[Federal Register Volume 65, Number 243 (Monday, December 18, 2000)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 79024-79034]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 00-32144]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

National Park Service

36 CFR Part 7

RIN 1024-AC82


Special Regulations, Areas of the National Park System

AGENCY: National Park Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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

SUMMARY: The National Park Service (NPS) is proposing to phase out 
snowmobile use in Yellowstone National Park, the John D. Rockefeller, 
Jr., Memorial Parkway, and, with some exceptions, in Grand Teton 
National Park, and to prohibit snowplane use in Grand Teton National 
Park, by the winter of 2003-2004. We also are proposing interim 
measures to limit the impacts of snowmobiles before their use is 
prohibited. This proposal is in conjunction with the Winter Use 
Management Plan and FEIS written for the three NPS areas and implements 
provisions of the Record of Decision from that Management Plan. That 
Record of Decision, overall, will shift oversnow motorized use of the 
parks from snowmobile use to snowcoach use, to allow continued winter 
use of the parks while eliminating the impacts on park resources and 
values from snowmobile use.

DATES: Written comments will be accepted through January 17, 2001.

ADDRESSES: Comments should be addressed to: National Park Service, 
Ranger Activities Division, 1849 C Street, NW., Room 7408, Washington, 
DC 20240. Fax: (202) 208-6756. Email: WASO_Regulations@nps.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kym Hall, Regulations Program Manager, 
National Park Service, 1849 C Street, N.W., Room 7413, Washington, DC 
20240. Telephone: (202) 208-4206. Fax: (202) 208-6756. Email: 
Kym_Hall@nps.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:   

Background

    Much of the public use of these three parks in winter is snowmobile 
use. In the winter of 1999-2000, 76,571 visitor-days of snowmobile use 
occurred in Yellowstone, representing over 60 percent of all visitors, 
and 23,399 visitor-days of snowmobile use occurred in the Parkway. Less 
snowmobile use occurred in Grand Teton, with 1,329 visitor-days of 
snowmobile use on the Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail that 
traverses the park and 2,867 visitor-days of snowmobile use on other 
park trails. On Jackson Lake in Grand Teton, there also were 1,091 
visitor-days of the use of snowplanes--ski-mounted motor vehicles, 
driven across the ice by rear-mounted propellers. In Yellowstone and 
the Parkway, snowcoaches--larger vehicles, comparable to passenger vans 
(which often are converted vans)--also operate on routes open to 
snowmobile use. This motorized, oversnow use of the parks is a 
relatively recent development, with virtually no such use present in 
the parks in the 1970s.
    In May 1997, the National Park Service was sued in U.S. District 
Court for the District of Columbia by The Fund for Animals, 
Biodiversity Legal Foundation, Predator Project, Ecology Center, and 
five individuals for allegedly failing to comply with the National Park 
Service's Organic Act (16 U.S.C. 1-4), the National Environmental 
Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and other 
federal laws and regulations in connection with winter use in these 
three contiguous parks. The NPS subsequently settled the suit, in part, 
by an agreement to prepare a winter use plan for all three parks, based 
on a comprehensive environmental impact statement (EIS).
    Nine cooperating agencies joined the NPS in the preparation of the 
EIS. They are the U.S. Forest Service; the States of Idaho, Montana, 
and Wyoming; and the Counties of Gallatin and Park, Montana, Park and 
Teton, Wyoming, and Fremont, Idaho. To develop the scope of the winter 
use plan, scoping brochures were mailed to about 6,000 interested 
parties, 12 public meetings were held in the Greater Yellowstone Area, 
4 public meetings were held in other parts of the country, and about 
2,000 public comments were considered. In July 1999, the NPS published 
a draft EIS for public comment. Five public hearings were held in the 
region, and one in Colorado. About 46,500 public comments were received 
by the December 1999 deadline.
    Separately, in January 1999, the NPS received a petition for 
rulemaking from the Bluewater Network and some 60 other conservation 
organizations, requesting that we begin immediate rulemaking to 
prohibit snowmobile use within the 44 units of the national park system 
in which it is allowed, including the three parks involved in this 
rulemaking. That petition prompted an agency review of our policies and 
practices on snowmobile use in parks. As part of that review, the NPS 
conducted a survey of parks in which snowmobile use is currently 
allowed. The survey gathered information from each relevant park on 
such matters as the basis on which a decision was originally made to 
allow snowmobile use in that park; how extensive that use is; what is 
known about the impacts of that use on park resources and values, 
including the enjoyment of other visitors; and what monitoring, if any, 
is conducted to determine those impacts. Additionally, the NPS also 
held a two-day snowmobile ``summit'' in February 2000 at which 
officials from the Department of the Interior (including the Office of 
the Solicitor) and the National Park Service (including all but one of 
the 44 affected parks) reviewed the snowmobile use now occurring in the 
national park system. We learned through the survey and the snowmobile 
``summit'' that much of the snowmobile use that occurs in the national 
park system is not consistent with management objectives or the 
protection of park resources and values, and is not in compliance with 
the requirements of the two executive orders and the NPS general 
regulations on snowmobile use.
    In April 2000, the Department and NPS publicly announced an 
intention to propose changes in the snowmobile use allowed in parks, 
including the three parks involved here, to protect park resources and 
values, to meet management objectives for the parks,

[[Page 79025]]

and to come into compliance with the legal requirements applying to 
that use.
    The final EIS (FEIS) for winter use in these three parks was 
published on October 10, 2000, and notice of its availability was 
published in the Federal Register on October 20, 2000. 65 FR 63,076. A 
Record of Decision on the winter use plan for the parks was signed on 
November 22, 2000. These regulations are necessary to implement 
portions of that decision, which generally emphasizes cleaner, quieter 
access to the parks using the technologies available today.

Existing Laws and Regulations

    Snowmobile use in national parks is subject to the provisions of 
various laws and regulations, principally the NPS Organic Act, the 
Clean Air Act, two Executive Orders, and NPS regulations.
NPS Organic Act
    Section 1 of the NPS Organic Act (16 USC 1) provides that the NPS:

* * * shall promote and regulate the use of the Federal areas known 
as national parks, monuments, and reservation * * * by such means 
and measures as conform to the fundamental purpose of the said 
parks, monuments, and reservations, which purpose is to conserve the 
scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life 
therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner 
and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of 
future generations.

    This prohibition on impairment is the single most important 
statutory direction Congress has provided for the management of the 
national parks.
    NPS Directors Order #55 details how the NPS interprets and 
implements the Organic Act's prohibition on impairment. Key elements 
include:
    An impairment is defined to be an impact on a park's resources and 
values that harm the integrity of that park's resources and values. The 
Service may not allow the impairment of park resources and values, 
unless directly and specifically provided for by statute.
    The resources and values to which this standard applies are a 
park's scenery, natural and historic objects, and wildlife; the natural 
forces and conditions that create and sustain those resources; and 
opportunities for public enjoyment of them. Resources and values that 
are particularly relevant to snowmobile use in these parks include, to 
the extent present in the parks, natural visibility, natural 
soundscapes and smells; water and air resources; soils; wilderness 
qualities; native plants and animals; and opportunities for public 
enjoyment of the parks' resources and values.
    In its decision-making as to whether particular impacts to park 
resources and values constitute an impairment, the NPS must assure the 
preservation of the high public value and integrity of the national 
park system, the national dignity of parks, the superlative 
environmental quality of parks, and the important role of parks in 
providing benefit and inspiration for all the people of the United 
States.
    When the NPS determines that an ongoing activity is causing an 
impairment, the Service must take appropriate action, to the extent 
possible within the Service's authorities and available resources, to 
eliminate the impairment.
Clean Air Act
    The Clean Air Act includes several provisions relevant to 
snowmobile use in these national parks. Under the Clean Air Act, 
federal agencies must ensure that any activities occurring within 
federal lands do not cause or contribute to a violation of any State or 
National Ambient Air Quality Standards, set to protect the public from 
the harmful effects of air pollutants. Yellowstone and Grand Teton are 
Class I areas under the Prevention of Significant Deterioration 
program, meaning that they are subject to the strictest limits on the 
maximum allowable increases of air pollutants; only small increases in 
particulate matter (PM), nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide are 
allowable. The Act also requires the prevention of any future 
impairment and the remedying of any existing visibility impairment in 
Class I federal areas. By EPA regulation, visibility impairment is 
defined as any perceptible change in visibility. EPA has published 
regulations to ensure reasonable progress toward the national 
visibility goal; in particular, states are required to develop plans to 
achieve steady and continuing reductions in emissions that contribute 
to visibility impairment, with the goal of restoring natural visibility 
by 2060. The Act provides that the NPS has an affirmative 
responsibility to protect the air quality related values of the parks. 
EPA has the authority under the Act to establish national standards for 
emissions of air pollutants from snowmobiles, but has not yet done so. 
If EPA does establish snowmobile emission standards, past practices 
indicate that there likely will be a few years before manufacturers are 
required to have newly-manufactured snowmobiles comply with the 
emission standards.
Executive Orders
    Executive Order 11644 on off-road vehicle use, issued by President 
Nixon in 1972, provides, among other things, that snowmobile use may be 
allowed in national parks only if NPS determines that the snowmobile 
use on those areas and trails will not adversely affect the park's 
natural, aesthetic, or scenic values. It requires NPS to monitor the 
effects of authorized snowmobile use in parks. It also requires NPS; on 
the basis of the information gathered through that monitoring, to close 
or change the areas and trails open to snowmobile use as necessary to 
avoid adverse effects on the park's natural, aesthetic, or scenic 
values.
    Executive Order 11989, also on off-road vehicle use, issued by 
President Carter in 1977, requires NPS, whenever it determines that the 
use of snowmobiles will cause or is causing considerable adverse 
effects on the natural resources of a park, to take steps to prevent 
those effects, including immediately halting that use.
NPS Regulations
    NPS general regulations on snowmobile use, 36 CFR 2.18(c), state 
that:
    The use of snowmobiles is prohibited, except on designated routes 
and water surfaces that are used by motor vehicles or motorboats during 
other seasons. Routes and water surfaces designated for snowmobile use 
shall be promulgated as special regulations. Snowmobiles are prohibited 
except where designated and only when their use is consistent with the 
park's natural, cultural, scenic and aesthetic values, safety 
considerations, park management objectives, and will not disturb 
wildlife or damage park resources.''
    The three parks subject to these proposed regulations have park 
specific regulations that designate areas and routes open to snowmobile 
(and snowplane) use.

Impacts to Park Resources and Values

    The NPS has determined that the snowmobile use occurring in all 
three parks, and the snowplane use occurring in Grand Teton, harms the 
integrity of the resources and values of the parks, and therefore 
constitutes an impairment. We have also determined that the snowmobile 
use occurring in all three parks is inconsistent with the requirements 
of the Clean Air Act, Executive Orders 11644 and 11989, the NPS's 
general snowmobile regulations, and NPS management objectives for the 
parks. The types of impacts on which these determinations are based are 
summarized below.

[[Page 79026]]

Natural Soundscapes
    The impact of noise from snowmobiles and snowplanes on the natural 
soundscapes of all three parks is one of the reasons that their current 
use causes an impairment of the resources and values of the park, which 
is prohibited by the NPS Organic Act, is inconsistent with Executive 
Orders, NPS regulations, and NPS management objectives.
    The NPS has drawn on four separate studies of the existing natural 
background and human-generated sound levels in the parks, as explained 
in the FEIS.
    In open terrain with a quiet background, the sound of a single 
snowmobile is audible for about 4,120 feet, a group of four snowmobiles 
for 7,510 feet, and a single snowplane for 7,340 feet. By comparison, 
an automobile in the same circumstances is audible for 2,330 feet. 
According to daytime audibility monitoring, in Yellowstone, snowmobile 
noise can be heard 95 percent of the time by visitors at Old Faithful 
and 87 percent of the time at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone; in 
the Parkway, 63 percent of the time at Flagg Ranch; and in Grand Teton, 
snowmobile or snowplane noise can be heard 44 percent of the time at 
Colter Bay.
Wildlife
    The impact on wildlife from snowmobile use is one of the reasons 
that the use causes an impairment of the resources and values of 
Yellowstone and in all three parks is inconsistent with Executive 
Orders, NPS regulations, and NPS management objectives.
    The impact on wildlife from snowmobile use is documented not only 
in the FEIS but also in a report to the federal interagency Greater 
Yellowstone Coordinating Committee, Effects of Winter Recreation on 
Wildlife of the Greater Yellowstone Area: A Literature Review and 
Assessment (T. Olliff, K. Legg, and B. Kaeding, editors. 1999)
    Snowmobile use in the parks takes place during the season when 
animals are most stressed by high snow depths, extreme cold, and food 
shortages. Disturbance or harassment of wildlife during this sensitive 
time can adversely affect individual animals and, in some cases, 
populations as a whole. One review, cited in the FEIS, of 232 
publications on the impacts of recreation on wildlife concluded that 
recreational users, because of their numbers and sometimes 
inappropriate behavior, were causing severe impacts because of 
harassment and the habituation of particular species. In these parks, 
bison, elk, moose, and deer travel on roadways groomed for snowmobile 
use, which can lead to collisions with or other disturbance of the 
wildlife. Wildlife movements are also inhibited by traffic and snow 
berms created by plowing and grooming operations. Although bison 
habituate to snowmobiles to some degree, when there was a response to 
snowmobiles, most often the bison fled from the snowmobiles, with 
snowmobiles frequently herding them down the packed roadway. One study 
reported that 60 percent of all bison groups observed traveling on 
groomed roads had negative reactions to snowmobiles, with most of those 
reactions including running from the snowmobiles.
Air Quality
    The impact on air quality from snowmobile use is one of the reasons 
that the use causes an impairment of the resources and values of 
Yellowstone and Grand Teton and in all three parks is inconsistent with 
Executive Orders, NPS regulations, and NPS management objectives.
    The effects of snowmobiles on air quality in these parks are 
documented not only in the FEIS but also in the NPS report, Air Quality 
Concerns Related to Snowmobile Usage in National Parks (NPS 2000).
    Even though snowmobiles are present in Yellowstone for only three 
months of the year and there are fewer of them than there are of other 
motor vehicles during the remainder of the year, the snowmobiles 
contribute more air pollution to the park than do other motor vehicles. 
The contribution from snowmobiles to total annual hydrocarbon emissions 
from all mobile sources can range from 68% to 90% at Yellowstone, 
depending on which emission factors are used to estimate emissions. 
Similarly, snowmobiles can contribute from 35% to 68% of total carbon 
monoxide annual emissions.
    Air quality monitoring at Yellowstone's West Gate shows carbon 
monoxide levels approaching, although not exceeding, the standards for 
carbon monoxide levels, which are expressed in terms of maximum average 
concentrations over 8-hour and one-hour periods. Monitoring of carbon 
monoxide levels over shorter periods, during peak snowmobile use, show 
much higher concentrations. Employees at the entrance station have 
complained of adverse health effects from emissions from snowmobiles. 
In addition, monitoring in the wake of a snowmobile indicate that 
substantial carbon monoxide levels remain in the roadway, where other 
snowmobilers could be exposed to them. In 1993 and 1994, Yellowstone 
received over 1,200 complaint letters concerning employee and visitor 
health and excessive snowmobile pollution.
    The Environmental Protection Agency, in comments on the FEIS, has 
noted that the maximum allowable increase for particulate matter under 
the Prevention of Significant Deterioration may have already been 
exceeded at Yellowstone, and that snowmobile emissions may be adding to 
that exceedance. Modeling suggests that to be the case.
    Snowmobiles can cause localized, perceptible decreases in 
visibility near the West Entrance and Old Faithful in Yellowstone, near 
Flagg Ranch in the Parkway and, under certain viewing conditions, along 
heavily used roadway segments in those parks.
Water Quality
    The impact on water quality from snowmobile and snowplane use in 
all three parks is one of the reasons that the use is inconsistent with 
Executive Orders, NPS regulations, and NPS management objectives.
    Deposition of airborne pollutants from snowmobiles and snowplanes 
onto frozen lake surfaces and snowpack can lead to those pollutants 
entering groundwater and surface water when the snow and ice melts. In 
Yellowstone, studies have found that concentrations of ammonium, 
sulfate, benzene and toluene in the snowpack are correlated with the 
amount of oversnow traffic. Concentrations of ammonium and sulfate at 
the sites in the snowpacked roadways between West Yellowstone and Old 
Faithful were greater than those observed at any of the 50 to 60 other 
snowpack-sampling sites in the Rocky Mountain region. The use of 
snowmobiles and snowplanes directly on the frozen surface of Jackson 
Lake is likely causing the direct deposition of pollutants into lake 
water with ice and snowmelt, with the potential for a moderate to high 
adverse impact on water quality.
Effects on Other Visitors
    The impact on other visitors from snowmobile use in all three parks 
is one of the reasons that the use causes an impairment of the 
resources and values of the parks and is inconsistent with Executive 
Orders, NPS regulations, and NPS management objectives.
    Winter visitor surveys indicate that the most important factors for 
visitor enjoyment in the parks are opportunities to view scenery and 
wildlife, the safe behavior of others, and opportunities to experience 
clean air

[[Page 79027]]

and solitude. As explained elsewhere in this background statement, 
snowmobiles can cause decreases in visibility and increased air 
pollution within the parks; disturb the natural presence and behavior 
of wildlife; interfere with the natural soundscapes of the parks, 
reducing a sense of solitude; and adversely affect public safety.

Safety Considerations

    The impact on public safety from snowmobile use in all three parks 
is one of the reasons that the use is inconsistent with Executive 
Orders, NPS regulations, and NPS management objectives.
    In the last 10 years, eight fatalities in Yellowstone resulted from 
snowmobile accidents. In 1994, 44 percent of all park fatalities 
resulted from snowmobile accidents. During the past five winters, 92 
percent of all incidents requiring response from an NPS ranger involved 
snowmobiles, which account for 61 percent of all winter users. During 
all of fiscal year 1998, snowmobilers, who represent two percent of all 
park visitors in the year, were involved in nine percent of 
Yellowstone's motor vehicle accidents. In Grand Teton, the use of 
snowmobiles on the groomed surface of the Continental Divide Snowmobile 
Trail immediately adjacent to highways open to other motor vehicles is 
a particular safety concern. Similar co-location of that snowmobile 
trail and an open highway has contributed to automobile-snowmobile 
collisions outside of the park, with several injuries and one fatality 
resulting.

NPS Management Objectives

    Prohibiting snowmobile use in Yellowstone and the Parkway, and 
snowplane and most snowmobile use in Grand Teton, and providing instead 
for greater winter use of the parks by snowcoaches, is consistent with 
NPS's management objectives for these parks. Doing so would reduce 
adverse impacts on park resources and values, better provide for public 
safety, and provide for public enjoyment of the parks in winter.
    Snowcoaches have lower impacts on park resources and values than 
snowmobiles. For example, a single newer snowcoach, capable of carrying 
eight or more passengers, emits much lower levels of air pollutants and 
much less noise than a single snowmobile, which carries one or two 
passengers. Also, snowcoaches, operated by professional, trained 
drivers operating under NPS concession contracts or permits, are much 
less likely to be operated in a way that disturbs wildlife than 
snowmobiles. As a result, expanding the use of snowcoaches and 
eliminating most use of snowmobiles will make it possible to 
accommodate large numbers of winter visitors to the parks, while still 
preserving an enjoyable experience for most visitors and avoiding 
substantial adverse impacts on park resources.
    If the NPS were to continue to allow snowmobiles in the parks 
(other than on short routes for limited purposes in Grand Teton), it 
would be necessary to establish very strict limitations on that use to 
remain consistent with the NPS Organic, the relevant Executive Orders, 
the NPS general snowmobile regulations, and other applicable 
requirements. Even with strict user limitations, however, snowmobiles 
would continue to have substantial adverse impacts on natural 
soundscapes, wildlife, air quality, the experience of other park 
visitors, and other park resources and values. The remaining impacts 
would be substantial enough that it might be necessary to also limit 
the number of other types of users, at least including snowcoach users, 
to ensure that overall winter visitor impacts would not unlawfully or 
unacceptably affect park resources and values. Rather than establishing 
limitations on both snowmobile and snowcoach users, the NPS prefers to 
eliminate most snowmobile use in the parks and allow unlimited access 
to the parks by snowcoach users and other visitors.

Other Legal Requirements

    The NPS has been unable to find any evidence that the Service, 
before now, made the determinations required by Executive Order 11644--
that snowmobile use in particular areas and on particular trails in 
these parks will not adversely affect the park's natural, aesthetic, or 
scenic values of the parks--before deciding to allow snowmobile use in 
the parks. Further, until making this proposal for new rules, the NPS 
has not complied with the requirement of that Executive Order that the 
Service rescind or amend the designation or areas open to snowmobile 
use as necessary to avoid adverse effects on the park's natural, 
aesthetic, or scenic values.
    Also, prior to proposing this rule, the NPS has not complied with 
the requirement of Executive Order 11989 that the Service, whenever it 
determines that the use of snowmobiles will cause or is causing 
considerable adverse effects on the natural resources of a park, take 
steps to prevent those effects, including immediately halting that use.
    The special regulation for Grand Teton National Park that 
designates the Potholes-Baseline Flats area as open to snowmobile use 
is inconsistent with the requirement in the NPS's general snowmobile 
regulation that snowmobiles may be allowed only on ``designated routes 
and water surfaces that are used by motor vehicles or motorboats during 
other seasons.'' 36 C.F.R. 2.18(c). The Potholes-Baseline Flats area is 
not open to motor vehicles during other seasons.
    The NPS currently allows snowmobile use on the Continental Divide 
Snowmobile Trail in Grand Teton and the Parkway, although it has not 
been designated by regulation as a snowmobile route as required by the 
NPS's general snowmobile regulation.

Description of Proposed Rule

    The proposed rule does not include any changes in regulations 
governing snowmobile and snowplane use for the winter of 2000-2001. By 
the time this proposed rule will be final, the winter season will be 
largely over, and there would not be adequate notice to users of any 
changes for the remainder of the winter. Instead, the NPS will take 
non-regulatory management actions this winter to reduce the impacts of 
snowmobile and snowplane use, as described in our Record of Decision on 
winter use in the parks.
    The rule would add the Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail, in both 
Grand Teton and the Parkway, to the list of designated snowmobile 
trails, effective through the winter use season of 2002-2003. This 
trail, in both parks, is now open to snowmobile use, although it is not 
currently a designated route.
    For the winter use season 2001-2002, the rule would establish 
numerical limits on the numbers of snowmobiles and snowplanes that may 
enter the parks through designated entrances, or that may use 
designated areas of the parks. The daily entrance limits proposed for 
this season are based on the average peak day of snowmobile use by 
entrance or road segment for snowmobile use figures collected over the 
last seven years. These limits are intended to prevent increases in use 
to occur on the busiest peak days of the season, while allowing current 
use patterns to continue.
    Also for the winter of 2001-2002, the proposed rule will repeal the 
designation of five routes in Yellowstone and one area in Grand Teton 
that are included in the parks' current special regulations in 36 CFR 
Part 7, but that are not now actually open to snowmobile use. Those 
routes have not been open to use for some

[[Page 79028]]

time, because of prior park management decisions that are reflected in 
the respective Superintendent's Compendium of park rules. The currently 
closed area in Grand Teton, the Pothole-Baseline Flats area, is an area 
not open to other motor vehicles in other seasons, so its designation 
is also inconsistent with the general NPS snowmobile regulation 
establishing criteria for routes eligible to be designated for 
snowmobile use.
    For the winter of 2002-2003, for Grand Teton the rule would 
prohibit snowmobile and snowplane use on Jackson Lake in Grand Teton 
National Park and repeal the designations of all snowmobile trails in 
the park except for the Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail. For all 
three parks, the rule would establish numerical limits on snowmobile 
use in the parks. The limits have been chosen to lead to an approximate 
50 percent reduction in snowmobiles entering Yellowstone's West and 
South Gates, where snowmobile use, and the impacts from that use, are 
greatest. The limits for this winter will require less change, if any, 
in other areas, where the snowmobile use and the impacts from it are 
lesser. Snowmobiles in Yellowstone would be limited to groups, and each 
group would have to be guided by an NPS-permitted guide, to reduce 
impacts on park resources and values (particularly wildlife) and to 
improve public safety. The rule would authorize the Superintendent to 
require snowmobiles to travel in groups, and to be guided by an NPS 
permitted guide in Grand Teton and the Parkway.
    The following table summarizes current snowmobile use levels and 
the limits on that use to be established for the winters of 2001-2002 
and 2002-2003.

    Table 1.--Limits on Snowmobiles in Yellowstone (YNP), Rockefeller Parkway (JDRMP) and Grand Teton (GTNP)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                  7-year average     2001-2002       2002-2003
                          Road segments                              daily use     Daily limits    Daily limits
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
YNP North Entrance..............................................              41              60              60
YNP West Entrance...............................................             555            1030             278
YNP East Entrance...............................................              37             100              65
YNP South Entrance to JDRMP Flagg Ranch.........................             176             330              90
JDRMP Grassy Lake Road..........................................              25              40              25
JDRMP CDST from Flagg Ranch to GTNP eastern park boundary.......              25              70              25
GTNP Jackson Lake...............................................              30              30               0
GTNP Tenton Park Road...........................................              11              20               0
GTNP Moose-Wilson Road..........................................               3              10               0
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Effective the winter of 2003-2004, snowmobile use would be 
prohibited in Yellowstone, the Parkway, and in most areas of Grand 
Teton. Oversnow motorized access to the parks in this winter, and 
thereafter, will be by snowcoaches. Exceptions to the snowmobile 
prohibition will be certain relatively short routes in Grand Teton that 
provide snowmobile access to national forest areas open to snowmobile 
use under U.S. Forest Service management decisions, and to private 
property for which snowmobile access is the only reasonable, or an 
appropriate, means of access in winter. Access to these public lands 
and to private property within and adjacent to the park boundary are 
provided for in the enabling legislation for Grand Teton National Park. 
Snowmobile use on these routes would be limited to travel to the 
national forest areas and the private properties. For the routes to 
private properties, only the owners and their representatives or guests 
will be permitted to use those routes and only for access purposes, not 
recreational uses.
    For all three parks, the rule includes several provisions that are 
intended to ensure safe and appropriate use of snowmobiles. These are 
mostly drawn from the Superintendent's Compendium of park rules for one 
or more of the parks. These provisions include prohibitions on 
excessive idling of snowmobiles, requirements that snowmobiles stopped 
on a designated route to be pulled over to the edge of the roadway, 
requirements that operators have valid motor vehicle operator or 
learner permits, and requirements that snowmobiles be properly 
registered and registration tags be appropriately displayed. The hours 
of snowmobile use will be restricted to avoid snowmobile operations 
during the early morning and late evening hours to mitigate safety 
concerns, to reduce conflicts with plowing or grooming operations, and 
to minimize the disturbance to wildlife.
    Throughout the regulation there are references to designated routes 
being marked. It is important to note that because of the natural 
scenery in the park, the erection of signs will be kept to a minimum. 
Instead, the use of snow poles or other less intrusive markers will be 
used to help designate appropriate routes for snowmobile or snowcoach 
use. Additionally, the berms--large snow banks on the sides of the 
roads created by plowing or grooming--will also serve to designate the 
boundaries for snowmobile routes.
    The proposed regulation will eliminate the impairment of park 
resources and values in Grand Teton by the winter of 2002-2003, and in 
Yellowstone and the Parkway by the winter of 2003-2004.
    The NPS has determined, based on the FEIS and other studies and 
information, that the snowcoach use that we expect to occur in these 
parks, and the snowmobile use that will continue be allowed in Grand 
Teton in the winter of 2003-2004 and thereafter, will be consistent 
with the requirements of the NPS Organic Act, the relevant Executive 
Orders, and the NPS general regulations on snowmobile use.
    We solicit comments on, first, any additional mitigation measures, 
beyond those identified in the FEIS and Record of Decision, that could 
be undertaken in conjunction with the proposed regulation to reduce the 
possible adverse economic impacts of it on small businesses. Second, we 
also solicit comments on any alternative approach to the proposed 
regulation--such as a limitation on the number of snowmobiles that may 
use a park in a day, a restriction on the distance any snowmobile may 
travel within a park in a day, a limitation on the hours of use of such 
snowmobiles, a restriction on use of snowmobiles to certain authorized 
routes, technical or mechanical changes to snowmobiles (e.g., better 
mufflers) that would be required to enable their use in the parks, or 
use fees or other market-based

[[Page 79029]]

regulatory mechanisms--that could both accomplish the objectives and 
fulfill the requirements of the laws, executive orders, and regulations 
applying to snowmobile use in these parks and minimize any possible 
adverse economic impact of the proposed regulation on small businesses. 
Finally, we solicit comments on whether the schedule of changes in the 
proposed regulation should be changed, either (1) to implement one year 
sooner, in the winter of 2002-2003, the regulations identified in the 
proposal as taking effect in the winter of 2003-2004, thereby 
eliminating the impacts from snowmobile use sooner; or (2) to implement 
those regulations one year later, in the winter of 2004-2005, thereby 
reducing any possible adverse economic impact on small businesses.

Compliance with Other Laws

Regulatory Planning and Review

    This document is a significant rule and has been reviewed by the 
Office of Management and Budget under Executive Order 12866.
    (1)This rule will not have an effect of $100 million or more on the 
economy. It will not adversely affect in a material way the economy, 
productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or 
safety, or State, local, or tribal governments or communities.
    From the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), estimated 
economic output and employment impacts of implementing actions under 
this rule are: In the five-county, greater Yellowstone area, an 
estimated loss of 14.4 to 19.2 million dollars; in the three-state area 
surrounding the parks, a variance of a possible 17.7 million dollar 
loss to a 7.0 million dollar increase. Increased winter visitation from 
current summer visitors to the park under this management option could 
substantially offset the estimated losses and employment reductions 
from current winter visitors.
    (2) This rule will not create a serious inconsistency or otherwise 
interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency.
    Implementing actions under this rule will not interfere with wither 
agencies or local government plans, policies, or controls. This is an 
agency specific change.
    (3) This rule does not alter the budgetary effects or entitlements, 
grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights or obligations of 
their recipients.
    This rule will only address the recreational use of over-snow 
machines within specific national parks. No grants or other forms of 
monetary supplement are involved.
    (4) This rule may raise novel legal or policy issues.
    The issue of the prohibition of snowmobile use has generated local 
as well as national interest on the subject in the greater Yellowstone 
area. Subsequently, tens of thousands of public comments have been 
received and analyzed in the development of the supporting FEIS and 
Winter Use Management Plan.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Department of the Interior certifies that this document will 
not have a significant economic effect on a substantial number of small 
entities under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.)
    Though the ultimate prohibition of recreational snowmobiles use in 
these three parks in this rule may initially cause a loss of income to 
local communities around the parks, the NPS is undertaking several 
significant steps to mitigate the economic impacts.
    First, elimination of snowmobiles from most of the areas in the 
three parks will be phased over four winter seasons. The gradual 
elimination of this type of recreational activity will allow a 
significant period of time for the small businesses in surrounding 
communities to adjust their mode of serving park visitors. An abrupt 
prohibition on snowmobiles from the three parks would have had a much 
more significant adverse effect on small businesses in these 
communities.
    Second, while snowmobile use in these parks will be curtailed, 
access will be provided by multi-passenger snowcoaches and the parks 
will remain open in winter to serve visitors. With elimination of the 
impacts of snowmobiles and replacement with snowcoaches, the winter 
capacity of the parks to accommodate visitors will actually increase, 
providing the potential for economic expansion in surrounding 
communities.
    Third, during the third winter of the phase-out schedule, 
snowmobile use in Yellowstone National Park will require group travel 
with a certified and trained commercial guide. This guided trip 
requirement will offer an additional employment opportunity for private 
individuals and small businesses in the surrounding communities.
    Fourth, snowcoach access to the parks will require a concession 
permit from the NPS. These permits will be awarded to numerous small 
businesses in the surrounding communities. To make this initial 
business opportunity a smooth transition, NPS has authority to offer 
temporary commercial use permits for up to three years without regard 
to competition or numerical limitations (except for keeping the total 
number of permits below a level that would cause adverse impacts to 
park resources). NPS will utilize its discretion under this authority 
to support existing businesses in the surrounding communities during 
this initial period of years. As a consequence, these existing 
businesses will experience a shift in their business activity, not 
elimination of it.
    Finally, NPS recognizes that significant changes in visitor use 
patterns often cause confusion and misinformation among the general 
public and potential visitors. Therefore, NPS will join with the 
affected states' travel and tourism offices and their counterparts in 
the five surrounding counties, as well as the various destination 
marketing organizations and the state and national levels, to market 
winter visitation to Yellowstone and Grand Teton without snowmobiles. 
NPS has committed $100,000 of its FY 2001 funding for this purpose.
    We solicit comments on the potential impacts that this rule may 
have on small entities. We welcome comments with information regarding 
the number and type of entities impacted, the specific costs that may 
be imposed by this rule on small entities, and whether and why these 
impacts may be considered significant.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA)

    This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the Small 
Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. This rule:
    a. Does not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or 
more. From the FEIS, estimated economic loss and employment impacts of 
implementing actions under this rule are: In the five-county, greater 
Yellowstone area, an estimated loss of 14.4 to 19.2 million dollars; in 
the three state area surrounding the parks, a possible loss of 17.7 
million dollars to a possible increase of 7.0 million dollars. 
Increased winter visitation from current summer visitors to the park 
under this management option could substantially offset the estimated 
loss and employment reductions from current winter visitors.
    b. Will not cause a major increase in costs or prices for 
consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, or local government 
agencies, or geographic regions.
    The potential loss of revenue from snowmobile users will likely be 
offset by visitors using mass transit methods

[[Page 79030]]

of visiting the park. Additionally, the summer visitation to the region 
would continue to exist and wouldn't likely cause the local business to 
need to raise prices to maintain an income.
    c. Does not have significant adverse effects on competition, 
employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of 
U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises.
    This rulemaking has no effect on methods of manufacturing or 
production and specifically effects the Wyoming region, not national or 
U.S. based enterprises.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    This rule does not impose an unfunded mandate on State, local, or 
tribal governments or the private sector of more than $100 million per 
year. The rule does not have a significant or unique effect on State, 
local or tribal governments or the private sector.
    This rule addresses public access issues and management of 
resources within the agency. It imposes no other requirements on other 
agencies or governments. Mandates only exist if visitors or 
concessioners desire to operate oversnow vehicles within the park.

Takings (E.O. 12630)

    In accordance with Executive Order 12630, the rule does not have 
significant takings implications.
    This rule proposes to abolish routes designated for snowmobile use 
in NPS regulations. Private property within the boundaries of those 
parks will still be afforded access during the winter use season. No 
other property is affected.

Federalism (E.O. 13132)

    In accordance with Executive Order 13132, the rule does not have 
sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a 
Federalism Assessment.
    This proposed rule effects use by the public of NPS administered 
lands. It has no outside effects on other areas and only addresses a 
portion of the use within the parks.

Civil Justice Reform (E.O. 12988)

    In accordance with Executive Order 12988, the Office of the 
Solicitor has determined that this rule does not unduly burden the 
judicial system and meets the requirements of sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) 
of the Order.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This regulation does not require an information collection from 10 
or more parties and a submission under the Paperwork Reduction Act is 
not required. An OMB for 83-I is not required.

National Environmental Policy Act

    This rule constitutes a major Federal action significantly 
affecting the quality of the human environment.
    An Environmental Impact Statement has been completed and a Record 
of Decision issued to support that statement. A copy of the EIS is 
available by contacting the Superintendent of Yellowstone or Grand 
Teton National Parks.

Government-to-Government Relationship With Tribes

    In accordance with the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994, 
``Government to Government Relations with Native American Tribal 
Governments'' (59 FR 22951) and 512 DM 2:
    We have evaluated potential effects on federally recognized Indian 
tribes and have determined that there are no potential effects.
    Numerous tribes surrounding the greater Yellowstone area were 
consulted in the development of the Winter Use Plan and FEIS. The chief 
concerns expressed by the tribes were the affects on wildlife by 
snowmobiles. This rule serves to address those concerns (to a degree) 
but has no effect on tribal lands or trusts.

Clarity of Rule

    Executive Order 12866 requires each agency to write regulations 
that are easy to understand. We invite your comments on how to make 
this rule easier to understand, including answers to questions such as 
the following: (1) Are the requirements in the rule clearly stated? (2) 
Does the rule contain technical language or jargon that interferes with 
its clarity? (3) Does the format of the rule (grouping and order of 
sections, use of headings, paragraphing, etc.) aid or reduce its 
clarity? (4) Would the rule be easier to read if it were divided into 
more (but shorter) sections? (A ``section appears in bold type and is 
precede by the symbol ``Sec. '' and a numbered heading; for example 
Sec. 7.13 Yellowstone National Park [amended].) (5) Is the description 
of the rule in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of the preamble 
helpful in understanding the proposed rule? What else could we do to 
make the rule easier to understand?
    Send a copy of any comments that concern how we could make this 
rule easier to understand to: Office of Regulatory Affairs, Department 
of the Interior, Room 7229, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20240. You 
may also e-mail the comments to this address: Exsec@ios.doi.gov.

Public Participation

    If you wish to comment, you may submit your comments by any one of 
several methods. You may mail comments to the National Park Service, 
Ranger Activities Division, 1849 C Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20240. 
You may also comment via the Internet to WASO_Regulations@nps.gov. 
Please submit Internet comments as an ASCII file avoiding the use of 
special characters and any form of encryption. Please also include 
``Attn: 1024-AC82'' in the subject line and your name and return 
address in the body of your Internet message. Finally, you may hand 
deliver comments to Kym Hall, Regulations Program Manager, National 
Park Service, 1849 C Street, N.W., Room 7413, Washington, DC. Our 
practice is to make comments, including names and addresses of 
respondents, available for public review during regular business hours. 
Individual respondents may request that we withhold their home address 
from the rulemaking record, which we will honor to the extent allowable 
by law. If you wish us to withhold your name and/or address, you must 
state this prominently at the beginning of your comment. However, we 
will not consider anonymous comments. We will make all submissions from 
organization or businesses, and from individual identifying themselves 
as representatives or officials of organization or businesses, 
available for public inspection in their entirety.

Drafting Information

    The principle contributors to this proposed rule are Stephen C. 
Saunders, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish and 
Wildlife and Parks; T. Destry Jarvis, Senior Advisor to the Assistant 
Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks; Karen S. Kovacs, Senior 
Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks; 
Michael Tiernan, Attorney-Advisor, Solicitor's Office; Debra Hecox, 
Attorney-Advisory, Solicitor's Office; Kym A. Hall, NPS Regulations 
Program Manager; Sarah Creachbaum, Outdoor Recreation Planner, Grand 
Teton National Park; Bob Rossman, Outdoor Recreation Planner, Grand 
Teton National Park; and John Sacklin, Supervisory Planner, Yellowstone 
National Park.

List of Subjects in 36 CFR Part 7

    District of Columbia, National parks, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements.
    We propose to amend 36 CFR Part 7 as set forth below:

[[Page 79031]]

PART 7--SPECIAL REGULATIONS, AREAS OF THE NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM

    1. The authority for Part 7 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1, 3, 9a, 460(q) 462(k); Sec. 7.96 also 
issued under D.C. Code 8-137 (1981) and D.C. Code 40-721 (1981).


Sec. 7.13  Yellowstone National Park.

    2. Paragraph (l) of Sec. 7.13 is revised to read as follows:
* * * * *
    (l)(1) May I operate a snowmobile in Yellowstone National Park? You 
may operate a snowmobile in Yellowstone National Park in compliance 
with the public use limits and operating conditions established in this 
regulation during the winter use seasons of 2001-2002 and 2002-2003. 
Effective November 15, 2003, snowmobile use in Yellowstone National 
Park is prohibited, except for essential administrative use and in 
emergency situations as determined by the Superintendent.
    (2) What is a winter use season? A winter use season is that 
portion of the winter months that begins each year in approximately 
late November, through the following year ending in approximately the 
middle of March. Specific dates are dependent on weather conditions and 
the availability of NPS facilities and resources and may be adjusted at 
the discretion of the Superintendent. Appropriate notice will be given 
to the public of determined start and ending dates each season.
    (3) When snowmobile use is authorized, where may I operate my 
snowmobile? You may operate your snowmobile upon designated routes 
established within the park. On designated routes, snowmobile use is 
limited to the unplowed roadway, which is distinguished as that portion 
of the roadway located between the road shoulders and is designated by 
snow poles or other poles, ropes, fencing, or signs erected to regulate 
snowmobile activity. The unplowed roadway may also be distinguished by 
the interior boundaries of the berm created by the packing and grooming 
of the unplowed roadway. Snowmobiles may also be operated in pullouts 
or parking areas that are groomed or marked similarly to roadways.
    (4) What routes are designated for snowmobile use in the park? 
During the winter use seasons of 2001-2002 and 2002-2003, the following 
routes may be designated for snowmobile use:
    (i) The Grand Loop Road from its junction with Terrace Springs 
Drive to Norris Junction.
    (ii) Norris Junction to Canyon Junction.
    (iii)The Grand Loop Road from Norris Junction to Madison Junction.
    (iv) The West Entrance Road from the park boundary at West 
Yellowstone to Madison Junction.
    (v) The Grand Loop Road from Madison Junction to West Thumb.
    (vi) The South Entrance Road from the South Entrance to West Thumb.
    (vii)The Grand Loop Road from West Thumb to its junction with the 
East Entrance Road.
    (viii) The East Entrance Road from the East Entrance to its 
junction with the Grand Loop Road.
    (ix) The Grand Loop Road from its junction with the East Entrance 
Road to Canyon Junction.
    (x) The South Canyon Rim Drive.
    (xi) Any groomed or marked pullouts or parking areas along each of 
these routes.
    (xii) In the developed areas of Madison Junction, Old Faithful, 
Grant Village, Lake, Fishing Bridge, Canyon, Indian Creek, and Norris, 
snowmobile routes to scenic points of interest, lodging, and other 
facilities will be designated by appropriate snow poles and signs and 
will be limited to the unplowed roadways in those areas.
    (xiii) The Superintendent may open or close these routes after 
taking into consideration the location of wintering wildlife, 
appropriate snow cover, and other factors that may relate to public 
safety.
    (xiv) Maps detailing the designated routes will be available from 
Park Headquarters.
    (5) What criteria may the Superintendent use to determine the 
routes within the developed areas mentioned in paragraph (l)(4)(xii)? 
The Superintendent may use a variety of criteria to determine use 
routes within the developed areas of Madison Junction, Old Faithful, 
Grant Village, Lake, Fishing Bridge, Canyon, Indian Creek and Norris 
including the most direct route of access, weather and snow conditions, 
and those routes necessary to eliminate congestion and improve the 
circulation of the visitor use patterns in the interest of public 
safety.
    (6) What limits are established for the numbers of snowmobiles 
permitted to use the park each day? (i) For the winter use season of 
2001-2002, the numbers of snowmobiles allowed to use the park each day 
are listed in the table below.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                              Number of
                Park entrance gate or area                  snowmobiles*
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                             Yellowstone NP
------------------------------------------------------------------------
North entrance............................................            60
West entrance.............................................          1030
East entrance.............................................           100
South entrance............................................          330
------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Maximum daily allowed per gate.

    (ii) For the winter use season 2002-2003, the numbers of 
snowmobiles allowed to use the park each day are listed in the table 
below.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                              Number of
                 Park entrance gate or area                  snowmobiles
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                             Yellowstone NP
------------------------------------------------------------------------
North entrance.............................................           60
West entrance..............................................          278
East entrance..............................................           65
South entrance.............................................          90
------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Maximum daily allowed per gate.

    (7) May I operate a snowcoach in Yellowstone National Park? 
Snowcoaches may be operated in Yellowstone National Park under a 
Concessions Contract or Permit authorized by the Superintendent. 
Snowcoach operation is subject to the conditions of the permit and all 
other conditions identified in this section.
    (8) What is a snowcoach? A snowcoach is a self-propelled mass 
transit vehicle intended for travel on snow, having a curb weight of 
over 1000 pounds (450 kilograms), driven by a track or tracks and 
steered by skis or tracks, having a capacity of at least 8 passengers.
    (9) What routes are designated for snowcoach use? Snowcoaches may 
operate on the same routes designated for snowmobile use in paragraph 
(l)(4) of this section and the following designated routes:

(i) Firehold Canyon Drive.
(ii) Fountain Flat Road.
(iii) Virginia Cascades Drive.
(iv) North Canyon Rim Drive.
(v) Riverside Drive.
(vi) Lake Butte Overlook Drive.
(vii) The portion of the Grand Loop Road from Canyon Junction to 
Washburn Hot Springs Overlook.

    (10) What other conditions are placed on snowmobile and snowcoach 
operations? Snowmobiles and snowcoaches may be operated in the park 
under the following conditions:
    (i) Snowmobiles and snowcoaches may not be operated in the park 
between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. except by authorization.
    (ii) Idling a snowmobile or snowcoach is limited to 10 minutes at 
any one time.
    (iii) Snowmobiles or snowcoaches that stop on designated routes 
must pull

[[Page 79032]]

over to the far right next to the snow berm. Stopping the vehicle in a 
hazardous location, or where the view of the vehicle might be obscured, 
such as on a curve, is prohibited. Pullouts must be utilized when 
available and accessible.
    (iv) Snowmobiles and snowcoaches must be properly registered and 
display a valid state registration sticker.
    (v) Snowmobile operators must possess a valid state motor vehicle 
operator's license or learner's permit. The license or permit must be 
carried on the operator's person at all times.
    (vi) Persons operating a snowmobile while possessing a learner's 
permit must be accompanied and supervised within line of sight, but no 
further than 100 yards, by a responsible person 21 years of age or 
older possessing a valid state motor vehicle operator's license.
    (vii) Allowing or permitting an unlicensed driver to operate a 
snowmobile is prohibited.
    (viii) During the winter use season of 2002-2003, snowmobiles must 
be accompanied by an NPS permitted guide and may not travel in groups 
of more than 11 snowmobiles.
    (11) May I operate a snowplane in the park? No, the operation of 
snowplanes in Yellowstone National Park is prohibited.
    (12) What is a snowplane? A snowplane is a self-propelled vehicle 
intended for over-the-snow travel and driven by a pusher-propeller.
    (13) Are there any other forms of over-snow transportation allowed 
in the park? No other forms of motorized over-snow transportation are 
permitted for use in the park unless specifically approved by the 
Superintendent and are consistent with the requirements of the Winter 
Use Plan and the applicable Executive Orders.
* * * * *


Sec. 7.21  John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Memorial Parkway.

    3. Paragraph (a) of Sec. 7.21 is revised to read as follows:
    (a)(1) May I operate a snowmobile in the Parkway? You may operate a 
snowmobile in the Parkway in compliance within the public use limits 
and operating conditions established in this regulation during the 
winter use seasons of 2001-2002 and 2002-2003. Effective November 15, 
2003, snowmobile use in the Parkway is prohibited except for essential 
administrative use and in emergency situations as determined by the 
Superintendent.
    (2) What is a winter use season? A winter use season is that 
portion of the winter months that begins each year in approximately 
late November through the following year ending in approximately the 
middle of March. Dates are dependent on weather conditions and the 
availability of NPS facilities and resources and may be adjusted at the 
discretion of the Superintendent. Appropriate notice will be given to 
the public of determined start and ending dates each season.
    (3) What routes are designated for snowmobile use in the Parkway? 
During the winter use seasons of 2001-2002 and 2002-2003, the following 
routes may be designated for snowmobile use:
    (i) The Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail (CDST) along U.S. 
Highway 89/287 from the southern boundary of the Parkway to Flagg 
Ranch.
    (ii) Along U.S. Highway 89/287 from Flagg Ranch to the northern 
boundary of the Parkway.
    (iii) Grassy Lake Road from Flagg Ranch to the western boundary of 
the Parkway.
    (iv) The Superintendent may open or close these routes after taking 
into consideration the location of wintering wildlife, appropriate snow 
cover, and other factors that may relate to public safety.
    (v) Maps detailing the designated routes will be available from 
Park Headquarters.
    (4) What limits are established for the numbers of snowmobiles 
permitted to use the Parkway each day? (i) For the winter use season of 
2001-2002, the numbers of snowmobiles allowed to use the Parkway each 
day are listed in the table below.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                              Number of
                Park entrance gate or area                  snowmobiles*
------------------------------------------------------------------------
               John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Memorial Parkway
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail (along U.S. 89/287)               70
 from the southern boundary of the Parkway to Flagg Ranch.
(Along U.S. 89/287) Flagg Ranch to northern boundary of              330
 Parkway..................................................
Grassy Lake Road..........................................           40
------------------------------------------------------------------------
*Maximum daily allowed per gate.

    (ii) For the winter use season 2002-2003, the numbers of 
snowmobiles allowed to use the Parkway each day are listed in the table 
below.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                              Number of
                Park entrance gate or area                  snowmobiles*
------------------------------------------------------------------------
               John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Memorial Parkway
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail (along U.S. 89/287)               25
 from the southern boundary of the JDR Parkway to Flagg
 Ranch....................................................
(Along U.S. 89/287) Flagg Ranch to northern boundary of               90
 Parkway..................................................
Grassy Lake Road..........................................           25
------------------------------------------------------------------------
*Maximum daily allowed per gate.

    (5) May I operate a snowcoach in the Parkway? Snowcoaches may be 
operated in the Parkway under a Concessions Contract or Permit 
authorized by the Superintendent. Snowcoach operation is subject to the 
conditions of the permit and all other conditions identified in this 
section.
    (6) What is a snowcoach? A snowcoach is a self-propelled mass 
transit vehicle intended for travel on snow, having a curb weight of 
over 1000 pounds (450 kilograms), driven by a track or tracks and 
steered by skis or tracks, having a capacity of at least 8 passengers.
    (7) What routes are designated for snowcoach use? Snowcoaches may 
operate on the routes designated for snowmobile use in paragraph 
(a)(3)(ii) and (iii) of this section.
    (8) What other conditions are placed on snowmobile and snowcoach 
operations? Snowmobiles and snowcoaches may be operated under the 
following conditions:
    (i) Snowmobiles or snowcoaches may not be operated in the Parkway 
between the hours of 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. except by authorization.
    (ii) Snowmobiles or snowcoaches that stop on designated routes must 
pull over to the far right next to the snow berm. Stopping the vehicle 
in a hazardous location, or where the view of the vehicle might be 
obscured, such as on a curve, is prohibited. Pullouts must be utilized 
when available and accessible.
    (iii) Snowmobiles and snowcoaches must be properly registered and 
display a valid state registration sticker.
    (iv) Snowmobile operators must possess a valid state motor vehicle 
operator's license or learner's permit. The license or permit must be 
carried on the operator's person at all times.
    (v) Persons operating a snowmobile while possessing a learner's 
permit must be accompanied and supervised within line of sight, but no 
further than 100 yards, by a responsible person 21 years

[[Page 79033]]

of age or older possessing a valid state motor vehicle operator's 
license.
    (vi) Allowing or permitting an unlicensed driver to operate a 
snowmobile is prohibited.
    (vii) During the winter use season of 2002-2003, the Superintendent 
may determine that snowmobiles be required to be accompanied by an NPS 
permitted guide or to travel in groups of not more than 11 snowmobiles.
    (9) May I operate a snowplane in the Parkway? No, the operation of 
snowplanes in the Parkway is prohibited.
    (10) What is a snowplane? A snowplane is a self-propelled vehicle 
intended for over-the-snow travel and driven by a pusher-propeller.
    (11) Are there any other forms of over-snow transportation allowed 
in the Parkway? No other forms of motorized over-snow transportation 
are permitted for use in the Parkway unless specifically approved by 
the Superintendent and are consistent with the requirements of the 
Winter Use Plan and the applicable Executive Orders.
    4. Revise paragraph (g) of Sec. 7.22 to read as follows:


Sec. 7.22  Grand Teton National Park.

* * * * *
    (g)(1) May I operate a snowmobile in Grand Teton National Park? You 
may operate a snowmobile in Grand Teton National Park in compliance 
with the public use limits and operating standards established by the 
Superintendent during the winter use seasons of 2001-2002 and 2002-
2003. Effective the winter use season of 2003-2004, snowmobile use will 
be restricted to the routes and purposes in paragraph (g)(8), (g)(9), 
(g)(10) and (g)(11) of this section. All other snowmobile use is 
prohibited, except for essential administrative use and in emergency 
situations as determined by the Superintendent.
    (2) What is a winter use season? A winter use season is that 
portion of the winter months that begins each year in approximately 
late November, through the following year ending in approximately the 
middle of March. Specific dates are dependent on weather conditions and 
the availability of park facilities and resources and may be adjusted 
at the discretion of the Superintendent. Appropriate notice will be 
given to the public of determined start and ending dates each season.
    (3) What routes are designated for snowmobile use in the park? For 
the winter use season of 2001-2002, the following routes may be 
designated for snowmobile use:
    (i) Teton Park Road from Taggert Lake Trailhead to Signal Mountain 
Lodge. Additional side routes open from this route include the Signal 
Mountain Road to the summit of Signal Mountain, the access road to 
String and Jenny Lakes and the scenic route to Jenny Lake's east side, 
and the gravel surface road to Spalding Bay at the south end of Jackson 
Lake.
    (ii) Moose-Wilson Road from the Granite Canyon Trailhead to the JY 
Ranch entrance.
    (iii) The unpaved road paralleling the eastern park boundary from 
the Shadow Mountain access to Cunningham Cabin, and the access road 
from U.S. 26/89 near the Snake River Overlook east to the unpaved road.
    (iv) The Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail (CDST) along U.S. 26/
287 from Moran to the eastern park boundary, and along U.S. 89/287 from 
Moran to the north boundary of the park including the side route from 
Jackson Lake Junction to Signal Mountain Lodge.
    (v) The frozen surface of Jackson Lake.
    (vi) Any groomed or marked pullouts or parking areas along each of 
these routes.
    (vii) The Superintendent may open or close these routes after 
taking into consideration the location of wintering wildlife, 
appropriate snow cover, and other factors that may relate to public 
safety.
    (viii) Maps detailing designated routes will be available from Park 
Headquarters.
    For the winter use season of 2002-2003, the following route may be 
designated for snowmobile use:
    (ix) The CDST along U.S. 26/287 from Moran to the eastern park 
boundary and along U.S. 89/287 from Moran to the north park boundary.
    (4) What limits are established for the numbers of snowmobiles 
permitted to use the park each day? (i) For the winter use season 2001-
2002, the numbers of snowmobiles allowed to use the park each day are 
listed in the tables below.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                              Number of
                Park entrance gate or area                  snowmobiles*
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                             Grand Teton NP
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Teton Park Road...........................................            20
Moose Wilson Road.........................................            10
Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail from the east park                70
 boundary (along U.S. 26/287) to northern park boundary
 (along U.S. 89/287)......................................
Jackson Lake..............................................           30
------------------------------------------------------------------------
*Maximum daily allowed per gate.

    (ii) For the winter use season 2002-2003, the numbers of 
snowmobiles allowed to use the park each day are listed in the table 
below.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                              Number of
                Park entrance gate or area                  snowmobiles*
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                             Grand Teton NP
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail from east park                   25
 boundary (along U.S. 26/287) to northern park boundary
 (along U.S. 89/287)......................................
------------------------------------------------------------------------
*Maximum daily allowed per gate.

    (5) What other conditions are placed on snowmobile operations? 
Snowmobiles may be operated in the park under the following conditions:
    (i) Snowmobiles may not operate in the park between the hours of 
9:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. except by authorization.
    (ii) Snowmobiles that stop on designated routes must pull over to 
the far right next to the snow berm. Stopping the vehicle in a 
hazardous location, or where the view of the vehicle might be obscured, 
such as on a curve, is prohibited. Pullouts must be utilized when 
available and accessible.
    (iii) Snowmobiles must be properly registered and display a valid 
state registration sticker.
    (iv) Snowmobile operators must possess a valid state motor vehicle 
operator's license or learner's permit. The license or permit must be 
carried on the operator's person at all times. Snowmobile operators are 
not required to possess a valid drivers license while operating on the 
public access routes designated in paragraph (g)(8) and the private 
property access routes designated in paragraph (g)(10) of this section.
    (v) Persons operating a snowmobile while possessing a learner's 
permit must be accompanied and supervised within line of sight, but no 
farther than 100 yards, by a responsible person 21 years of age or 
older possessing a valid state motor vehicles operator's license.
    (vi) Allowing or permitting an unlicensed driver to operate a 
snowmobile is prohibited.
    (vii) During the winter use season of 2002-2003, the Superintendent 
may require that snowmobiles be accompanied by an NPS permitted guide 
and must travel in groups of not more than 11 snowmobiles.
    (6) May I operate a snowplane in the park? If you had a permit to 
operate snowplane on Jackson Lake during the winter use season 2000-
2001, you may obtain a permit to operate a snowplane on Jackson Lake 
during the winter use

[[Page 79034]]

season of 2001-2002. Beginning the winter use season 2002-2003, 
snowplane use in Grand Teton National Park is prohibited.
    (7) What is a snowplane? A snowplane is a self-propelled vehicle 
intended for over-the-snow travel and driven by a pusher-propeller.
    (8) May I continue to access public lands via snowmobile through 
the park? Yes, reasonable and direct access via snowmobile to adjacent 
public lands will continue to be permitted on designated routes through 
Grand Teton National Park. The following routes are designated for 
access via snowmobile to public lands:
    (i) From the parking area at Shadow Mountain directly along the 
unplowed portion of the road to the east park boundary.
    (ii) Along the unplowed portion of the Ditch Creek Road directly to 
the east park boundary.
    (iii) From the Cunningham Cabin pullout on U.S. 26/89 near Triangle 
X to the east park boundary.
    (9) For what purpose may I use the routes designated in paragraph 
(g)(8)? You may use those routes designated in paragraph (g)(8) of this 
section to gain direct access to public lands adjacent to the park 
boundary.
    (10) May I continue to access private property within or adjacent 
to the park via snowmobile? Yes, reasonable and direct access via 
snowmobile to private property will continue to be permitted via 
designated routes in Grand Teton National Park. The following routes 
are designated for access to private property within or adjacent to the 
park:
    (i) The unplowed portion of Antelope Flats Road off U.S. 26/89 to 
private lands in the Craighead Subdivision.
    (ii) The unplowed portion of the Teton Park Road to that piece of 
land commonly referred to as the ``Clark Property''.
    (iii) From the Moose-Wilson Road to the land commonly referred to 
as the ``Barker Property'' until the Department of the Interior takes 
full possession of that land.
    (iv) From the Moose-Wilson Road to the land commonly referred to as 
the ``Wittimer Property'' until the Department of the Interior takes 
full possession of that land.
    (v) From the Moose-Wilson Road to those two pieces of land commonly 
referred to as the ``Halpin Properties''.
    (vi) From either end of the plowed sections of the Moose-Wilson 
Road to that piece of land commonly referred to as the ``JY Ranch''.
    (vii) From Highway 26/89/187 to those lands commonly referred to as 
the ``Meadows'', the ``Circle EW Ranch'', the ``Moulton Property'', the 
``Levinson Property'' and the ``West Property''.
    (viii) From Cunningham Cabin pullout on U.S. 26/89 near Triangle X 
the piece of land commonly referred to as the ``Lost Creek Ranch''.
    (ix) Maps detailing designated routes will be available from Park 
Headquarters.
    (11) For what purpose may I use the routes designated in paragraph 
(g)(10)? Those routes designated in paragraph (g)(10) of this section 
are to access private property within or directly adjacent to the park 
boundary. Use of these roads via snowmobile is authorized only for the 
landowner or their representatives or guests. Recreational use of these 
roads by anyone is prohibited.
    (12) Are there any forms of over-snow transportation allowed in the 
park? No other forms of motorized over-snow transportation are 
permitted for use in the park unless specifically approved by the 
Superintendent and are consistent with the requirements of the Winter 
Use Plan and the applicable Executive Orders.

    Dated: December 13, 2000.
Stephen C. Saunders,
Acting Assistant Secretary, Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 00-32144 Filed 12-15-00; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-70-P