[Federal Register: January 2, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 1)]
[Notices]               
[Page 71-72]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr02ja09-16]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service

 
Bend/Ft. Rock Ranger District; Deschutes National Forest; Oregon; 
Kapka Butte Sno-Park Construction

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement.

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SUMMARY: The USDA, Forest Service, will prepare an Environmental Impact 
Statement (EIS) on a proposed action to construct a sno-park, designate 
motorized and non-motorized over-snow trails to link the parking 
facility to existing snowmobile and nordic trail systems, and designate 
new over-snow dog-friendly snowshoe and skier trails to enhance 
recreational opportunities from the new facility. The proposed sno-park 
would be located on National Forest lands between Kapka Butte and the 
junction of Forest Road 46 (Cascade Lakes Highway) and Forest Road 45 
(Sunriver cutoff). The proposed sno-park area is located about 30 miles 
west of Bend, Oregon; it is located in Section 35, Township 18S, Range 
9E. The alternatives will include the proposed action, no action, and 
additional alternatives that respond to issues generated through the 
scoping process. The agency will give notice of the full environmental 
analysis and decision making process so interested and affected people 
may participate and contribute to the final decision.

DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received 
by 30 days following the date that this notice appears in the Federal 
Register.

[[Page 72]]


ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Shane Jeffries, District Ranger, 
Bend/Ft. Rock Ranger District, 1230 NE 3rd St., Suite A-262, Bend, OR 
97701.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Marv Lang, Project Leader, Bend/Ft. 
Rock Ranger District, 1230 NE 3rd St., Suite A-262, Bend, Oregon 97701, 
phone (541) 383-4793. E-mail melang@fs.fed.us.
    Responsible Official. The responsible official will be Shane 
Jeffries, District Ranger, Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District, 1230 NE 
Third St., Ste. A-262, Bend, OR 97701.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
    Purpose and Need. The Deschutes National Forest sees a need to 
provide high elevation parking that will enhance a variety of winter 
recreation opportunities near Mt. Bachelor. On most weekend and holiday 
periods during the wintertime near Mt. Bachelor, it is not unusual to 
see parking lots full of vehicles, causing over-flow parking in 
inappropriate locations such as chain-up areas. This has been a 
progressive condition since the mid-1990s and has reached a point where 
it has become a public safety concern. More winter uses, such as 
snowshoeing, backcountry skiing and skijoring, have become more popular 
in recent years. These newer uses on top of the already high use that 
the area near Mt. Bachelor receives have created the congestion that 
occurs at all of the sno-parks. A result of the crowded conditions is 
inappropriate parking along the Cascade Lake Highway during weekends 
and holidays, causing traffic problems for the traveling public, 
emergency vehicles, and snow plowing equipment. This persistent 
condition demonstrates a need for additional safe parking facilities 
that provide access to over snow trail systems during more marginal 
snow conditions than the lower elevation sno-parks currently provide. 
It's also important that this occurs in a location where regular 
snowplowing can also be accomplished in an economically feasible 
manner.
    Proposed Action. The Forest Service is proposing to build a new 
sno-park near Kapka Butte to provide more high elevation parking for 
winter recreationists along an established snowplowing route. The 
proposed facility would provide for a mix of vehicle parking, including 
vehicles towing trailers and some slots designed for smaller vehicles. 
The proposed parking facility would include approximately 70 slots for 
trailers, and 40 slots for non-trailer vehicles. Trail links to 
existing snowmobile and nordic trails would also be provided as well as 
new proposed trails for nordic skiing, snowshoeing and skiing with 
dogs.
    Comment. Public comments about this proposal are requested in order 
to assist in identifying issues, determine how to best manage the 
resources, and to focus the analysis. Comments received to this notice, 
including 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; however, those who submit anonymous comments will not 
have standing to appeal the subsequent decision under 36 CFR parts 215. 
Additionally, pursuant to 7 CFR 1.27(d), any person may request the 
agency to withhold a submission from the public record by showing how 
the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) permits such confidentiality. 
Persons requesting such confidentiality should be aware that, under 
FOIA, confidentiality may be granted in only very limited 
circumstances, such as to protect trade secrets. The Forest Service 
will inform the requester of the agency's decision regarding the 
request for confidentiality, and where the request is denied, the 
agency will return the submission and notify the requester that the 
comments may be resubmitted with or without name and address within a 
specified number of days.
    A draft EIS will be filed with the Environmental Protection Agency 
(EPA) and available for public review by Spring 2009. The EPA will 
publish a Notice of Availability (NOA) of the draft EIS in the Federal 
Register. The final EIS is scheduled to be available Autumn 2009.
    The comment period on the draft EIS will be 45 days from the date 
the EPA 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 
a draft EIS 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 EIS stage but that are not 
raised until after completion of the final EIS may be waived or 
dismissed by the courts [City of Angoon 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 EIS.
    To assist the Forest Service in identifying and considering issues 
and concerns on the proposed action, comments on the draft EIS 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 EIS of 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 
substantive comments received during the comment period for the draft 
EIS. The Forest Service is the lead agency and the responsible official 
is the Bend-Fort Rock District Ranger, Deschutes National Forest. The 
responsible official will decide where, and whether or not to construct 
the sno-park and associated trails. The responsible official will also 
decide how to mitigate impacts of these actions and will determine when 
and how monitoring of effects will take place.
    The Kapka Butte Sno-park Project decision and the reasons for the 
decision will be documented in the Record of Decision. That decision 
will be subject to Forest Service Appeal Regulations (35 CFR Part 215).

Sean A. Ferrell,
Assistant District Ranger.
 [FR Doc. E8-31118 Filed 12-31-08; 8:45 am]

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