[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 128 (Tuesday, July 5, 2011)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 39048-39062]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-16786]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

National Park Service

36 CFR Part 7

RIN 1024-AD92


Special Regulations; Areas of the National Park System, 
Yellowstone National Park

AGENCY: National Park Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: The National Park Service (NPS) is proposing this rule to 
establish a management framework that allows the public to experience 
the unique winter resources and values at Yellowstone National Park. 
The proposed rule would provide a variety of use levels and experiences 
for visitors by establishing maximum numbers of snowmobiles and 
snowcoaches permitted in the park on a given day. It also would require 
that most snowmobiles and snowcoaches operating in the park meet air 
and sound requirements and be accompanied or operated by a commercial 
guide.

DATES: Comments must be received by September 6, 2011.

ADDRESSES: You may submit your comments, identified by Regulation 
Identifier Number (RIN) 1024-AD92, by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     Mail: Yellowstone National Park, Winter Use Proposed Rule, 
P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone NP, WY 82190
     Hand Deliver to: Management Assistant's Office, 
Headquarters Building, Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park, 
Wyoming.
    All submissions received must include the agency name and RIN. For 
additional information see ``Public Participation'' under SUPPLEMENTARY 
INFORMATION below.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Wade Vagias, Management Assistant's 
Office, Headquarters Building, Yellowstone National Park, 307-344-2019 
or at the address listed in the ADDRESSES section.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The NPS has been managing winter use in Yellowstone National Park 
for several decades. A detailed history of the winter use issue, past 
planning efforts, and litigation is provided in the background section 
of the 2011 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). The park has 
most recently operated under the 2009 interim plan, which was in effect 
for the past two winter seasons and expired by its own terms on March 
15, 2011. With publication of this proposed rule, and the DEIS, the NPS 
is soliciting public comment on a long-term direction for winter use in 
Yellowstone National Park.
    Additional information, including the DEIS, is available online at: 
http://www.nps.gov/yell/parkmgmt/participate.htm.

Park Resource Issues

    The DEIS analyzes the issues and environmental impacts of seven 
alternatives for the management of winter use in the park. Major issues 
analyzed in the DEIS include social and economic issues, human health 
and safety, wildlife, air quality, natural soundscapes, visitor use and 
experience, and visitor accessibility. Impacts associated with each of 
the alternatives are detailed in the DEIS, which is available at the 
following site: http://parkplanning.nps.gov.

Description of the Proposed Rule

    Snowmobile and snowcoach use at Yellowstone National Park is 
referred to as oversnow vehicle (OSV) use. The proposed regulations are 
similar in many respects to plans and rules that have been in effect 
for the last six winter seasons. Thus, many of the regulations 
regarding operating conditions, designated routes, and restricted hours 
of operation have been enforced by the NPS for several years. One 
notable difference, however, is a new proposal in this rule to provide 
a variety of use levels and experiences for visitors by establishing 
varying maximum numbers of OSVs permitted in the park for different 
days throughout the winter season. This would be accomplished by 
implementing different use levels for OSV use that would vary day-by-
day, on a pre-set annual schedule, rather than being fixed for the 
entire winter season. Authorized snowmobile use would

[[Page 39049]]

range from 110 to 330 vehicles per day while snowcoach use would range 
from 30 to 80 vehicles per day. The varying use levels would provide 
for high and low OSV use days, allowing for a variety of motorized and 
non-motorized visitor experiences throughout the winter season. 
Accordingly, certain segments of the park's snow roads would be closed 
to visitor OSV use and would be available for skiing and snowshoeing 
during certain times of the season.
    A one-season transition period to prepare for the implementation of 
the new winter use plan would be in place for the 2011-2012 winter 
season. During this transition period, provisions of the 2009 interim 
plan would be re-instituted, allowing for up to 318 snowmobiles and 38 
snowcoaches per day for the first year of the new plan only.

Monitoring

    As part of the park's adaptive management program for winter use, 
scientific studies and monitoring of winter visitor use and park 
resources would continue under this proposal. Selected areas of the 
park, including sections of roads, would be closed to visitor use if 
the studies and monitoring indicate that human presence or activities 
have a substantial effect on wildlife or other park resources that 
cannot be mitigated. The NPS would provide a one-year notice before any 
such closure would be implemented, unless an immediate closure is 
necessary. The Superintendent would continue to have the authority 
under either this regulation or 36 CFR 1.5 to take emergency actions to 
protect park resources or values.

Air Emission Requirements

Snowmobiles

    The proposed rule retains the requirement from previous winter use 
plans that all recreational snowmobiles comply with air emissions 
restrictions. The emission requirements for snowmobiles (and the 
implementation of those requirements for snowcoaches) would ensure air 
pollution levels remain low in the park in the winter, as evidenced by 
the past seven years of air quality monitoring that has indicated very 
good air quality.
    During the late 1990s, when an average of 795 snowmobiles entered 
the park each day, high levels of carbon monoxide (CO), particulate 
matter (PM), and hydrocarbons (HC) were detected. To mitigate these 
emissions, the NPS implemented snowmobile air emission requirements 
beginning in 2004 that called for emission levels no greater than 120 
grams per kilowatt hour (g/kW-hr) of CO and 15 g/kW-hr for HC. The NPS 
proposes to continue these emission requirements.
    The requirements in place since 2004 have significantly reduced CO, 
PM, and HC emissions. As compared to EPA's baseline emissions 
assumptions for conventional two-stroke snowmobiles, NPS air emission 
requirements have achieved a 70% reduction in CO and a 90% reduction in 
HC. Improvements to air quality have also been assisted by daily use 
limits and commercial guiding (which helps assure use of NPS-certified 
snowmobiles and keeps idling to a minimum). Use of four-stroke 
snowmobiles to meet these emission requirements has resulted in a 
substantial reduction in CO and PM; however, an increase in nitrogen 
oxide (NOX) has been noted with this type of engine. NPS 
expects that implementation of air emission requirements for 
snowcoaches beginning in the winter of 2014-2015 will lead to a 
reduction in NOX inside the park, and will continue to 
monitor NOX. If no reduction in NOX levels is 
seen after implementation of air emission requirements for snowcoaches, 
NPS may act in the future to establish NOX emission limits 
for snowmobiles.
    The NPS will continue the requirement that all snowmobile 
manufacturers use the EPA-approved 5-mode test method and Family 
Emission Limit (FEL) procedure under 40 CFR parts 1051 and 1065 to 
certify that a snowmobile meets the NPS requirements. The FEL allows a 
single engine type to be certified for use in a number of different 
snowmobile models, or an engine ``family.'' Snowmobile manufacturers 
may demonstrate that snowmobiles meet NPS air-emissions requirements by 
submitting to the NPS a copy of their EPA application (which includes 
the engine's FEL) used to demonstrate compliance with EPA's snowmobile 
emission regulation. The NPS would accept the application and 
information from a manufacturer, while review and certification by EPA 
is pending, in support of NPS conditionally certifying a snowmobile as 
meeting NPS emission requirements. Should EPA certify the snowmobile at 
a level that would no longer meet NPS requirements, this snowmobile 
would no longer be considered to be NPS-compliant and its use in the 
park would be prohibited or phased out according to a schedule 
determined by the NPS.
    A snowmobile that has been modified from the manufactured design 
may increase emissions of HC and CO greater than the proposed emission 
restrictions and therefore would not be allowed to enter the park. It 
would be the responsibility of the end user and guide to ensure that a 
snowmobile complies with all applicable restrictions.
    Snowmobiles being operated on the Cave Falls road, which extends 
approximately one mile into the park from the adjacent national forest, 
would continue to be exempt from the air-emission requirements. The 
Cave Falls road does not connect to other park roads and snowmobile use 
of this road is independent of the other park oversnow routes.

Snowcoaches

    Under concessions contracts issued in 2003, 78 snowcoaches are 
authorized to operate in the park. Approximately 29 of these 
snowcoaches, referred to as ``historic snowcoaches'' in this rule, were 
manufactured by Bombardier before 1983 and designed specifically for 
oversnow travel. All other snowcoaches are passenger vans or light or 
medium buses that have been converted for oversnow travel using tracks 
and/or skis.
    During the first three years of this plan (through 2013-2014), 
historic snowcoaches would not be required to meet air emission 
requirements. However, all non-historic snowcoaches must meet the EPA 
air emissions standards in effect when the vehicle was manufactured. 
This would be implemented by ensuring that all emission-related exhaust 
components are installed and functioning properly. Malfunctioning 
emissions-related components must be replaced with the original 
equipment manufacturer (OEM) components where possible. If OEM parts 
are not available, aftermarket parts may be used. Catalysts that have 
exceeded their useful life must be replaced unless the operator can 
demonstrate that the catalyst is functioning properly. Operating a snow 
coach that has its original pollution control equipment modified or 
disabled would be prohibited. A snowcoach may be subject to periodic 
inspections to determine compliance with emission requirements.
    In 2004, EPA began phasing in new and cleaner emissions standards 
for light-duty vehicles, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty passenger 
vehicles and in 2008 for heavy duty spark and compression ignition 
vehicles (the vehicle classes most converted snowcoaches meet). These 
standards are called Tier 2 (for lighter-duty vehicles) or ``engine 
configuration certified'' (for heavier duty, diesel vehicles). 
Implementation of these standards was completed in 2010.

[[Page 39050]]

    As of the 2014-2015 winter, the proposed rule would require that 
all snowcoach engines meet EPA model year 2010 emission requirements, 
except that diesel-fueled snowcoaches with a gross vehicle weight 
rating (GVWR) of 8,500 pounds or more would need to comply with EPA 
model year 2010 ``engine configuration certified'' diesel air emission 
standards. Alternatively, and achieving better emission results, diesel 
snowcoaches with a GVWR between 8,500 and 10,000 pounds may meet the 
EPA light-duty Tier 2 standards. The NPS recognizes that some 
snowcoaches will likely need to be retrofitted in order to comply.
    In February 2005 and 2006, the University of Denver collected 
emissions data from various snowcoaches. Results indicated that 
snowcoaches could be modernized to reduce CO and HC emissions. These 
studies found that newer coaches are cleaner than older models and have 
emission controls that will function more of the time. By implementing 
an air emission requirement for snowcoaches that calls for newer engine 
and emission controls, the NPS expects continued improvements in the 
park's air quality.

Sound Emission Requirements

Snowmobiles

    Sound restrictions continue to require a snowmobile to operate at 
or below 73 decibels measured using the A scale (dB(A)) while at full 
throttle, according to Society of Automotive Engineers J192 test 
procedures (revised 1985) (SAE J192). Beginning with the 2014-2015 
winter season, the NPS would use the most current (as of November 2012) 
version of SAE J192 to determine compliance with this requirement.
    The NPS recognizes that the SAE updated these test procedures in 
2003; however, the changes between the 2003 and 1985 test procedures 
could alter the measurement results. The NPS sound emission requirement 
was initially established using 1985 test procedures (in addition to 
information provided by industry and modeling). Therefore, to be 
consistent with our requirements, we would continue to use the 1985 
test. The NPS also understands that an update to the 2003 J192 
procedures may be underway. This rule proposes to transition to the 
newer J192 test procedures for the 2014-2015 winter season. By 
specifying November 2012 for the revised procedure, the NPS and 
industry would have sufficient time to test snowmobiles that are in 
development and production well ahead of the 2014-2015 winter season. 
This rule also proposes that the NPS will periodically update testing 
to conform to future changes in SAE J192 standards and procedures.
    In past rules, the NPS has allowed a barometric pressure variance 
from SAE J192 procedures to determine if a snowmobile meets sound 
emission requirements. This is because the original testing occurred in 
Yellowstone at a barometric pressure lower than what is allowed under 
SAE J192. With the adoption of an updated SAE J192, the NPS believes it 
is the appropriate time to bring all aspects of testing into 
conformance with the SAE J192 procedures.
    For the first three winters of implementation of this rule (through 
2013-2014), snowmobiles may be tested at any barometric pressure equal 
to or above 23.4 inches Hg uncorrected (as measured at or near the test 
site). This exception to the SAE J192 test procedures maintains 
consistency with the testing conditions previously used to determine 
the sound emissions requirement. The reduced barometric pressure 
allowance was necessary since snowmobiles were tested at the high 
elevation of the park where atmospheric pressure is lower than the SAE 
J192's requirements. Testing data indicate that snowmobiles test 
quieter at higher elevations, and therefore may be able to pass this 
test at higher elevations but fail when tests are conducted near sea 
level. Beginning in 2014-2015, the NPS would require manufacturers to 
meet the requirements of the revised SAE J192 with no barometric 
pressure (high altitude) exception.
    For sound emissions, snowmobile manufacturers may submit their 
existing Snowmobile Safety and Certification Committee (SSCC) sound 
level certification form. Under the SSCC machine safety standards 
program, snowmobile models are certified by an independent testing 
company as complying with all SSCC safety standards, including sound 
standards. The proposed rule would not require the SSCC form 
specifically, as there could be other acceptable documentation in the 
future. The NPS intends to work cooperatively with the snowmobile 
manufacturers on appropriate documentation. Other test methods could be 
approved by NPS on a case-by-case basis.
    Individual snowmobiles that have been modified and therefore may 
increase sound emissions beyond the proposed emission restrictions 
would be denied entry to the park. It would be the responsibility of 
the end user and guide to ensure that their snowmobile complies with 
all applicable restrictions.
    The NPS requirement for sound was established by reviewing 
individual machine results from side-by-side testing performed by the 
NPS contractor, Harris Miller Miller & Hanson Inc. (HMMH) and the State 
of Wyoming's contractor, Jackson Hole Scientific Investigations (JHSI). 
Six four-stroke snowmobiles were tested for sound emissions. These 
emission reports independently concluded that all the snowmobiles 
tested between 69.6 and 77.0 dB(A) using the SAE J192 protocol. On 
average, the HMMH and JHSI studies measured four-strokes at 73.1 and 
72.8 dB(A) at full throttle, respectively. The SAE J192 test allows for 
a tolerance of 2 dB(A) over the sound limit to account for variations 
in weather, snow conditions, and other factors.
    Snowmobiles being operated on the Cave Falls road would continue to 
be exempt from the sound emission requirements.

Snowcoaches

    The NPS would require that new and retrofitted snowcoaches not 
exceed 73 dB(A) when measured by operating the coach at or near full 
throttle for the test cycle. The NPS would require the same parameters 
found in the current (as of November 2012) SAE J192 sound test, except 
that snowcoaches would be operated at a steady speed at or near full 
throttle. Due to their size and weight and the challenge of testing a 
snowcoach at lower barometric pressure, snowcoaches may be sound tested 
at higher elevations near and in the park, so long as the barometric 
pressure is at or above 23.4 inches Hg uncorrected (as measured at or 
near the test site).
    Both the updated snowmobile and new snowcoach sound emission 
requirements should reduce the impacts of oversnow vehicles on the 
park's soundscapes.

NPS Approved Snowmobiles and Snowcoaches

    The Superintendent would maintain and annually publish a list of 
approved snowmobiles by make, model, and year of manufacture that meet 
NPS requirements. For the winter of 2010-2011, the NPS certified 65 
different snowmobile models (from model years 2005-2011, and various 
manufacturers) as meeting the requirements. When certifying a new 
snowmobile as meeting NPS requirements, the NPS would also publish how 
long the certification applies. Generally, each snowmobile model 
certification would apply for six

[[Page 39051]]

consecutive winter seasons following its manufacture. Based on NPS 
experience, six years represents the typical useful life of a 
snowmobile, and thus provides a purchaser with a reasonable length of 
time when operation may be allowed within the park.
    The NPS would also maintain a list of approved snowcoaches that 
meet the air and sound emissions requirements for coaches. Since many 
snowcoaches are aftermarket adaptations of wheeled vehicles, the list 
would consist of the individual vehicles that have been approved for 
use. Once approved, a snowcoach may operate in the park for no more 
than 10 consecutive winter seasons. To continue to operate in the park, 
a snowcoach must then be retrofitted to meet evolving emission 
requirements and re-certified for sound. For example, a model year 2010 
snowcoach would cease to be allowed to operate in the park as of March 
15, 2020, if it is not retrofitted and re-tested. Because of the large 
investment in individual snowcoaches, the NPS believes that a longer 
duration for the certification period is appropriate, while maintaining 
park resource values.

Use of Commercial Guides

    To mitigate impacts to wildlife, air quality, natural soundscapes, 
and visitor and employee safety, the NPS is proposing to continue that 
all recreational OSVs operating in the park be accompanied by a 
commercial guide, except for those operating on the segment of the Cave 
Falls road that extends one mile into the park from the adjacent 
national forest. Since the winter of 2004-2005, all snowmobilers and 
snowcoaches have been led by commercial guides. Commercial guides are 
employed by local private businesses, not by the NPS. Commercial guides 
have proven effective at keeping groups adhering to speed limits, 
staying on the groomed road surfaces, reducing conflicts with wildlife, 
and ensuring other behaviors that are appropriate for visitors to 
safely and responsibly visit the park. Commercial guides are trained in 
basic first aid and CPR and often carry satellite or cellular 
telephones, radios, and other equipment for emergency use. Since 
implementation of the commercial guiding requirements, Yellowstone has 
observed a pronounced reduction in the number of law enforcement 
incidents and accidents associated with the use of OSVs, even when 
accounting for the reduced number of snowmobilers relative to pre-
guided use levels.
    No more than eleven snowmobiles would be permitted in a group, 
including that of the guide. A snowmobile may not be operated 
separately from a group within the park. Except in emergency 
situations, guided parties must travel together and remain within one-
third mile of the first snowmobile in the group. This would ensure that 
guided parties do not become separated. One-third mile would allow for 
sufficient and safe spacing between individual snowmobiles within the 
guided party, allow the guide(s) to maintain control over the group and 
minimize impacts.
    NPS does not consider a minimum group size requirement necessary. 
As a practical matter, in recent winters group size has averaged seven 
snowmobiles per group.

Designated Routes

    A number of changes are proposed in routes designated for OSV use 
based on analyses in the 2011 DEIS and experience with the management 
of winter use over the past six winters. All main road segments would 
generally remain open for OSV use, but certain side roads would be 
reserved for ski and snowshoe use only, and certain main road segments 
would be closed to all OSV travel during parts of the winter. This 
would provide a wider variety of motorized and non-motorized 
experiences for visitors.

Daily Snowmobile and Snowcoach Limits

    The number of OSVs that could operate in the park at any one time 
would continue to be limited under this rule. However, based on 
observing actual use over the past six winters and combined with the 
goal of providing a wider range of experiences for visitors, daily 
limits on snowmobiles and snowcoaches would be variable at preset 
levels for each type of vehicle. A schedule would be established one 
full year ahead of the forthcoming winter season (for example, by 
December 1, 2012 for the 2013-2014 winter). These limits are also 
intended to mitigate impacts to air quality, employee and visitor 
health and safety, natural soundscapes, wildlife, and visitor 
experience. The daily entry limits for snowmobiles and snowcoaches are 
identified in Table 1. These limits would be based on four different 
use levels, as described in the table. Use limits identified in Table 1 
include guides since commercial guides are counted towards the daily 
limits. Approximately one-half of the days would be at use level A; 
approximately one-third of the days would be at use level B; and 
approximately one-sixth of the days would be at use levels C or D. The 
Superintendent may vary the schedule annually based on factors 
including visitor use and experience and adaptive management 
considerations. Daily entrance allocations not able to be used due to 
resource or weather concerns or closures will be lost, and will not be 
rolled into other days.
    The proposed rule specifically identifies limits for Old Faithful 
since a park concessioner provides snowmobile rentals and commercial 
guiding services originating there. For example, some visitors choose 
to enter the park on a snowcoach tour, spend two or more nights at the 
Old Faithful Snow Lodge, and go on a commercially guided snowmobile 
tour of the park.

                                                               Table 1--Yellowstone Daily Snowmobile and Snowcoach Entry Limits *
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                                                                              Level A                         Level B                         Level C                         Level D
                                                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                     Park entrance/location                        Commercially    Commercially    Commercially    Commercially    Commercially    Commercially    Commercially    Commercially
                                                                      guided          guided          guided          guided          guided          guided          guided          guided
                                                                    snowmobiles     snowcoaches     snowmobiles     snowcoaches     snowmobiles     snowcoaches     snowmobiles     snowcoaches
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(i) North Entrance [dagger].....................................              11              12            0-11               8            0-11               6            0-11              12
(ii) West Entrance..............................................             176              36             110              22              66              12              66              36
(iii) South Entrance **.........................................             110              14              66               8              44               6              44              14
(iv) East Entrance [dagger].....................................              22               2            0-22             0-2            0-11               0            0-11               2
(v) Old Faithful ***............................................              11              16              11              10            0-11               6            0-11              16
(vi) Cave Falls ****............................................              50               0              50               0              50               0              50               0
                                                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 39052]]

 
    Totals (without Cave Falls).................................             330              80         187-220           48-50         110-143              30         110-143              80
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* For the winter of 2011-2012 only, the following snowmobile allocations are in effect: West Entrance, 160; South Entrance, 114; East Entrance, 20; North Entrance, 12; and Old Faithful, 12.
  The following snowcoach allocations will apply in 2011-2012 only: West Entrance, 34; South Entrance, 13; East Entrance, 2; North Entrance, 13; and Old Faithful, 16.
** Includes portion of the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway between Flagg Ranch and South Entrance.
*** Under use levels C&D, it is anticipated that there are some days that no snowmobile entries would be allocated to Old Faithful.
**** This use occurs on a short (approximately 1-mile) segment of road and is incidental to other snowmobiling activities in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest. These users do not have to be
  accompanied by a guide.
[dagger] A daily entry allocation of 0 is included within ranges for the North and East entrances to reflect an early season closure for plowing at the North Entrance, and seasonal closures of
  the East Entrance from December 15-21 and March 2-15.

Flexible Allocations

    Snowmobile and snowcoach entries may be cooperatively shared among 
commercial guides and among entrances. For example, a guide from West 
Entrance who has additional allocations available may share those 
allocations with a South Entrance guide. This sharing would allow as 
much flexibility as possible while ensuring that the numbers of 
snowmobiles and snowcoaches operating in the park do not exceed the 
total number authorized for that day at any one time. NPS envisions 
that a system for sharing allocations would be created and controlled 
by those guides and outfitters who receive entrance allocations under 
this plan, and could require notification when allocations are shared.

Avalanche Management--Sylvan Pass

    Sylvan Pass would be open under the proposed rule for oversnow 
travel (both motorized and non-motorized) for a limited core season, 
from December 22 through March 1 each year, subject to weather-related 
closures, and NPS fiscal, staff, infrastructural, equipment, and other 
safety-related capacities. A combination of avalanche mitigation 
techniques may be used, including risk assessment analyses as well as 
forecasting and helicopter and howitzer-dispensed explosives. Area 
staff may use whichever tool is the safest and most appropriate for a 
given situation, with the full understanding that safety of employees 
and visitors comes first. Employees in the field make the operational 
determination when safety criteria have been met, and operations can be 
conducted with acceptable levels of risk. When safety criteria have 
been met, the pass may be opened; when they have not been met, the pass 
will remain closed. As with past winters, extended closures of the pass 
may occur.
    Avalanche control at Sylvan Pass has long represented a safety 
concern to the NPS. The 2000 FEIS, 2003 SEIS, 2004 EA, 2007 FEIS and 
the 2008 EA all clearly identify the significant avalanche danger on 
Sylvan Pass. Approximately 20 avalanche paths cross the road at Sylvan 
Pass, thus putting travelers at risk of being caught in an avalanche. 
NPS employees must cross several uncontrolled avalanche paths to reach 
the howitzer used for discharging avalanches. The howitzer is at the 
base of a cliff prone to both rock-fall and additional avalanche 
activity (the howitzer cannot be moved without compromising its ability 
to reach all avalanche zones). Artillery shells sometimes fail to 
explode on impact, and unexploded rounds remain on the slopes, 
presenting year-round hazards to both employees and visitors, both in 
the park and the Shoshone National Forest. Natural avalanches can and 
do occur, both before and after howitzer use. Using a helicopter 
instead of a howitzer also is a high-risk activity because of other 
risks a helicopter contractor would have to incur. Safety evaluations 
of Sylvan Pass by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration 
(OSHA) and an Operational Risk Management Assessment (ORMA) have been 
reviewed and updated and included in the analysis of impacts in the 
2011 DEIS.
    This approach, which implements a 2008 agreement, both addresses 
the concerns of the communities and the NPS. The City of Cody, Wyoming, 
as well as Park County, Wyoming, and the State of Wyoming have 
expressed their belief in the importance of this route to the community 
and have described the historical relationship between Cody and the 
park's East Entrance. The state, county, and city believe that 
businesses near the East Entrance have been negatively impacted in 
recent years by the changing patterns of winter visitation and have 
expressed their concern that these businesses would continue to be 
adversely affected if the pass is closed to oversnow vehicle travel in 
the winter. The community and businesses have also stated the value 
they place on the certainty of the road being open in the winter and 
the importance of that certainty to their businesses and guests. NPS 
acknowledges those values and concerns and has carefully weighed those 
considerations.
    From March 2 to March 15, the NPS would maintain a road segment, 
not prone to avalanche danger, from the East Entrance to a point 
approximately four miles west of the entrance station, to provide for 
opportunities for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Limited 
snowcoach use would be allowed in order to provide drop-offs for such 
purposes.

Section-by-Section Analysis

Section 7.13(l)(1) What is the scope of this regulation?

    The regulations apply to the use of recreational snowcoaches and 
snowmobiles. Except where indicated, the regulations do not apply to 
non-administrative oversnow vehicle use by NPS employees, contractors, 
concessioner employees, or other non-recreational users authorized by 
the Superintendent.

Section 7.13(l)(2) What terms do I need to know?

    The NPS has included definitions for a variety of terms, including 
oversnow vehicle, designated oversnow route, and commercial guides. For 
snowmobiles, NPS is continuing to use the definition found at 36 CFR 
1.4, but has also included language that makes it clear that all-
terrain vehicles (ATVs) and utility-type vehicles (UTVs) are not 
snowmobiles, even if they have been adapted for use on snow with track 
and ski systems. These vehicles were not originally designed to operate 
oversnow and may not meet NPS air and sound emission requirements.
    Yellowstone's oversnow routes remain entirely on roads used by 
motor vehicles during other seasons and thus are consistent with the 
requirements in

[[Page 39053]]

36 CFR 2.18. Earlier regulations also referred only to snowmobiles or 
snowcoaches. Since there is a strong likelihood that new forms of 
oversnow motorized vehicles will be developed in the future that can 
travel on snow, a definition for ``oversnow vehicle'' was developed to 
ensure that any such new technology is subject to this regulation. When 
a particular requirement or restriction only applies to a certain type 
of oversnow vehicle, the specific vehicle is stated and the restriction 
only applies to that type of vehicle, not all oversnow vehicles. 
However, oversnow vehicles that do not meet the strict definition of a 
snowcoach (i.e., both weight and passenger capacity) would be subject 
to the same requirements as snowmobiles. These definitions may be 
clarified in future rulemakings based on changes in technology.
    In earlier regulations, NPS specified a size and weight limit for 
snowcoaches. As the number of larger and heavier snowcoaches has 
increased, the NPS has observed serious rutting of the groomed road 
surface caused by heavier coaches. Rutting creates safety issues for 
other coaches and snowmobiles using the oversnow routes. To address 
this issue, the proposed rule would also establish a pounds-per-square-
inch limit for coaches.

Section 7.13(l)(3) May I operate a snowmobile in Yellowstone National 
Park?

    The proposed rule would continue to authorize operation of a 
snowmobile within the park, subject to use limits, commercial guiding 
requirements, operating hours and dates, equipment requirements, and 
operating conditions established in this section. Snowmobile and 
snowcoach use between Flagg Ranch and the South Entrance of Yellowstone 
occurs in the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway, and is 
addressed in regulations pertaining to that unit of the national park 
system, 36 CFR 7.21(a), except that the daily entry limits for that use 
are addressed by this rule. Once any such OSVs enter Yellowstone, they 
are also subject to the other terms and conditions of this proposed 
rule.

Section 7.13(l)(4) May I operate a snowcoach in Yellowstone National 
Park?

    This proposed rule would continue the authorized operation of 
snowcoaches in the park. It would require that they be commercially 
operated under a concessions contract, and that they are subject to the 
applicable air and sound emission technology requirements for snowcoach 
operations. Through March 15, 2014, the NPS also proposes to continue 
the requirement that all non-historic snowcoaches meet the applicable 
EPA air emissions standards that were in effect at the time the vehicle 
was manufactured. As of December 15, 2014, all snowcoaches must meet 
the then applicable NPS air and sound emission requirements.

Section 7.13(l)(5) Must I operate a certain model of snowmobile?

    The proposed rule would continue the requirement that only 
commercially available snowmobiles that meet NPS air and sound 
emissions requirements may be operated in the park.

Section 7.13(l)(6) How will the Superintendent approve snowmobile 
makes, models, and year of manufacture for use in the park?

    Snowmobiles must be certified under 40 CFR 1051 to a FEL no greater 
than a total of 15 g/kW-hr for HC and a FEL of no greater than 120 g/
kW-hr for CO.

Section 7.13(l)(7) Where may I operate a snowmobile in Yellowstone 
National Park?

    Specific routes are listed where snowmobiles may be operated, but 
the proposed rule also provides latitude for the Superintendent to 
close and re-open routes when necessary. When determining what routes 
are available for use, the Superintendent would use the criteria in 36 
CFR 2.18(c), and may also take other issues into consideration 
including weather and snow conditions, public safety, protection of 
park resources, and other factors.

Section 7.13(l)(8) What routes are designated for snowcoach use?

    Snowcoaches may be operated on the specific routes open to 
snowmobile use. In addition, rubber-tracked snowcoaches may be operated 
in the Mammoth developed area. This proposed rule also provides 
latitude for the Superintendent to close and re-open routes when 
necessary. When determining what routes are available for use, the 
Superintendent would use the criteria in 36 CFR 2.18(c), and may also 
take other issues into consideration, including weather and snow 
conditions, public safety, protection of park resources, and other 
factors.

Section 7.13(l)(9) Must I travel with a commercial guide while 
snowmobiling in Yellowstone and what other guiding requirements apply?

    The proposed rule retains the existing requirement that all 
recreational snowmobile operators be accompanied by a commercial guide. 
As in the interim regulations, parties must travel in groups of no more 
than eleven snowmobiles including that of the guide. The proposed rule 
adds the requirement that guided parties must travel together and not 
be separated by more than one third of mile from the first snowmobile 
in the group in order to ensure groups stay together.

Section 7.13(l)(10) Are there limits established for the numbers of 
snowmobiles and snowcoaches permitted to operate in the park each day?

    The proposed rule allows varying numbers of snowmobiles and 
snowcoaches in the park each day over the course of the winter use 
season. There are four different levels of use (all limits indicate the 
maximum number of oversnow vehicles that could operate in the park at 
any one time): Level A, up to 330 snowmobiles and up to 80 snowcoaches; 
Level B, between 187 and 220 snowmobiles and between 48 and 50 
snowcoaches; Level C, between 110 and 143 snowmobiles and 30 
snowcoaches; and Level D, between 110 to 143 snowmobiles and 80 
snowcoaches. Approximately one-half of the days would be at use level 
A; approximately one-third of the days would be at use level B; and 
approximately one-sixth of the days would be at use levels C or D. The 
levels of use to be allowed for each day of the winter use season would 
be according to a pre-set schedule that would be issued by the 
Superintendent one full winter in advance (for example, by December 1, 
2012 for the 2013-2014 winter season). The Superintendent may vary the 
schedule annually based on factors including visitor use and experience 
and adaptive management considerations. The NPS expects to issue new 
concessions contracts for combined snowmobile and snowcoach guiding to 
facilitate the implementation of this section. For those limits that 
are set as ranges, flexibility is provided to accommodate different 
opening and closing dates of entrances.

Section 7.13(l)(11) How will I know when I can operate a snowmobile or 
snowcoach in the park?

    The proposed rule would not change the methods the Superintendent 
would use to determine operating hours and dates. In the past the, the 
Superintendent has set the opening and closing hours at 7 a.m. and 9 
p.m. respectively. Early and late entries were granted on a case-by-
case basis. The proposed rule allows the Superintendent to manage 
operating

[[Page 39054]]

hours, dates and use levels with public notice provided through one or 
more methods listed in 36 CFR 1.7(a). These methods could include 
signs, maps, public notices, or other publications. Except for 
emergency situations, any changes to operating hours, dates and use 
levels will be made on an annual basis. Initially the Superintendent 
intends to set the operating hours as 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. with no early 
entries or late exits allowed except for emergencies. In addition, all 
OSVs would be required to enter the park by 10:30 a.m. This will assist 
in meeting soundscape goals to provide longer periods free of oversnow 
vehicle sounds.

Section 7.13(l)(12) What other conditions apply to the operation of 
oversnow vehicles?

    The proposed rule includes requirements regarding the operation of 
oversnow vehicles in the park, such as driver's license and 
registration requirements, operating procedures, requirements for 
headlights, brakes and other safety equipment, length of idling time, 
towing of sleds, and other requirements related to safety and resource 
impacts. No changes are being proposed from the previous regulations.

Section 7.13(l)(13) What conditions apply to alcohol use while 
operating an oversnow vehicle?

    The proposed rule does not change the conditions applicable to the 
use of alcohol while operating oversnow vehicles. Although the 
regulations in 36 CFR 4.23 apply to oversnow vehicles, a provision was 
included in the 2004 regulations to address the issues of under-age 
drinking while operating a snowmobile and snowcoach operators or 
snowmobile guides operating under the influence while performing 
services for others. Many states have adopted similar alcohol standards 
for under-age operators and commercial drivers, and the NPS feels it is 
necessary to specifically include these regulations to help mitigate 
potential safety concerns.
    The alcohol level for minors (anyone under the age of 21) is set at 
.02 Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). Although the NPS endorses ``zero 
tolerance,'' a very low BAC is established to avoid a chance of a false 
reading. Mothers Against Drunk Driving and many other organizations 
have endorsed such a general enforcement posture and the NPS agrees 
that under-age drinking and driving, particularly in a harsh winter 
environment, should not be allowed.
    In the case of snowcoach operators or snowmobile guides, a low BAC 
limit is also necessary. Persons operating a snowcoach are likely to be 
carrying 8 or more passengers in a vehicle with tracks or skis that is 
more challenging to operate than a wheeled vehicle, and on oversnow 
routes that can present significant hazards, especially if the driver 
has impaired judgment. Similarly, persons guiding others on a 
snowmobile have put themselves in a position of responsibility for the 
safety of other visitors and for minimizing impacts to park wildlife 
and other resources. Should the guide's judgment be impaired, hazards 
such as wildlife on the road or snow-obscured features could endanger 
all members of the group in an unforgiving climate. For these reasons, 
the proposed rule would continue to require that all guides be held to 
a stricter than normal standard for alcohol consumption. Therefore, the 
proposed rule continues a BAC limit of .04 for snowcoach operators and 
snowmobile guides. This is consistent with federal and state rules 
pertaining to BAC thresholds for someone with a commercial driver's 
license.

Section 7.13(l)(14) Do other NPS regulations apply to the use of 
oversnow vehicles?

    The proposed rule does not change the applicability of other NPS 
regulations concerning oversnow vehicle use. Relevant portions of 36 
CFR 2.18, including Sec.  2.18(c), have been incorporated within these 
proposed regulations. Some portions of 36 CFR 2.18 and 2.19 are 
superseded by these proposed regulations, which govern maximum 
operating decibels, operating hours, and operator age in this park 
only. In addition, 36 CFR 2.18(b) would not apply in Yellowstone. The 
proposed rule also supersedes 36 CFR 2.19(b) in that it prohibits the 
towing of persons on skis, sleds, or other sliding devices by motor 
vehicle or snowmobile, except in emergency situations. Towing people, 
especially children, is a potential safety hazard and health risk due 
to road conditions, traffic volumes, and direct exposure to snowmobile 
emissions. This rule does not affect supply sleds attached by a rigid 
device or hitch pulled directly behind snowmobiles or other oversnow 
vehicles as long as no person or animal is hauled on them. Other 
provisions of 36 CFR Chapter I continue to apply to the operation of 
oversnow vehicles unless specifically excluded here.

Section 7.13(l)(15) Are there any forms of non-motorized oversnow 
transportation allowed in the park?

    Non-motorized travel consisting of skiing, skating, snowshoeing, 
and walking is generally permitted. The park has specifically 
prohibited dog sledding and ski-joring (the practice of a skier being 
pulled by dogs, a horse, or a vehicle) to prevent disturbance or 
harassment to wildlife and for visitor safety. These restrictions have 
been in place for several years and would be reaffirmed under these 
regulations. In addition, the park has carefully reviewed new proposals 
to allow use of ``snowbikes'' (bicycles that have been modified to 
allow travel on packed snow routes). In past winter plans and 
regulations, the NPS has prohibited snowbikes. In earlier reviews, the 
NPS believed the addition of snowbikes on the groomed oversnow routes 
had the potential to create conflicts with snowmobile and snowcoach 
groups, as well as with crosscountry skiers, snowshoers and walkers who 
are currently allowed on the oversnow routes. The NPS concluded that 
safety issues could develop with this type of use. For example, 
snowbikes depend on packed, groomed surfaces. Heavy snow falls and 
rapidly warming conditions have the potential to create conditions in 
which travel by snowbikes is impossible after they have already 
travelled miles into the park. In this planning process, new requests 
were made to authorize snowbikes. The NPS has reviewed these requests 
and past analysis, and this proposed rule would continue the ban on use 
of snowbikes.

Section 7.13(l)(16) May I operate a snowplane in Yellowstone National 
Park?

    Snowplanes are not allowed to be used in Yellowstone National Park.

Section 7.13(l)(17) Is violating any of the provisions of this section 
prohibited?

    Violating any of the terms, conditions or requirements of 
paragraphs (l)(1) through (l)(16) of this section is prohibited.

Summary of Economic Analysis

Introduction

    The NPS conducted an economic analysis of the different regulatory 
alternatives for a winter use plan in Yellowstone National Park (see 
RTI International, ``Economic Analysis of Winter Use Regulations in 
Yellowstone National Park,'' 2011). That analysis is summarized here. 
In that analysis, the definition of ``baseline'' is critical since all 
costs and benefits associated with the different alternatives are 
calculated incrementally from the baseline. According to OMB Circular 
A-4, baseline describes the conditions that would exist if the proposed 
regulatory action is not implemented. Alternative 1

[[Page 39055]]

represents those baseline conditions. This is referred to as ``Baseline 
1'' in the economic analysis report. The 2009 interim regulation 
expired in March 2011 at the close of the 2010/2011 winter season. 
Therefore, no regulation is currently in place to permit OSV use by 
visitors. If no action is taken, administrative OSV use will continue 
as needed, as described under Alternative 1, but there would be no 
commercial or visitor use of snowmobiles or snowcoaches. Under this 
definition of baseline, the analysis presents the incremental costs and 
benefits of Alternatives 2 though 7 as compared to Baseline 1. However, 
since this definition of baseline reflects a situation that has never 
actually occurred, another definition of baseline that reflects the 
recent conditions actually experienced by the public might be useful to 
understand the impacts of the alternatives. Alternative 2 represents 
this other baseline. This is referred to as Baseline 2 in the economic 
analysis report. Under Baseline 2, OSV use would continue at levels 
described in the 2009 interim regulation--up to 318 snowmobiles and up 
to 78 snowcoaches per day. Therefore, under this definition of 
baseline, the analysis presents the incremental costs and benefits of 
Alternatives 1 and 3 through 7 as compared to the Baseline 2.
    The other alternatives include Alternatives 3 through 7. Under 
Alternative 3, permitted OSV use would return to the 2004 plan limits--
up to 720 snowmobiles and 78 snowcoaches per day. Under Alternative 4, 
no more than 100 commercial wheeled vehicles such as buses (North and 
West Entrances), 110 snowmobiles and 30 snowcoaches (South Entrance) 
would have access to the park. The East Entrance would be closed to 
through travel for OSVs, but remain open for non-motorized use. Under 
Alternative 5, access to the park would eventually be by Best Available 
Technology (BAT) snowcoaches only. This would be accomplished by 
phasing out snowmobiles beginning in the 2014/2015 winter season. 
Snowcoaches would replace snowmobiles within a five-year period (at the 
park's discretion or depending on coach user demand). Under Alternative 
6, OSV levels would vary by creating times and places for higher and 
lower levels of use, with 32,000 snowmobiles and 4,600 snowcoaches 
permitted each winter season. Daily snowmobile entries could vary 
between none and 540, and snowcoaches could vary between none and 78. 
Snowmobile trips would be mostly guided, with up to 25 percent of 
snowmobile use unguided or non-commercially guided. Finally, under 
Alternative 7, which is the preferred alternative, four different daily 
limits for OSV use would be established. Snowmobile limits would range 
from 110 to 330 per day for a maximum of 23,122 for the season. 
Snowcoach limits would range from 30 to 80 per day for a maximum of 
5,730 for the season. These alternatives are more fully described in 
the DEIS, available at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/yell.
    The purpose for estimating these benefits and costs is to examine 
the extent to which each action alternative addresses the need for the 
proposed regulation. This regulation is needed to correct certain 
``market failures'' associated with winter use in the park. A market 
failure occurs when park resources and uses are not allocated in an 
economically efficient manner. For winter use in the park, market 
failures can occur as a result of ``externalities.'' An externality 
exists when the actions of some individuals impose uncompensated 
impacts on others. For example, snowmobile users, and to a lesser 
extent, snowcoach users, impose costs on other park visitors in the 
form of noise, air pollution, congestion, and health and safety risks. 
Because these costs are not compensated, both types of users have 
little or no incentive to adjust their behavior accordingly. The 
proposed regulation is needed to correct this situation.
    The quantitative results of this analysis are summarized below. It 
is important to note that this analysis could not account for all costs 
or benefits due to limitations in available data. For example, the 
costs associated with adverse impacts to park resources such as 
wildlife, and with law enforcement incidents are not reflected in the 
quantified net benefits presented in this summary. It is also important 
to note that this analysis addresses the economic efficiency 
implications of the different action alternatives and not their 
distributive equity (i.e., it does not identify the sectors or groups 
on which the majority of impacts fall). Therefore, additional 
explanation is required when interpreting the quantitative results of 
this analysis. An explanation of the selection of the preferred 
alternative is presented following the summary of quantified benefits 
and costs.

Quantified Benefits and Costs Under Baseline 1

    This section summarizes the economic analysis relative to Baseline 
1. Costs refer to costs to society (or losses in social welfare) while 
benefits refer to benefits for society (or gains in social welfare). 
The analysis of costs and benefits critically depends on estimates of 
visitation for the different user groups. While significant information 
is available from past visitation records and visitor surveys, a degree 
of uncertainty exists about how these visitation levels might change in 
the future under the six action alternatives. In this analysis, a 
modeling approach was used to characterize uncertainty and to estimate 
expected levels of visitation. That approach involves specifying 
probability distributions of key visitation parameters, and then 
sampling from those distributions in order to estimate visitation 
levels. By taking multiple samples, measures of central tendency for 
visitation can be calculated that reflect the uncertainty in the 
available data. This analysis used 1,000 samples, which were adequate 
to calculate expected levels of visitation. Those expected visitation 
levels were then used to estimate the benefits and costs described 
below for the six action alternatives.
    Alternative 4 has the highest level of quantified net benefits 
(benefits minus costs). That is because this alternative would result 
in the largest increase in overall visitation due to its inclusion of 
commercial bus trips. That increased visitation would primarily benefit 
visitors that access the parks by wheeled vehicles such as buses, and 
the businesses that serve them, including restaurants, gas stations, 
and hotels.
    The next highest net benefits are for Alternatives 5 and 7. The 
largest benefits under Alternative 5 start in the 2018/2019 winter 
season, when the transition to snowcoach-only is expected to be 
complete--other visitors gain high benefits from being in the park 
without snowmobiles. Alternative 7 allows guided snowmobile tours and 
imposes varying daily caps on snowmobiles and snowcoaches throughout 
the season to create days when crowding will be very low. Alternative 6 
has the lowest net benefits, in part because higher crowding lowers the 
value of all trips. These net benefit levels over the ten-year analysis 
period for winter seasons 2011/2012 through 2020/2021 are presented in 
Table 1 for all action alternatives. Table 2 presents quantified net 
benefits per year for the same analysis period.

[[Page 39056]]



   Table 1--Total Present Value of Quantified Net Benefits Relative to
   Baseline 1, Yellowstone National Park, 2011/2012 Through 2020/2021
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                          Total present
                                                            value of
                                                         quantified net
                                                          benefits \a\
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Alternative 2:
  Discounted at 3% \b\................................       $50,188,000
  Discounted at 7% \b\................................        41,451,000
Alternative 3:
  Discounted at 3% \b\................................        55,466,000
  Discounted at 7% \b\................................        45,468,000
Alternative 4:
  Discounted at 3% \b\................................       184,377,000
  Discounted at 7% \b\................................       151,569,000
Alternative 5:
  Discounted at 3% \b\................................       107,975,000
  Discounted at 7% \b\................................        85,015,000
Alternative 6:
  Discounted at 3% \b\................................          -874,000
  Discounted at 7% \b\................................          -451,000
Alternative 7:
  Discounted at 3% \b\................................        78,132,000
  Discounted at 7% \b\................................        64,531,000
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\a\ Expressed in 2010 dollars.
\b\ Office of Management and Budget Circular A-4 recommends a 7%
  discount rate in general, and a 3% discount rate when analyzing
  impacts to private consumption.
Source: Table 3-12, RTI International (2011).


    Table 2--Quantified Net Benefits per Year Relative to Baseline 1,
         Yellowstone National Park, 2011/2012 Through 2020/2021
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                         Quantified net
                                                          benefits per
                                                            year \a\
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Alternative 2:
  Discounted at 3% \b\................................        $5,884,000
  Discounted at 7% \b\................................         5,902,000
Alternative 3:
  Discounted at 3% \b\................................         6,502,000
  Discounted at 7% \b\................................         6,474,000
Alternative 4:
  Discounted at 3% \b\................................        21,615,000
  Discounted at 7% \b\................................        21,580,000
Alternative 5:
  Discounted at 3% \b\................................        12,658,000
  Discounted at 7% \b\................................        12,104,000
Alternative 6:
  Discounted at 3% \b\................................          -102,000
  Discounted at 7% \b\................................           -64,000
Alternative 7:
  Discounted at 3% \b\................................         9,159,000
  Discounted at 7% \b\................................         9,188,000
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\a\ This is the total present value of quantified net benefits reported
  in Table 1 amortized over the ten-year analysis timeframe at the
  indicated discount rate.
\b\ Office of Management and Budget Circular A-4 recommends a 7%
  discount rate in general, and a 3% discount rate when analyzing
  impacts to private consumption.
Source: Table 3-13, RTI International (2011).

    Not included in these quantified net benefit estimates are the 
costs of meeting EPA model year 2010 air emission requirements. These 
requirements could involve replacing engine and/or emission control 
systems so that the vehicles are in compliance, or purchasing 2010 or 
newer model year vehicles. Snowcoaches would also need to meet a sound 
emission requirement that is similar to the snowmobile sound emission 
requirement. Under all action alternatives except Alternative 4, 
between 78 and 80 snowcoaches per day would be allowed to operate in 
the park. Given the composition of the existing snowcoach fleet, NPS 
estimated that the cost to bring 80 snowcoaches into compliance with 
these requirements would be approximately $5,090,000. This cost would 
be less for Alternative 4 since only 30 snowcoaches per day would be 
allowed into the park.

Quantified Benefits and Costs Under Baseline 2

    This section summarizes the economic analysis relative to Baseline 
2. Costs and benefits in this analysis are calculated using the same 
methods described for the analysis using Baseline 1. However in this 
analysis, the incremental costs and benefits of Alternatives 1 and 3 
through 7 are calculated relative to Baseline 2.
    Under this scenario, Alternative 4 generates the highest quantified 
net benefits. Alternative 5 generates the second highest net benefits, 
due in large part to the gains to snowcoach passengers and other 
visitors starting in the 2018/2019 winter season when the transition to 
snowcoach-only is expected to be complete. Alternative 7 generates the 
third highest level of quantified net benefits. These net benefit 
levels over the ten-year analysis period for winter seasons 2011/2012 
through 2020/2021 are presented in Table 3 for all action alternatives. 
Table 4 presents quantified net benefits per year for the same analysis 
period.

   Table 3--Total Present Value of Quantified Net Benefits Relative to
   Baseline 2, Yellowstone National Park, 2011/2012 Through 2020/2021
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                          Total present
                                                            value of
                                                         quantified net
                                                          benefits \a\
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Alternative 1:
  Discounted at 3% \b\................................      -$50,188,000
  Discounted at 7% \b\................................       -41,451,000
Alternative 3:
  Discounted at 3% \b\................................         5,278,000
  Discounted at 7% \b\................................         4,017,000
Alternative 4:
  Discounted at 3% \b\................................       134,190,000
  Discounted at 7% \b\................................       110,118,000
Alternative 5:
  Discounted at 3% \b\................................        57,787,000
  Discounted at 7% \b\................................        43,564,000
Alternative 6:
  Discounted at 3% \b\................................       -51,062,000
  Discounted at 7% \b\................................       -41,902,000
Alternative 7:
  Discounted at 3% \b\................................        27,945,000
  Discounted at 7% \b\................................        23,080,000
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\a\ Expressed in 2010 dollars.
\b\ Office of Management and Budget Circular A-4 recommends a 7%
  discount rate in general, and a 3% discount rate when analyzing
  impacts to private consumption.
Source: Table 4-2, RTI International (2011).


    Table 4--Quantified Net Benefits per Year Relative to Baseline 2,
         Yellowstone National Park, 2011/2012 Through 2020/2021
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                         Quantified net
                                                          benefits per
                                                            year \a\
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Alternative 1:
  Discounted at 3% \b\................................       -$5,884,000
  Discounted at 7% \b\................................        -5,902,000
Alternative 3:
  Discounted at 3% \b\................................           619,000
  Discounted at 7% \b\................................           572,000
Alternative 4:
  Discounted at 3% \b\................................        15,731,000
  Discounted at 7% \b\................................        15,678,000
Alternative 5:
  Discounted at 3% \b\................................         6,774,000
  Discounted at 7% \b\................................         6,203,000
Alternative 6:
  Discounted at 3% \b\................................        -5,986,000
  Discounted at 7% \b\................................        -5,966,000
Alternative 7:
  Discounted at 3% \b\................................         3,276,000
  Discounted at 7% \b\................................         3,286,000
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\a\ This is the total present value of quantified net benefits reported
  in Table 1 amortized over the ten-year analysis timeframe at the
  indicated discount rate.
\b\ Office of Management and Budget Circular A-4 recommends a 7%
  discount rate in general, and a 3% discount rate when analyzing
  impacts to private consumption.
Source: Table 4-3, RTI International (2011).

    Not included in these quantified net benefit estimates are the 
costs of meeting EPA model year 2010 air emission requirements. These 
requirements could involve replacing engine and/or emission control 
systems so that the vehicles are in compliance, or purchasing 2010 or 
newer model year

[[Page 39057]]

vehicles. Snowcoaches would also need to meet a sound emission 
requirement that is similar to the snowmobile sound emission 
requirement. Under all action alternatives except Alternatives 1 and 4, 
between 78 and 80 snowcoaches per day would be allowed to operate in 
the park. Given the composition of the existing snowcoach fleet, NPS 
estimated that the cost to bring 80 snowcoaches into compliance with 
these requirements would be approximately $5,090,000. This cost would 
be less for Alternative 4 since only 30 snowcoaches per day would be 
allowed into the park. This cost would be zero for Alternative 1 since 
snowcoach use would not be permitted in the park.

Interpretation of Quantified Benefits and Costs

    Comparing Table 1 with Table 3, the ranking of Alternatives 3 
through 7 by the magnitude of quantified net benefits is identical 
between the analyses using either baseline. NPS selected Alternative 7 
as the preferred alternative; however, Alternatives 4 and 5 each have 
higher levels of quantified net benefits in each analysis. Additional 
factors that are relevant in the selection of the preferred alternative 
include costs and benefits that could not be quantified and 
distributive equity concerns. With respect to costs that could not be 
quantified, Alternative 4 involves road plowing operations and 
moderate, adverse visibility impacts due to road sanding operations, 
neither of which were quantified in terms of monetized costs. While 
those costs would be offset somewhat by the reduced cost to bring 
snowcoaches into compliance with air and sound emission requirements 
compared to the other alternatives that permit snowcoach use in the 
park, the road plowing operations would likely reduce the quantified 
net benefits of Alternative 4 relative to those of Alternative 7. With 
respect to distributive equity concerns, Alternative 7 better balances 
the visitor experiences of all visitor groups compared with 
Alternatives 4 and 5. The costs and benefits accruing to the different 
visitor groups are more evenly distributed in Alternative 7 than in 
Alternatives 4 and 5. The benefits of Alternative 5 are 
disproportionately associated with snowcoach riders. The benefits to 
snowmobile riders in Alternative 4 will be concentrated on riders who 
have access to the South Entrance. Finally, the lack of any historical 
precedent for plowing roads and allowing commercial bus tours during 
the winter leads to large uncertainties as to the magnitude of the 
benefits associated with Alternative 4. For these reasons, NPS selected 
Alternative 7 as the preferred alternative.

Explanation of Preferred Alternative

    The preferred alternative in the 2011 DEIS provides for winter use 
while protecting park resources. The preferred alternative demonstrates 
the NPS commitment to monitor winter use and to use the results to 
adjust the winter use program. The results of the monitoring program, 
including data obtained regarding air quality, wildlife, soundscapes, 
and health and safety, were used in formulating the alternatives in the 
2011 DEIS. The preferred alternative applies the lessons of the last 
several winters about commercial guiding, which demonstrate, among 
other things, that 100% commercial guiding has been very successful and 
offers the best opportunity for achieving goals of protecting park 
resources and allowing balanced use of the park. Law enforcement 
incidents have been reduced well below historic numbers, even after 
taking into account reduced visitation. That reduction is attributed to 
the quality of the guided program.
    The preferred alternative uses strictly limited oversnow vehicle 
numbers, combined with air and sound emission requirements and 100% 
commercial guiding, to help ensure that the purpose and need for the 
DEIS is met.
    The preferred alternative also supports the communities and 
businesses both near and far from the park and would encourage them to 
have an economically sustainable winter recreation program that relies 
on a variety of modes for access to the park in the winter. Peak 
snowmobile numbers allowed under the preferred alternative are well 
below the historic averages, but the snowmobile and snowcoach limits 
should provide a viable program for winter access to the park.

Compliance With Other Laws and Executive Orders

Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Order 12866)

    This document is a significant rule and the Office of Management 
and Budget has reviewed this rule 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. These conclusions are based on the report ``Economic 
Analysis of Winter Use Regulations in Yellowstone National Park'' (RTI 
International, 2011).
    (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 plans by 
other agencies or local government plans, policies, or controls since 
this is an agency specific change.
    (3) This rule does not alter the budgetary effects of entitlements, 
grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights or obligations of 
their recipients. It only affects the use of oversnow vehicles within 
Yellowstone National Park. No grants or other forms of monetary 
supplement are involved.
    (4) This rule may raise novel legal or policy issues. The issue has 
generated local as well as national interest on the subject in the area 
surrounding Yellowstone National Park. NPS has been the subject of 
numerous lawsuits regarding winter use management in the park. See 
Winter use in Yellowstone: A Timeline, available at http://www.nps.gov/yell/parkmgmt/timeline.htm.

Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA)

    From the analysis of costs and benefits using Baseline 1, NPS 
concludes that the action alternatives would mitigate the impacts on 
most small businesses relative to the impacts under Baseline 1. In 
cases where the action alternatives cause reduced revenues for a few 
specific firms compared to Baseline 1, NPS expects that the declines 
would be very small. From the analysis using Baseline 2, NPS concludes:
     Relative to Baseline 2, Alternatives 3, 5, and 6 are 
estimated to result in increased profits for the snowmobile rental and 
snowcoach sectors.
     Alternative 1 has the potential to generate significant 
losses for small businesses.
     Alternative 4 also has the potential to generate 
significant losses, but if the same companies run commercial bus tours 
revenue should grow rather than shrink.
     Alternative 7 may impose significant losses on very small 
businesses earning $250,000 or less, although the impacts are close to 
the threshold for significance. The calculations assume that the 
impacts are equally spread across all businesses.
    An initial regulatory flexibility analysis is included in the 
report titled ``Economic Analysis of Winter Use Regulations in 
Yellowstone National Park'' (RTI International, 2011).

[[Page 39058]]

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA)

    This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the SBREFA. 
This rule:
    (a) Does not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million 
or more.
    (b) Will not cause a major increase in costs or prices for 
consumers, individual industries, Federal, state, or local government 
agencies, or geographic regions.
    (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 affects the Greater Yellowstone Area, not national or 
U.S.-based enterprises.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA)

    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. It addresses public 
use of national park lands, and imposes no requirements on other 
agencies or governments.

Takings (Executive Order 12630)

    Under the criteria in Executive Order 12630, the rule does not have 
significant takings implications. Access to private property located 
adjacent to the park will be afforded the same access during winter as 
before this rule. No other property is affected. A takings implication 
assessment is not required.

Federalism (Executive Order 13132)

    In accordance with Executive Order 13132, the rule does not have 
sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a 
Federalism Assessment. It addresses public use of national park lands, 
and imposes no requirements on other agencies or governments.

Civil Justice Reform (Executive Order 12988)

    This rule complies with the requirements of Executive Order 12988. 
Specifically, this rule:
    (a) Meets the criteria of section 3(a) requiring that all 
regulations be reviewed to eliminate errors and ambiguity and be 
written to minimize litigation; and
    (b) Meets the criteria of section 3(b)(2) requiring that all 
regulations be written in clear language and contain clear legal 
standards.

Consultation With Indian Tribes (Executive Order 13175)

    Under the criteria in Executive Order 13175 we have evaluated this 
rule and determined that it has no potential effects on federally 
recognized Indian tribes. Numerous tribes in the area were consulted in 
the development of the previous winter use planning documents.

Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)

    This rule does not contain information collection requirements and 
a submission under the PRA is not required.

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

    This winter use plan and rule constitute a major Federal action 
significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. We have 
prepared a DEIS under the NEPA. The DEIS is available for review by 
contacting the Yellowstone National Park Management Assistant's 
Offices, at http://parkplanning.nps.gov or at http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/winteruse.htm. Comments are being solicited separately 
for the DEIS and this proposed rule. See the Public Participation 
section for more information on how to comment on the DEIS.

Information Quality Act (IQA)

    In developing this rule we did not conduct or use a study, 
experiment, or survey requiring peer review under the IQA (Pub. L. 106-
554, section 15).

Effects on the Energy Supply (Executive Order 13211)

    This rule is not a significant energy action under the definition 
in Executive Order 13211. A statement of Energy Effects is not 
required.

Clarity of This Regulation

    We are required by Executive Orders 12866 and 12988 and by the 
Presidential Memorandum of June 1, 1998, to write all rules in plain 
language. This means that each rule we publish must:
    (a) Be logically organized;
    (b) Use the active voice to address readers directly;
    (c) Use clear language rather than jargon;
    (d) Be divided into short sections and sentences; and
    (e) Use lists and tables wherever possible.
    If you believe we have not met these requirements, send us comments 
by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. To better help 
us revise the rule, your comments should be as specific as possible. 
For example, you should tell us the numbers of the sections or 
paragraphs that you find unclear, which sections or sentences are too 
long, the sections where you believe lists or tables would be useful, 
etc.

Drafting Information

    The primary authors of this regulation are David Jacob, 
Environmental Protection Specialist, National Park Service, 
Environmental Quality Division, John Sacklin, Management Assistant, 
National Park Service, Yellowstone National Park, and Russel J. Wilson, 
Chief Regulations and Special Park Uses, National Park Service, 
Washington, DC.

Public Participation

    If you wish to comment on this rule, you may submit your comments 
by any one of the following methods.
     Docket: For access to the electronic docket to read the 
proposed rule, or e-mail comments received go to the Federal 
eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions 
for submitting comments.
     Mail: Yellowstone National Park, Winter Use Proposed Rule, 
P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone NP, WY 82190.
     Hand Deliver to: Management Assistant's Office, 
Headquarters Building, Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park, 
Wyoming.
    All comments must be received by midnight of the close of the 
comment period. Bulk comments in any format (hard copy or electronic) 
submitted on behalf of others will not be accepted.
    As noted previously, a DEIS is also available for public comment. 
Those wishing to comment on both this proposed rule and the DEIS should 
submit separate comments for each. Comments regarding the DEIS may be 
submitted online via the NPS Planning, Environment, and Public Comment 
Web site at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/, or they may be addressed to: 
Winter Use Plan DEIS, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, WY 
82190. Additional information about the DEIS is available online at: 
http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/winteruse.htm.

Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment including your personal identifying 
information may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we

[[Page 39059]]

cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

List of Subjects in 36 CFR Part 7

    National parks, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    In consideration of the foregoing, the National Park Service 
proposes to amend 36 CFR part 7 as follows:

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 36 U.S.C. 501-511, D.C. Code 10-137 (2001) and D.C. 
Code 50-2201.07 (2001).

    2. In Sec.  7.13 revise paragraph (l) to read as follows:


Sec.  7.13  Yellowstone National Park.

* * * * *
    (l)(1) What is the scope of this regulation? The regulations 
contained in paragraphs (l)(2) through (1)(16) of this section apply to 
the use of snowcoaches and recreational snowmobiles. Except where 
indicated, paragraphs (1)(2) through (l)(16) do not apply to non-
administrative oversnow vehicle use by NPS employees, contractors, 
concessioner employees, or other non-recreational users authorized by 
the Superintendent.
    (2) What terms do I need to know? The definitions in this paragraph 
(l)(2) also apply to non-administrative oversnow vehicle use by NPS 
employees, contractors, concessioner employees, or other non-
recreational users authorized by the Superintendent.
    Commercial guide means a person who operates as a snowmobile or 
snowcoach guide for a fee or compensation and is authorized to operate 
in the park under a concession contract or a commercial use 
authorization. In this section, ``guide'' also means ``commercial 
guide.''
    Historic snowcoach means a Bombardier snowcoach manufactured in 
1983 or earlier. Any other snowcoach is considered a non-historic 
snowcoach.
    Oversnow route means that portion of the unplowed roadway located 
between the road shoulders and designated by snow poles or other poles, 
ropes, fencing, or signs erected to regulate oversnow activity. 
Oversnow routes include pullouts or parking areas that are groomed or 
marked similarly to roadways and are adjacent to designated oversnow 
routes. An oversnow route may also be distinguished by the interior 
boundaries of the berm created by the packing and grooming of the 
unplowed roadway. The only motorized vehicles permitted on oversnow 
routes are oversnow vehicles.
    Oversnow vehicle means a snowmobile, snowcoach, or other motorized 
vehicle that is intended for travel primarily on snow and has been 
authorized by the Superintendent to operate in the park. An oversnow 
vehicle that does not meet the definition of a snowcoach must comply 
with all requirements applicable to snowmobiles.
    Snowcoach means a self-propelled mass transit vehicle intended for 
travel on snow, having a curb weight of over 1,000 pounds (450 
kilograms), driven by a track or tracks and steered by skis or tracks, 
and having a capacity of at least 8 passengers. A snowcoach has a 
maximum size of 102 inches wide, plus tracks (not to exceed 110 inches 
overall); a maximum length of 35 feet; and a GVWR not exceeding 25,000 
pounds. A snowcoach may not be operated if the GVWR limit of the 
vehicle is exceeded (including track systems). As of December 14, 2014, 
a snowcoach may not be operated if it exerts a ground-surface pressure 
(calculated by dividing the GVWR (including track weight) by the number 
of square inches of track in contact with the snow surface) exceeding 
4.5 pounds per square inch.
    Snowmobile means a self-propelled vehicle intended for travel on 
snow, with a curb weight of not more than 1,000 pounds (450 kg), driven 
by a track or tracks in contact with the snow, and which may be steered 
by a ski or skis in contact with the snow. All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) 
and utility-type vehicles (UTVs) are not considered to be snowmobiles, 
even if they have been adapted for use on snow with track and ski 
systems.
    Snowplane means a self-propelled vehicle intended for oversnow 
travel and driven by an air-displacing propeller.
    (3) May I operate a snowmobile in Yellowstone National Park? You 
may operate a snowmobile in Yellowstone National Park in compliance 
with use limits, guiding requirements, operating hours and dates, 
equipment, and operating conditions established under this section. The 
Superintendent may establish additional operating conditions after 
providing notice of those conditions in accordance with one or more 
methods listed in 36 CFR 1.7(a).
    (4) May I operate a snowcoach in Yellowstone National Park? (i) A 
snowcoach may only be operated in Yellowstone National Park under a 
concessions contract. Snowcoach operation is subject to the conditions 
stated in the concessions contract and all other conditions identified 
in this section.
    (ii) As of December 15, 2014, a diesel-fueled snowcoach must meet 
EPA model year 2010 air emission requirements. A diesel snowcoach with 
a GVWR greater than 8,500 pounds must meet EPA model year 2010 ``engine 
configuration certified'' diesel air emission requirements, whether new 
or retrofitted. A diesel snowcoach with a GVWR less than 10,000 pounds 
may instead meet EPA model year 2010 light duty Tier 2 standards, 
whether new or retrofitted.
    (iii) As of December 15, 2014, a gasoline-fueled snowcoach must 
meet EPA model year 2010 air emission requirements, whether new or 
retrofitted.
    (iv) As of December 15, 2014, a snowcoach may not exceed a sound 
level of 73 dBA when measured by operating the coach at or near full 
throttle for the test cycle. In accordance with Society of Automotive 
Engineers test procedures, a variance of up to 2 dBA is allowed.
    A snowcoach may be tested at any barometric pressure equal to or 
above 23.4 inches Hg uncorrected.
    (v) Through March 15, 2014, a non-historic snowcoach must meet NPS 
air emissions requirements, which mean the applicable EPA emissions 
standards for the vehicle that were in effect at the time it was 
manufactured.
    (vi) All emission-related exhaust components (as listed in 40 CFR 
86.004-25(b)(3)(iii) through (v)) must be functioning properly. Such 
emissions-related components may only be replaced with the original 
equipment manufacturer (OEM) component, where possible. Where OEM parts 
are not available, aftermarket parts may be used if they are certified 
not to worsen emission and sound characteristics.
    (vii) Operating a snowcoach with the original pollution control 
equipment disabled or modified is prohibited.
    (viii) A snowcoach meeting the requirements for air and sound 
emissions may be operated in the park for a period not exceeding 10 
years from the date upon it was first certified by the Superintendent.
    (ix) A snowcoach may be subject to periodic inspections to 
determine compliance with the requirements of paragraphs (l)(4)(ii) 
through (l)(4)(viii) of this section.
    (5) Must I operate a certain model of snowmobile? Only commercially 
available snowmobiles that meet NPS air and sound emissions 
requirements as set forth in this section may be operated in the park. 
The

[[Page 39060]]

Superintendent will approve snowmobile makes, models, and years of 
manufacture that meet those requirements. Any snowmobile model not 
approved by the Superintendent may not be operated in the park.
    (6) How will the Superintendent approve snowmobile makes, models, 
and years of manufacture for use in the park? (i) Through March 15, 
2014, all snowmobiles must be certified under 40 CFR part 1051, to a 
Family Emission Limit no greater than 15 g/kW-hr for hydrocarbons and 
to a Family Emission Limit no greater than 120 g/kW-hr for carbon 
monoxide. As of December 15, 2014, all snowmobiles must be certified 
under 40 CFR part 1051, to a Family Emission Limit no greater than 15 
g/kW-hr for the sum of nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons and to a Family 
Emission Limit no greater than 120 g/kW-hr for carbon monoxide.
    (ii) The snowmobile test procedures specified by EPA (40 CFR Parts 
1051 and 1065) must be used to measure air emissions from model year 
2005 and later snowmobiles.
    (iii) For sound emissions, through March 15, 2014, snowmobiles must 
operate at or below 73 dB(A) as measured at full throttle according to 
Society of Automotive Engineers J192 test procedures (revised 1985). 
Snowmobiles may be tested at any barometric pressure equal to or above 
23.4 inches Hg uncorrected. As of December 15, 2014, snowmobiles must 
operate at or below 73 dB(A) as measured at full throttle in accordance 
with the applicable (as of November 1, 2012) Society of Automotive J192 
test procedures. The test must be accomplished within the barometric 
pressure limits of the test procedure; there will be no allowance for 
elevation. The Superintendent may revise these testing procedures based 
on new information and/or updates to the SAE J192 testing procedures.
    (iv) A snowmobile meeting the requirements for air and sound 
emissions may be operated in the park for a period not exceeding 6 
years from the date upon which it was first certified by the 
Superintendent.
    (v) The Superintendent may prohibit entry into the park of any 
snowmobile that has been modified in a manner that may adversely affect 
air or sound emissions.
    (vi) These air and sound emissions requirements do not apply to a 
snowmobile being operated on the Cave Falls Road in Yellowstone.
    (7) Where may I operate a snowmobile in Yellowstone National Park? 
(i) You may operate a snowmobile only upon designated oversnow routes 
established within the park in accordance with 36 CFR 2.18(c). The 
following oversnow routes are so designated:
    (A) The Grand Loop Road from its junction with Upper Terrace Drive 
to Norris Junction.
    (B) Norris Junction to Canyon Junction.
    (C) The Grand Loop Road from Norris Junction to Madison Junction.
    (D) The West Entrance Road from the park boundary at West 
Yellowstone to Madison Junction.
    (E) The Grand Loop Road from Madison Junction to West Thumb.
    (F) The South Entrance Road from the South Entrance to West Thumb.
    (G) The Grand Loop Road from West Thumb to its junction with the 
East Entrance Road.
    (H) The East Entrance Road from Fishing Bridge Junction to the East 
Entrance.
    (I) The Grand Loop Road from its junction with the East Entrance 
Road to Canyon Junction.
    (J) The South Canyon Rim Drive.
    (K) Lake Butte Road.
    (L) In the developed areas of Madison Junction, Old Faithful, Grant 
Village, West Thumb, Lake, Fishing Bridge, Canyon, Indian Creek, and 
Norris.
    (M) Cave Falls Road.
    (N) For the winter of 2011-2012 only, snowmobiles may be used on 
the following routes between noon and 9 p.m. each day: Firehole Canyon 
Drive, North Canyon Rim Drive, and Riverside Drive.
    (ii) The Superintendent may open or close these routes, or portions 
thereof, for snowmobile travel after taking into consideration the 
location of wintering wildlife, appropriate snow cover, public safety, 
avalanche conditions, and other factors. Notice of such opening or 
closing will be provided by one or more of the methods listed in 36 CFR 
1.7(a).
    (iii) This paragraph (l)(7) also applies to non-administrative 
oversnow vehicle use by NPS employees, contractors, or concessioner 
employees, or other non-recreational users authorized by the 
Superintendent.
    (iv) Maps detailing the designated oversnow routes will be 
available from Park Headquarters.
    (8) What routes are designated for snowcoach use? (i) Authorized 
snowcoaches may be operated on the routes designated for snowmobile use 
in paragraphs (l)(7)(i)(A) through (l)(7)(i)(L) of this section. 
Snowcoaches may also be operated on the following additional oversnow 
route:
    (A) For rubber-tracked snowcoaches only, the Grand Loop Road from 
Upper Terrace Drive to the junction of the Grand Loop Road and North 
Entrance Road, and within the Mammoth Hot Springs developed area.
    (B) For the winter of 2011-2012 only, snowcoaches may be used on 
the following routes: Firehole Canyon Drive, North Canyon Rim Drive, 
Riverside Drive, Fountain Flat Road, and the Grand Loop Road from 
Canyon Junction to Washburn Hot Springs overlook.
    (ii) The Superintendent may open or close these oversnow routes, or 
portions thereof, or designate new routes for snowcoach travel after 
taking into consideration the location of wintering wildlife, 
appropriate snow cover, public safety, and other factors. Notice of 
such opening or closing shall be provided by one of more of the methods 
listed in 36 CFR 1.7(a).
    (iii) This paragraph (l)(8) also applies to non-administrative 
snowcoach use by NPS employees, contractors, concessioner employees, or 
other non-recreational users authorized by the Superintendent.
    (9) Must I travel with a commercial guide while snowmobiling in 
Yellowstone and what other guiding requirements apply? (i) All 
recreational snowmobile operators must be accompanied by a commercial 
guide.
    (ii) Snowmobile parties must travel in a group of no more than 11 
snowmobiles, including that of the guide.
    (iii) Guided parties must travel together within a maximum of one-
third mile of the first snowmobile in the group.
    (iv) The guiding requirements described in this paragraph (l)(9) do 
not apply to snowmobiles being operated on the Cave Falls Road.
    (10) Are there limits established for the number of snowmobiles and 
snowcoaches permitted to operate in the park each day? The number of 
snowmobiles and snowcoaches allowed to operate in the park each day is 
limited to a certain number. Allocations may be shared among authorized 
guides between entrances or location. The limits will vary by day in 
accordance with the limits listed in the following table:

[[Page 39061]]



                                                             Table 1 to Sec.   7.13(l)(10)--Daily Snowmobile and Snowcoach Limits *
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                              Level A                         Level B                         Level C                         Level D
                                                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                     Park entrance/location                        Commercially    Commercially    Commercially    Commercially    Commercially    Commercially    Commercially    Commercially
                                                                      guided          guided          guided          guided          guided          guided          guided          guided
                                                                    snowmobiles     snowcoaches     snowmobiles     snowcoaches     snowmobiles     snowcoaches     snowmobiles     snowcoaches
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(i) North Entrance..............................................              11              12            0-11               8            0-11               6            0-11              12
(ii) West Entrance..............................................             176              36             110              22              66              12              66              36
(iii) South Entrance............................................             110              14              66               8              44               6              44              14
(iv) East Entrance..............................................              22               2            0-22             0-2            0-11               0            0-11               2
(v) Old Faithful................................................              11              16              11              10            0-11               6            0-11              16
(vi) Cave Falls **..............................................              50               0              50               0              50               0              50               0
                                                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Totals (without Cave Falls).................................             330              80         187-220           48-50         110-143              30         110-143              80
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* For the winter of 2011-2012 only, the following snowmobile allocations are in effect: West Entrance, 160; South Entrance, 114; East Entrance, 20; North Entrance, 12; and Old Faithful, 12.
  The following snowcoach allocations will apply in 2011-2012 only: West Entrance, 34; South Entrance, 13; East Entrance, 2; North Entrance, 13; and Old Faithful, 16.
** These snowmobiles operate on an approximately 1-mile segment of road within the park where the use is incidental to other snowmobiling activities in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest.
  These snowmobiles do not need to be guided or to meet NPS air and sound emissions requirements.

    (11) How will I know when I can operate a snowmobile or snowcoach 
in the park? The Superintendent will:
    (i) Determine operating hours, dates, and use levels.
    (ii) The public will be notified of operating hours, dates, use 
levels and any applicable changes through one or more of the methods 
listed in Sec.  1.7(a) of this chapter.
    (iii) Except for emergency situations, any changes to the operating 
hours, dates, and use levels will be made on an annual basis.
    (12) What other conditions apply to the operation of oversnow 
vehicles? (i) The following are prohibited:
    (A) Idling an oversnow vehicle for more than 5 minutes at any one 
time.
    (B) Driving an oversnow vehicle while the driver's motor vehicle 
license or privilege is suspended or revoked.
    (C) Allowing or permitting an unlicensed driver to operate an 
oversnow vehicle.
    (D) Driving an oversnow vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for 
the safety of persons, property, or park resources or otherwise in a 
reckless manner.
    (E) Operating an oversnow vehicle without a lighted white headlamp 
and red taillight.
    (F) Operating an oversnow vehicle that does not have brakes in good 
working order.
    (G) The towing of persons on skis, sleds, or other sliding devices 
by oversnow vehicles, except in emergency situations.
    (ii) The following are required:
    (A) All oversnow vehicles that stop on designated routes must pull 
over to the far right and next to the snow berm. Pullouts must be used 
where available and accessible. Oversnow vehicles may not be stopped in 
a hazardous location or where the view might be obscured, or operated 
so slowly as to interfere with the normal flow of traffic.
    (B) Oversnow vehicle drivers must possess a valid motor vehicle 
driver's license. A learner's permit does not satisfy this requirement. 
The license must be carried by the driver at all times.
    (C) Equipment sleds towed by a snowmobile must be pulled behind the 
snowmobile and fastened to the snowmobile with a rigid hitching 
mechanism.
    (D) Snowmobiles must be properly registered and display a valid 
registration from a state or province in the United States or Canada, 
respectively.
    (iii) The Superintendent may impose other terms and conditions as 
necessary to protect park resources, visitors, or employees. The public 
will be notified of any changes through one or more methods listed in 
Sec.  1.7(a) of this chapter.
    (iv) This paragraph (l)(12) also applies to non-administrative 
oversnow vehicle use by NPS employees, contractors, or concessioner 
employees, or other non-recreational users authorized by the 
Superintendent.
    (13) What conditions apply to alcohol use while operating an 
oversnow vehicle? In addition to 36 CFR 4.23, the following conditions 
apply:
    (i) Operating or being in actual physical control of an oversnow 
vehicle is prohibited when the driver is under 21 years of age and the 
alcohol concentration in the driver's blood or breath is 0.02 grams or 
more of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood or 0.02 grams or more of 
alcohol per 210 liters of breath.
    (ii) Operating or being in actual physical control of an oversnow 
vehicle is prohibited when the driver is a snowmobile guide or a 
snowcoach driver and the alcohol concentration in the operator's blood 
or breath is 0.04 grams or more of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood 
or 0.04 grams or more of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.
    (iii) This paragraph (1)(13) also applies to non-administrative 
oversnow vehicle use by NPS employees, contractors, or concessioner 
employees, or other non-recreational users authorized by the 
Superintendent.
    (14) Do other NPS regulations apply to the use of oversnow 
vehicles? (i) The use of oversnow vehicles in Yellowstone is subject to 
Sec. Sec.  2.18(a) and (c), but not subject to Sec. Sec.  2.18(b), (d), 
(e), and 2.19(b) of this chapter.
    (ii) This paragraph (l)(14) also applies to non-administrative 
oversnow vehicle use by NPS employees, contractors, concessioner 
employees, or other non-recreational users authorized by the 
Superintendent.
    (15) Are there any forms of non-motorized oversnow transportation 
allowed in the park?
    (i) Non-motorized travel consisting of skiing, skating, 
snowshoeing, or walking is permitted unless otherwise restricted under 
this section or other NPS regulations.
    (ii) The Superintendent may designate areas of the park as closed, 
reopen previously closed areas, or establish terms and conditions for 
non-motorized travel within the park in order to protect visitors, 
employees, or park resources. Notice will be made in accordance with 
Sec.  1.7(a) of this chapter.
    (iii) Dog sledding and ski-joring (a skier being pulled by a dog, 
horse or vehicle) are prohibited. Bicycles, including bicycles modified 
for oversnow travel, are not allowed on oversnow routes in Yellowstone.
    (16) May I operate a snowplane in Yellowstone National Park? The 
operation of a snowplane in Yellowstone is prohibited.
    (17) Is violating any of the provisions of this section prohibited? 
Violating any of the terms, conditions or requirements

[[Page 39062]]

of paragraphs (l)(1) through (l)(16) of this section is prohibited.
* * * * *

    Dated: May 9, 2011.
Will Shafroth,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 2011-16786 Filed 7-1-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-CT-P