elk population reductions, fencing, herding, and aversive conditioning. Population numbers will be estimated annually and the number of animals to be removed will be determined based on the most current population estimates. If the elk population is within the defined portion of the range of natural variation and vegetation management objectives are being met, no lethal reduction activities will take place. Culling will be administered by the National Park Service and carried out by National Park Service personnel and their authorized agents. For purposes of this plan, ``authorized agents'' can include: Professional staff from other federal, state, or local agencies or tribes; contractors; or qualified volunteers. For all alternatives the full range of foreseeable environmental consequences was assessed, and appropriate mitigating measures were identified. The Record of Decision includes a statement of the decision made, synopses of other alternatives considered, the basis for the decision, a description of the environmentally preferable alternative, a finding on impairment of park resources and values, a listing of measures to minimize environmental harm, and an overview of public involvement in the decision-making process.
Notice of Availability of Draft General Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement/Wilderness Study for Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
Pursuant to Section 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(c), the National Park Service (NPS) announces the availability of a draft General Management Plan/ Environmental Impact Statement/Wilderness Study (GMP/EIS/WS) for Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan.
Public Notice: Clarifying the Definition Of “Substantial Restoration of Natural Quiet” at Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
This notice clarifies the definition used by Grand Canyon National Park (GCNP) for achieving substantial restoration of natural quiet as mandated by the 1987 Overflights Act (Pub. L. 100-91) (Overflights Act). This clarification of the definition is necessary to address current acoustic conditions to comply with the intent of recommendations provided in the 1995 Report to Congress,\1\ and respond to a 2002 U.S. Court of Appeals decision. The provisions of the Special Flight Aviation Regulation (SFAR) 50-2 have not resulted in substantial restoration of natural quiet of GCNP. Given the volume of high altitude commercial jet and general aviation traffic overflying the Grand Canyon above 17,999 feet Mean Sea Level (MSL) and a recent court decision, the substantial restoration goal as currently defined cannot be attained. This clarification of the restoration definition, while focusing on air tour and air tour related and general aviation aircraft that are conducting overflights of GCNP at altitudes at or below 17,999 MSL, also incorporates measures to address noise from all aircraft. The 1995 definition of substantial restoration of natural quiet is being clarified to distinguish between aircraft noise generated above and below 17,999 feet MSL. The Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA) ceiling was set at 17,999 MSL to avoid additional requirements, restrictions and regulations that occur at or above 18,000 MSL.
General Management Plan Amendment, Environmental Impact Statement, Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
Under the provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(C), the National Park Service is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a General Management Plan (GMP) amendment for Petrified Forest National Park. The park is currently managed under a GMP that was completed in 1993. This plan describes a proposed boundary expansion for the park of approximately 93,000 acres. However, the 1993 GMP does not prescribe management for the proposed addition lands. The GMP was revised in 2004 to address specific aspects of the park's management; this GMP Revision also does not address management activities for proposed addition lands. Public Law 108-430 was passed by Congress and signed by the President in December 2004. This Act expanded Petrified Forest National Park boundaries by approximately 125,000 acres, and directed the NPS to prepare a management plan for the new park lands within three years. Planning for the new lands is the focus of this GMP amendment and associated EIS. The GMP amendment will establish the overall direction for park addition lands, setting broad management goals for the area for the next 15 to 20 years. Among the topics that will be addressed are protection of natural and cultural resources, protection of riparian resources, appropriate range of visitor uses, impacts of visitor uses, adequacy of park infrastructure, visitor access to the park additions area, education and interpretive efforts, and external pressures on the park. Management zones that were established in the current GMP will be applied to addition lands. These zones outline the kinds of resource management activities, visitor activities, and developments that would be appropriate in the addition lands. A range of reasonable alternatives for managing the park, including a no-action alternative and a preferred alternative, will be developed through the planning process and included in the EIS. The EIS will evaluate the potential environmental impacts of the alternatives. As the first phase of the planning and EIS process, the National Park Service is beginning to scope the issues to be addressed in the GMP amendment. All interested persons, organizations, and agencies are encouraged to submit comments and suggestions regarding the issues or concerns the GMP amendment should address, including a suitable range of alternatives and appropriate mitigating measures, and the nature and extent of potential environmental impacts.
Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Dyke Marsh Wetland Restoration and Long-Term Management Plan
In accordance with Sec. 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 43321 et seq.), the National Park Service (NPS) is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement for the Dyke Marsh Wetland Restoration and Long-term Management Plan (EIS) for George Washington Memorial Parkway, Virginia. The authority for publishing this notice is contained in 40 CFR 1508.22. The purpose of this EIS is to develop a plan for the restoration and long-term management of the tidal freshwater marsh and other associated wetland habitats lost or impacted in Dyke Marsh Preserve on the Potomac River. Dyke Marsh wetland resources, community structure and natural ecosystem functions have been damaged by previous human uses and are subject to continuing threats. A restoration and long-term management plan is needed at this time to: (1) Protect the existing wetlands from erosion, exotic plant species, loss of habitat and altered hydrologic regimes; (2) Restore wetlands and ecological functions and processes lost through sand and gravel mining and shoreline erosion; (3) Reduce increased restoration and management costs associated with continued wetland loss; and (4) Improve ecosystem services that benefit the Potomac Watershed. Scoping Process. The purpose of scoping outreach efforts is to elicit early public comment regarding project purpose, need, and objectives, issues and concerns, the nature and extent of potential environmental impacts (and as appropriate, mitigation measures), and alternatives which should be addressed in the EIS. Through the outreach activities planned in the scoping phase, NPS welcomes information and suggestions from the public. This notice formally initiates the public scoping comment phase for the EIS process. A scoping newsletter has been prepared that details the purpose, need, and objectives identified to date. Copies of that information will be posted at parkplanning.nps.gov/gwmp and may be obtained from Brent Steury, Turkey Run Park, McLean, VA 22101, (703) 289-2541. A public scoping open house will be conducted in the area around Dyke Marsh. Please check the local newspapers, the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) Web site at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/gwmp, or contact Brent Steury for more information regarding the open house.
Notice of Availability of Record of Decision for the North Shore Road Environmental Impact Statement, Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(C) and National Park Service (NPS) policy in Director's Order 12 (Conservation Planning, Environmental Impact Analysis, and Decision Making), the NPS in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration announces the availability of the Record of Decision (ROD) for the North Shore Road Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Park), North Carolina. The ROD was approved by the Southeast Regional Director on December 28, 2007. The NPS has selected the preferred alternative (Monetary Settlement Alternative) as described in the Final EIS to ensure that resources of the Park and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (Trail) will be unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations, and fulfill project goals and objectives including the protection of natural, cultural, and recreational resources. The selected alternative and four other alternatives, including a No-Action Alternative, were analyzed in the Draft and Final EIS. The full range of foreseeable environmental consequences was assessed. The NPS believes the Monetary Settlement Alternative will best accomplish the goals of the Park and the Trail. NPS selected the Monetary Settlement because it protects the significant and diverse natural resources and ecosystems of the Park (forest communities, water resources, protected species, and soundscapes). It will avoid disturbance to the Park and allow the Park to protect resources from adverse effects of problematic geologic formations and acidic runoff. The Monetary Settlement will also protect the tangible (archaeological sites, historic structures, landscapes, cemeteries, and traditional cultural properties) and intangible (feelings of attachment, family life, myth, folklore, and ideology) aspects of cultural resources in the Park. The Monetary Settlement Alternative is consistent with NPS management of the Park within the study area as backcountry. The Monetary Settlement Alternative allows for the traditional recreational activities of hiking, camping, fishing, and horse use in this backcountry area of the Park. It maintains the existing balance of visitors and resource use in this backcountry area and preserves the associated peace and solitude currently available there. The ROD includes a statement of the decision made, other alternatives considered, the basis for the decision, a finding of no impairment of Park resources and values, and an overview of public involvement in the decision-making process. This decision is the result of a public planning process that began in 2003. The official responsible for this decision is the NPS Regional Director, Southeast Region.
General Management Plan, Draft Environmental Impact Statement, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas
Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(C), the National Park Service announces the availability of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Draft General Management Plan for Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas.