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63548 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No.

217 / Friday, November 9, 2007 / Notices

Dated: November 1, 2007. from the date the Notice of Intent is 2. The need to have a travel plans that
Michael W. Yost, published in the Federal Register. The is simple to understand and implement,
Administrator, Foreign Agricultural Service. draft environmental impact statement is and consistent with other Forests and
[FR Doc. 07–5607 Filed 11–8–07; 8:45 am] expected July 2008 and the final land management agencies. The model
BILLING CODE 3410–10–M
environmental impact statement is used for the existing travel plan relies
expected November 2008. on ‘‘open unless signed or mapped
ADDRESSES: Send written comments to closed’’ designations that are
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Kris Rutledge, Travel Management complicated to interpret and, as a result,
Team Coordinator, Ashley National are difficult to enforce. The lack of
Forest Service Forest 355 N Vernal Ave., Vernal, UT simple and consistent travel policies
84078 or call (435) 781–5196. among other Forests and land
Roosevelt/Duchesne and Flaming management agencies is confusing for
Gorge Ranger Districts Travel Electronic comments may be e-mailed
to comments-intermtn-ashley@fs.fed.us, the public; inhibits cooperative law
Management Plan, Ashley National enforcement; and has resulted in
Forest; Duchesne, Daggett, and contain ‘‘Roosevelt/Duchesne and
Flaming Gorge Ranger District Travel unplanned roads and trails, erosion,
Summit Counties, UT, and Sweetwater watershed and habitat degradation, and
County, WY Management Plan’’ in the subject line,
and must be submitted in MS Word detrimental impacts to cultural resource
AGENCY:Forest Service, USDA. (*.doc) or rich text format (*.rtf). sites. Compaction and erosion are the
ACTION:Notice of Intent To Prepare an primary effects of OHV use on soils.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kris Riparian areas and aquatic dependent
Environmental Impact Statement. Rutledge, Project Coordinator, at the species are particularly vulnerable to
SUMMARY: The Forest Service will Ashley National Forest 355 N. Vernal OHV use. The Travel Management Rule,
prepare an Environmental Impact Ave., Vernal, UT., by phone (435) 781– 36 CFR Part 212, provides policy for
Statement (EIS) to disclose the effects of 5196, or e-mail krutledge@fs.fed.us. ending this trend of unauthorized route
designating National Forest System SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: There will proliferation and managing the Forest
(NFS) roads and trails available for be a concurrent NOI and scoping for the transportation system in a sustainable
public motorized use on the Roosevelt/ Vernal Ranger District Travel manner through designation of
Duchesne and Flaming Gorge Ranger Management Plan. The Vernal Ranger motorized NFS roads, trails, and areas,
Districts within the Ashley National District is also located within the and the prohibition of cross-country
Forest. The decision will be to Ashley National Forest. However, travel.
determine whether to include routes because of differences in travel 3. The need for changes to the existing
that are not currently NFS roads or trails management within this District that transportation system. This will help
open for public motorized use, establish currently allow motorized use on provide wheeled, motorized access to
a season of use and/or type of vehicle existing, non-designated routes in dispersed recreation opportunities
use for roads and trails, the prohibition certain areas, and the large number of (camping, hunting, fishing, hiking,
of wheeled motorized vehicle travel off user-created routes on this District, it is horseback riding, etc.); provide a
designated NFS roads and trails by the anticipated that the assessment for the diversity of wheeled motorized
public (except as allowed by permit or EIS will take longer than for the recreation opportunities (4X4 vehicles,
other authorization), and change Roosevelt/Duchesne and Flaming Gorge motorcycles, ATVs, passenger vehicles,
dispersed vehicle camping designations Ranger Districts. Therefore, the analysis etc.); and reduce the potential for OHV
from allowing travel up to 300 feet off will be completed separately and at a conflicts and impacts to other resource
road to 150 feet off road. A National later date. Cumulative effects will be uses and values.
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analyzed for both EISs. It is Forest Service policy to provide
decision is not required to designate a diversity of road and trail
Purpose and Need for Action opportunities for experiencing a variety
roads and trails for public motorized
uses that are currently part of the The Ashley National Forest has of environments and modes of travel
National Forest System of roads and determined that there is a need to consistent with the National Forest
trails. improve management and enforcement recreation role and land capability (FSM
Once a decision is made, a Motor of off-highway vehicle travel policy on 2353.03(2)). In meeting these needs, the
Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) will be the Forest. This need includes three proposed action must also achieve the
prepared, in compliance with the 2005 fundamental management following purposes:
Forest Service Travel Management Rule considerations. A. Avoid impacts to cultural
(36 CFR Part 212). The MVUM will 1. The need to better accommodate resources.
show all the routes that are designated B. Provide for public safety.
current motorized use and to address C. Provide for a diversity of
for public motorized use on the future growth. There has been rapid recreational opportunities.
Roosevelt/Duchesne and Flaming Gorge growth in OHV use that was not D. Assure adequate access to public
Ranger Districts. The MVUM will be the anticipated when the 1982 Ashley and private lands.
primary tool used to determine National Forest Plan was written. Over E. Provide for adequate maintenance
compliance and enforcement with the past few decades, the availability and administration of designations
motorized vehicle use designations on and capability of motorized vehicles, based on availability of resources and
the forest. Those existing routes and particularly off-highway vehicles funding to do so.
other non-system routes not designated (OHVs) and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) F. Minimize damage to soil,
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open on the MVUM will be legally has increased tremendously. Utah is vegetation and other forest resources.
closed to motorized travel. The experiencing a high level of OHV use G. Avoid harassment of wildlife and
decisions on motorized travel will not (196 % increase in eight years), with an significant disruption of wildlife
include motorized over-the-snow travel. even greater increase in use in the habitat.
DATES: The comment period on the Uintah Basin (360% increase in eight H. Minimize conflicts between
proposed action will extend 45 days years). wheeled motor vehicles and existing or

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Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 217 / Friday, November 9, 2007 / Notices 63549

proposed recreational uses of NFS motorized trail system; restrict 3. Allowing Motorized Access to NFS
lands. motorized travel on 4.48 miles of NFS Roads That Are Currently Closed
I. Minimize conflicts among different roads, including the seasonal closure of The Roosevelt/Duchesne Ranger
classes of wheeled motor vehicle uses of 1.22 miles of NFS road; and to restrict District is not proposing to open NFS
NFS lands or neighboring federal lands. through seasonal closure 0.67 miles of roads that are currently closed to public
J. Assure compatibility of wheeled motorized trails. These changes would motorized access. The Flaming Gorge
motor vehicle use with existing bring the total NFS roads on the Ranger District is proposing to open
conditions in populated areas, taking Roosevelt/Duchesne Ranger District to 8.04 miles of NFS roads and .71 miles
into account sound, emissions, etc. approximately 540.32 miles and the of motorized trail that are currently
K. Assure compatibility of motorized miles of the motorized trails to 52.72. closed to public motorized access. This
vehicle use within Inventoried Roadless The Flaming Gorge Ranger District includes the removal of a seasonal
Areas according to 3CFR294.12a. currently manages and maintains
L. Have valid existing rights of use closure on 5.99 miles of NFS roads.
approximately 434 miles of NFS roads
and access (rights-of-way). and 21 miles of motorized trail system. 4. Change the Allowable Distance for
M. Provide consistency of use on Based on the stated purpose and need Motorized Dispersed Camping Off a
roads that cross jurisdictional for action, the Flaming Gorge Ranger Designated Road or Motorized Trail
boundaries. District proposes to add approximately From 300 to 150 Feet
N. Include consideration for 63.84 miles of existing unauthorized The current travel plan allows
compatibility with existing Potential for routes to its NFS roads; add 8.82 miles motorized dispersed camping up to 300
Wilderness Evaluation studies. to its motorized trail system; and to feet from a designated motorized route.
Proposed Action restrict motorized travel on 0.29 miles of In order to establish consistency with
The proposed action has been NFS roads and 3.68 miles of NFS other National Forests in Utah, the
developed by tentatively designating a motorized trails. These changes would allowable area for motorized dispersed
motorized travel plan that moves bring the total NFS roads on the camping will be reduced to 150 feet
towards desired conditions identified in Flaming Gorge Ranger District to from a designated motorized route.
the pre-project assessment. The approximately 497.55 miles and the The Ashley National Forest
proposed travel plan was compared to NFS motorized trails to 26.14 miles. recognizes its unique niche for
the existing travel plan to identify dispersed camping and plans to
2. Allowing Non-Street Legal Vehicles
changes from current conditions. The continue to offer a multitude of
(OHVS) Access to NFS Roads Currently
proposed action includes addition of dispersed camping opportunities where
Open to Street Legal Vehicles Only
non-system routes, closure of system appropriate. With this in mind, the
routes, and identification of current The Ashley National Forest Roosevelt/Duchesne and Flaming Gorge
system routes where a change in use or maintenance level 3, 4, and 5 roads are Ranger Districts have closely examined
route classification is needed to create subject to State traffic laws (36 CFR routes that provide this opportunity.
the desired travel plan. 212.5 (a)(1). Level 5 roads are open to Many sites (especially on the Flaming
The designations will set specific highway legal vehicles only and are Gorge) access a multitude of recreational
seasons of use, where appropriate, and shown on the current travel maps as opportunities, such as fishing or
specify the type of use (e.g., street legal Highway and Improved Paved Roads. hunting, as well as dispersed camping
vehicle, OHVs, 4-wheel drive) for roads Maintenance level 3 and 4 roads are and have been included in the proposals
and trails. The Forest Service will suitable for passenger cars and are outlined in Item 1 above.
shown on the current travel maps as In addition, the Roosevelt/Duchesne
produce a Motor Vehicle Use Map
Improved Roads that are gravel or native Ranger District has been inventorying
(MVUM) depicting those routes that are
dirt. Maintenance level 2 roads include existing numerous short routes that are
open to the general public for wheeled
4-wheel drive vehicles and are not appropriately used for dispersed
motorized use. The final
suitable for passenger cars. These roads camping, but are further than 150 feet
implementation of the MVUM will
are shown on the current travel maps as from a designated motorized route.
include consideration of any conflicts
Unimproved Roads. Both improved Those routes meeting an initial review
with special use permits, easements, or
gravel or dirt and unimproved roads are shown as ‘‘Potential Dispersed
rights of use that may have been
may be managed for street legal vehicles Camping Routes under Consideration’’
unknown or not identified at the time of
only, or a mix of street legal and non- on the proposed action map. A
the proposed action.
A consequence of designating routes street legal vehicles (OHVs). This is determination of type of vehicle class
open for public motorized travel is that referred to as ‘‘mixed traffic’’. for these routes will also be required. It
existing routes not designated as open The Roosevelt/Duchesne Ranger is anticipated that most routes will be
would not be available for public District proposes to add mixed traffic designated as mixed traffic use roads or
motorized travel. use to 2.87 miles of road that are motorized trails greater than 50 inches.
currently designated for street legal There are 15.28 miles of Potential
1. Changes in Mileage to the National vehicles only. The Roosevelt/Duchesne Dispersed Camping Routes under
Forest Transportation System Ranger District proposes to change .15 Consideration being proposed by the
The Roosevelt/Duchesne Ranger miles of road currently designated as Roosevelt/Duchesne Ranger District.
District currently manages and mixed traffic use to allow only street Note: Maps describing the existing
maintains approximately 539 miles of legal vehicle use and allow mixed traffic transportation system and maps and tables
NFS roads and 41 miles of NFS on 1.92 miles of motorized trail. The describing the proposed action can found at
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motorized trails. Based on the stated Flaming Gorge Ranger District proposes http://www.fs.fed.us/r4/ashley/projects/
to add mixed traffic use to 17.67 miles travel_management. In addition, the maps
purpose and need for action, the and tables will be available for viewing at:
Roosevelt/Duchesne Ranger District of road that are currently designated for Supervisor’s Office, 355 N. Vernal Ave.,
proposes to add approximately 5.80 street legal vehicles only. Vernal, UT 84078. Roosevelt Ranger District,
miles of existing unauthorized routes to The change of motorized use on an 650 W. Highway 40 Roosevelt, UT 84066.
its NFS roads; add 12.39 miles to its open NFS road does not require NEPA. Duchesne Ranger District, 85 W. Main

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63550 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 217 / Friday, November 9, 2007 / Notices

Duchesne, UT 84021. Flaming Gorge Ranger Roosevelt/Duchesne and Flaming Gorge Preliminary Issues
District, Intersection of Highways 43 and 44, Ranger Districts Travel Management
Manila, UT 84046. Important goals for the project are to
Plan. create a motorized travel plan that is
No Action Alternative Scoping Process simple to understand, consistent with
other public land management agencies
The No Action Alternative would be Public participation will be especially in Utah, and is enforceable. Protections
to designate all of the motorized system important at several points during the for threatened and endangered animal
roads and trails as identified in the analysis. The Forest Service will be and plant habitats, cultural resources,
existing travel management plans for seeking information, comments, and roadless considerations, and the need to
Roosevelt/Duchesne and Flaming Gorge assistance from the federal, state, tribal, maintain motorized and non-motorized
Ranger Districts, and would not address local agencies, and other individuals or recreational opportunities have also
existing routes that are identified as organizations that may be interested in directed the development and design of
unauthorized (i.e. non-system) routes by or affected by the proposed action. A the proposed action.
the Forest Service. Those existing routes series of public opportunities are
not designated as open would not be scheduled to explain the proposed Comment Requested
available for public motorized travel. travel plan and route designation This notice of intent initiates the
The opportunity to motorize disperse process and to provide an opportunity scoping process that guides the
camp up to 300 feet from a designated for public input. Dates for these scoping development of the environmental
motorized route would continue to be meetings will be posted on the Ashley impact statement.
available. National Forest web page at http://
www.fs.fed.us/r4/ashley/projects/ Early Notice of Importance of Public
Possible Alternatives Participation in Subsequent
travelmanagement and in local
The Forest is expecting that the public newspapers prior to the meetings. Environmental Review
input will generate either thematic The Forest Service will consider all A draft environmental impact
concerns or route-specific issues that public scoping comments and concerns statement will be prepared for comment.
may be addressed by modifying the that have been submitted, as well as The comment period on the draft
proposed action to create a new resource related input from the environmental impact statement will be
alternative or alternatives. interdisciplinary team and other agency 45 days from the date the
Decommissioning or obliterating of resource specialists. This input will be Environmental Protection Agency
routes, which may involve ground- used to identify issues to consider in the publishes the notice of availability in
disturbing activities, would be a part of environmental analysis. A the Federal Register.
the Proposed Action or alternatives. The comprehensive list of issues will be The Forest Service believes, at this
environmental consequences of having determined before the full range of early stage, it is important to give
routes closed to motorized travel will be alternatives is developed and the reviewers notice of several court rulings
evaluated in this environmental environmental analysis is begun. related to public participation in the
analysis. Identification of new routes The Notice of Intent is expected to be environmental review process. First,
that would meet the goals and objectives published in the Federal Register. The reviewers of draft environmental impact
for a motorized transportation system on comment period on the proposed action statements must structure their
NFS lands will be, as appropriate, a part will extend 45 days from the date the participation in the environmental
of this travel management planning. Notice of Intent is published in the review of the proposal so that it is
Responsible Official Federal Register. meaningful and alerts an agency to the
The Responsible Official is Kevin The draft environmental impact reviewer’s position and contentions.
Elliott, Forest Supervisor, Ashley statement is expected to be filed with Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Corp. v.
National Forest, 355 N. Vernal Ave., the Environmental Protection Agency NRDC, 435 U.S. 519, 553 (1978). In
Vernal, UT 84078. (EPA) and to be available for public addition, environmental objections that
review by July 2008. EPA will publish could be raised at the draft
Nature of Decision to be Made a notice of availability of the draft EIS environmental impact statement stage
Based on the purpose and need for the in the Federal Register. The comment but that are not raised until after
proposed action, the Forest Supervisor period on the draft EIS will extend 45 completion of the final environmental
will evaluate the Proposed Action and days from the date the EPA notice impact statement may be waived or
other alternatives in order to make the appears in the Federal Register. At that dismissed by the courts. City of Angoon
following decisions for the specific time, copies of the draft EIS will be v. Hodel, 803 F.2d 1016, 1022 (9th Cir.
National Forest System lands: distributed to interested and affected 1986) and Wisconsin Heritages, Inc. v.
1. Designating or eliminating agencies, organizations, and members of Harris, 490 F. Supp. 1334, 1338 (E.D.
unclassified travel ways; the public for their review and Wis. 1980). Because of these court
2. Determine the allowed season and/ comment. It is very important that those rulings, it is very important that those
or type of use for those routes open to interested in the management of the interested in this proposed action
motorized travel; and Ashley National Forest participate at participate by the close of the comment
3. Determine if any changes in the that time. period so that substantive comments
extent and nature of motorized The final EIS is scheduled to be and objections are made available to the
dispersed camping are warranted. completed November 2008. In the final Forest Service at a time when it can
Travel management direction for EIS, the Forest Service is required to meaningfully consider them and
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routes that will not have a change in respond to comments received during respond to them in the final
travel management direction will be the comment period that pertain to the environmental impact statement.
shown on the MVUM (pursuant to 36 environmental consequences discussed To assist the Forest Service in
CFR part 212). Routes, for which travel in the draft EIS and applicable laws, identifying and considering issues and
management direction is being changed, regulations, and policies considered in concerns on the proposed action,
will be analyzed in the EIS for the making the decision. comments on the draft environmental

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Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 217 / Friday, November 9, 2007 / Notices 63551

impact statement should be as specific Once a decision is made, a Motor the Forest. This need includes three
as possible. It is also helpful if Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) will be fundamental management
comments refer to specific pages or prepared, in compliance with the 2005 considerations.
chapters of the draft statement. Forest Service Travel Management Rule 1. The need to better accommodate
Comments may also address the (36 CFR part 212). The MVUM will current motorized use and to address
adequacy of the draft environmental show all the routes that are designated future growth. There has been rapid
impact statement or the merits of the for public motorized use on the Vernal growth in OHV use that was not
alternatives formulated and discussed in Ranger District. The MVUM will be the anticipated when the 1982 Ashley
the statement. Reviewers may wish to primary tool used to determine National Forest Plan was written. Over
refer to the Council on Environmental compliance and enforcement with the past few decades, the availability
Quality Regulations for implementing motorized vehicle use designations on and capability of motorized vehicles,
the procedural provisions of the the forest. Those existing routes and particularly off-highway vehicles
National Environmental Policy Act at 40 other non-system routes not designated (OHVs) and sport utility vehicles (SUVs)
CFR 1503.3 in addressing these points. open on the MVUM will be legally has increased tremendously. Utah is
Comments received, including the closed to motorized travel. The experiencing a high level of OHV use
names and addresses of those who decisions on motorized travel will not (196 % increase in eight years), with an
comment, will be considered part of the include motorized over-the-snow travel. even greater increase in use in the
public record on this proposal, and will DATES: The comment period on the Uintah Basin (360% increase in eight
be available for public inspection. proposed action will extend 45 days years).
(Authority: 40 CFR 1501.7 and 1508.22; from the date the Notice of Intent is 2. The need to have a travel plans that
Forest Service Handbook 1909.15, Section published in the Federal Register. The is simple to understand and implement,
21) draft environmental impact statement is and consistent with other Forests and
Dated: November 2, 2007. expected July 2009 and the final land management agencies. The model
environmental impact statement is used for the existing travel plan relies
Kevin B. Elliott,
expected November 2009. on ‘‘open unless signed or mapped
Forest Supervisor. closed’’ designations that are
ADDRESSES: Send written comments to
[FR Doc. E7–22029 Filed 11–8–07; 8:45 am] complicated to interpret and, as a result,
Kris Rutledge, Travel Management
BILLING CODE 3410–11–P
Team Coordinator, Ashley National are difficult to enforce. The lack of
Forest 355 N Vernal Ave., Vernal, UT simple and consistent travel policies
84078 or call (435) 781–5196. among other Forests and land
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Electronic comments may be e-mailed management agencies is confusing for
Forest Service to comments-intermtn-ashley@fs.fed.us, the public; inhibits cooperative law
contain ‘‘Vernal Ranger District Travel enforcement; and has resulted in
Vernal Ranger District Travel Management Plan’’ in the subject line, unplanned roads and trails, erosion,
Management Plan, Ashley National and must be submitted in MS Word watershed and habitat degradation, and
Forest; Uintah, Duchesne, and Daggett (*.doc) or rich text format (*.rtf). detrimental impacts to cultural resource
Counties, UT FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kris sites. Compaction and erosion are the
Rutledge, Project Coordinator, at the primary effects of OHV use on soils.
AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA. Ashley National Forest 355 N. Vernal Riparian areas and aquatic dependent
ACTION: Notice of Intent To Prepare an Ave., Vernal, UT, by phone (435) 781– species are particularly vulnerable to
Environmental Impact Statement. 5196, or e-mail krutledge@fs.fed.us. OHV use. The Travel Management Rule,
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: There will 36 CFR part 212, provides policy for
SUMMARY: The Forest Service will be a concurrent NOI and scoping for the ending this trend of unauthorized route
prepare an Environmental Impact Roosevelt/Duchesne and Flaming Gorge proliferation and managing the Forest
Statement (EIS) to disclose the effects of Ranger Districts Travel Management transportation system in a sustainable
designating National Forest System Plan. The Roosevelt/Duchesne and manner through designation of
(NFS) roads and trails available for Flaming Gorge Ranger Districts are also motorized NFS roads, trails, and areas,
public motorized use on the Vernal located within the Ashley National and the prohibition of cross-country
Ranger District within the Ashley Forest. However, because of differences travel.
National Forest. The decision will be to in travel management within the Vernal 3. The need for changes to the existing
determine whether to include routes Ranger District that currently allow transportation system. This will help
that are not currently NFS roads or trails motorized use on existing, non- provide wheeled, motorized access to
open for public motorized use, establish designated routes in certain areas, and dispersed recreation opportunities
a season of use and/or type of vehicle the large number of user-created routes (camping, hunting, fishing, hiking,
use for roads and trails, the prohibition on the District, it is anticipated that the horseback riding, etc.); provide a
of wheeled motorized vehicle travel off assessment for the EIS will take longer diversity of wheeled motorized
designated NFS roads and trails by the than for the Roosevelt/Duchesne and recreation opportunities (4X4 vehicles,
public (except as allowed by permit or Flaming Gorge Ranger Districts. motorcycles, ATVs, passenger vehicles,
other authorization), and change Therefore, the analysis will be etc.); and reduce the potential for OHV
dispersed vehicle camping designations completed seperately and at a later date. conflicts and impacts to other resource
from allowing travel up to 300 feet off Cummulative effects will be analyzed uses and values.
road to 150 feet off road. A National for both EISs. It is Forest Service policy to provide
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Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) a diversity of road and trail


decision is not required to designate Purpose and Need for Action opportunities for experiencing a variety
roads and trails for public motorized The Ashley National Forest has of environments and modes of travel
uses that are currently part of the determined that there is a need to consistent with the National Forest
National Forest System of roads and improve management and enforcement recreation role and land capability (FSM
trails. of off-highway vehicle travel policy on 2353.03(2)). In meeting these needs, the

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