[Federal Register: January 5, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 3)]
[Notices]               
[Page 525-527]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr05ja07-21]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service

 
Bridger-Teton National Forest; Wyoming; Proposed Summer 
Designated Road and Motorized Trail System

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

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

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SUMMARY: The Bridger-Teton National Forest is preparing an 
Environmental Impact Statement for a proposed May 1st to December 1st 
designated road and motorized trail system for portions of the Buffalo, 
Jackson, and Big Piney Ranger Districts where cross-country motorized 
use is currently allowed. This scoping proposal complies with the 2005 
National Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Rule which requires all wheeled 
motorized travel to occur on designated routes. The full text of the 
proposal plus maps showing the proposed designated road and motorized 
trail system are posted in the Bridger-Teton National Forest Web site 
at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.fs.fed.us/r4/btnf.


DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis are requested by 
January 29, 2007. The draft environmental impact statement is expected 
in September 2007 and the final environmental impact statement is 
expected in January 2008.

[[Page 526]]


ADDRESSES: Send written comments to ``North Zone Travel Management''; 
Bridger-Teton National Forest, PO Box 1689, Jackson, WY 83001. Comments 
may also be faxed to (307) 739-5450. E-mail comments can be submitted 
via a link for ``North Zone Travel Plan Revision'' on the Bridger-Teton 
National Forest Web site: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.fs.fed.us/r4/btnf.


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: David Wilkinson, North Zone Travel 
Project, Bridger-Teton National Forest, PO Box 1689, Jackson, WY 83001 
(307-739-5544).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Purpose and Need for Action

    Off-highway vehicle (OHV) use within portions of the Bridger-Teton 
National Forest is not being managed in a manner consistent with 
current Forest Plan direction and the National OHV Rule, nor in a 
manner that is consistent with land capability, public safety and 
enjoyment by all Forest users. The current travel plan for the north 
zone of the Bridger-Teton National Forest was developed in 1987 prior 
to technological advances that transformed all-terrain vehicle (ATV) 
and motorcycle use on public lands. Motorized use has a long history on 
the Forest and is a legitimate use in appropriate places. However, 
unmanaged OHV use has caused a proliferation of user-created trails 
that are not sustainable, has damaged wet meadows, soils, and stream 
channels, and results in wildlife disturbance. Additionally, unmanaged 
OHV use has caused social problems such as disrupting hunting 
opportunities, spooking horse riders creating potential safety 
concerns, and disrupting grazing operations. By providing clear 
direction on where motorized use is allowed via a designated OHV route 
system, the potential for resource damage and violations can be reduced 
while better serving public needs and improving the ability to maintain 
roads and trails. With this in mind, the goal for this project is to 
improve management of OHV use by identifying and analyzing changes 
needed to the current system of Forest roads and motorized trails 
within areas where motorized use is currently unrestricted. The 
resulting designated road and trail system must comply with Forest Plan 
direction and meet the following objectives: (1) Reduce resource 
impacts, (2) provide a viable road and trail system to meet public 
needs, and (3) improve the ability to enforce travel restictions and 
maintain routes.

Proposed Action

    To meet the project goal and objectives, changes are being proposed 
to the current system of roads and motorized trails. No new roads or 
motorized trails are proposed to be constructed. However, the proposal 
does include adding some roads and motorized trails that exist on the 
ground but are not currently part of the Forest Service system. 
Likewise, some roads that currently are on the Forest Service system 
are proposed to be closed or changed to allow only vehicles 50'' or 
less in width. As the final designated road and trail system is 
implemented, sections of road or motorized trails will need to be re-
constructed to improve sustainability and mitigate resource damage. The 
proposed designated road and motorized trail system totals 404 miles 
within the areas where motorized use is currently unrestricted. This is 
roughly equivalent to the mileage that is currently on the Forest 
Service system, however the proposal includes 37 more miles of 
motorized trail and 46 fewer miles of road.

Responsible Official

    Districts Rangers for the three ranger districts will be making the 
decision about the designated road and motorized trail system on their 
respective districts. Elizabeth Brann, District Ranger, Buffalo Ranger 
District; PO Box 278; Moran, WY 83013. Nancy Hall, District Ranger, 
Jackson Ranger District, PO Box 1689, Jackson, WY 83001. Greg Clark, 
District Ranger, Big Piney Ranger District, PO Box 218, Big Piney, WY 
83113.

Nature of Decision To Be Made

    Based on the environmental analysis and public input, a decision 
will be made whether or not to implement the proposed changes to the 
road and motorized trail system or to implement an alternative. The 
decision for the designated road and motorized trail system will be 
displayed on a motor vehicle use map that conforms to a nationally 
consistent format and is updated annually.

Scoping Process

    The purpose of scoping is to invite your comments on this proposal. 
Your comments will be used to identify significant issues so that 
alternative proposals can be developed and analyzed. This process is 
used to provide the best information possible to inform the public and 
decision-makers about trade-offs associated with alternative ways to 
meet the project purpose.

Preliminary Issues

    The following preliminary issues have been identified. Other issues 
raised during the public scoping process will also be addressed in the 
EIS.
     Effects on wildlife including threatened, endangered, and 
sensitive species.
     Effects on opportunities for quiet, non-motorized 
recreation.
     Effects on hunting opportunities.
     Effects on opportunities for motorized recreation.
     Effects on roadless areas.
     Effects on wetlands, streambanks, and water quality.
     Effects on soils, cultural resources, and vegetation.
     Effects on management of the motorized system including 
maintenance, signing, and enforcement.

Comment Requested

    This notice of intent initiates the scoping process which guides 
the development of the environmental impact statement. Information 
about the project is posted on the Bridger-Teton National Forest Web 
site at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.fs.fed.us/r4/btnf. Large maps showing the proposed 

designated road and motorized trail system are available at the 
Supervisor's Office, at Ranger District Offices, and at the Teton 
County Library in Jackson, Wyoming. Agency personnel are available to 
meet with any interested individuals or groups about this project.

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

[[Page 527]]

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 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.
    Comments received, including the names and addresses of those who 
comment, will be considered part of the public record on this proposal 
and will be available for public inspection.

(Authority: 40 CFR 1501.7 and 1508.22; Forest Service Handbook 
1909.15, Section 21).

    Dated: December 27, 2006.
Nancy Hall,
Jackson District Ranger.
[FR Doc. E6-22575 Filed 1-4-07; 8:45 am]

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