[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 191 (Tuesday, October 2, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 60050-60053]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-24231]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

National Park Service

36 CFR Part 7

[NPS-SAGU-10884; 8671-0004-SZM]
RIN 1024-AE08


Special Regulations; Areas of the National Park System, Saguaro 
National Park, Bicycling

AGENCY: National Park Service, Interior.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: This rule designates the Hope Camp Trail as a route for 
bicycle use and allows for management of bicycle use within Saguaro 
National Park. Further, the rule meets the provision of the National 
Park Service general regulation pertaining to bicycles requiring 
promulgation of a special regulation to designate bicycle routes 
outside of developed areas.

DATES: This rule is effective November 1, 2012.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Darla Sidles, Superintendent, Saguaro 
National Park, (520) 733-5101.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

Legislation and Purposes of Saguaro National Park

    In 1933, in order to protect lands with exceptional growth of 
various species of cacti, including the so-called giant or saguaro 
cactus, President Herbert Hoover established what would later be known 
as Saguaro National Monument through Proclamation No. 2032 (47 Stat. 
2557). In 1961 President John F. Kennedy enlarged the national monument 
to include certain lands in what was then known as the Tucson Mountain 
Park through Proclamation No. 3439 (76 Stat. 1437). In 1976 Congress 
designated 71,400 acres of the national monument as wilderness (Pub. L. 
94-567, 90 Stat. 2692, 2693). Then, in 1991, through the Saguaro 
National Monument Expansion Act of 1991, Congress authorized the 
addition of approximately 3,540 acres of lands to the Rincon Unit of 
the national monument (Pub. L. 102-61, 105 Stat. 303). Finally in 1994, 
through the Saguaro National Park Establishment Act of 1994, Congress 
again expanded the park area and renamed it Saguaro National Park 
(Park) (Pub. L. 103-364, 108 Stat. 3467, codified at 16 U.S.C. 410zz 
through 410zz-3).
    The Park is an important national resource visited by approximately 
700,000 people annually. It encompasses approximately 91,450 acres, 
71,400 acres of which are designated as wilderness. The Park has two 
Districts--the Rincon Mountain District east of Tucson and the Tucson 
Mountain District west of Tucson. Both are within Pima County, Arizona, 
and are separated by the city of Tucson. The Park protects a superb 
example of the Sonoran Desert ecosystem, featuring exceptional stands 
of saguaro cacti. The saguaro is the tallest cactus in the United 
States, and is recognized worldwide as an icon of the American 
Southwest.
    The Hope Camp Trail is a 2.8-mile-long hiking and equestrian trail 
that originates at the Loma Alta Trailhead and travels east through the 
southwestern portion of the Park's Rincon Mountain District to the 
Arizona State Trust Lands boundary beyond Hope Camp. The trail 
generally traverses relatively even terrain and rolling hills and is 
lined with a variety and abundance of desert trees and shrubs. The 
trail is not within eligible, proposed, recommended, or designated 
wilderness.
    Prior to the National Park Service (NPS) acquisition in the mid 
1990s, the land was part of a privately-owned ranch, and the trail 
route was a graded dirt road used to support ranching operations. The 
former owner also allowed the route to be used for recreational 
purposes, including hiking, equestrian, and bicycle use. Shortly after 
acquiring the land, the NPS closed the route to motor vehicles and 
bicycles. The trail is currently open to hiker and equestrian use only. 
Although closed to vehicular traffic, the route remains approximately 
14 feet wide, allowing adequate room for two-way passage of diverse 
user groups.

General Management Plan

    The Park's General Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement 
(GMP) was completed in 2008. The GMP may be viewed online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/sagu.
    The purposes of the GMP are as follows:
     Confirm the purpose, significance, and special mandates of 
the Park.
     Clearly define resource conditions and visitor uses and 
experiences to be achieved at the Park.
     Provide a framework for NPS managers to use when making 
decisions about how to:
    [cir] Best protect Park resources;
    [cir] Provide quality visitor uses and experiences; and
    [cir] Manage visitor uses and what kinds of facilities, if any, to 
develop in/near the Park.
     Ensure that a foundation for decision making has been 
developed in consultation with interested stakeholders and adopted by 
NPS leadership after an adequate analysis of the benefits, impacts, and 
economic cost of alternative courses of action.
    The GMP identifies six different management zones, which are 
specific descriptions of desired conditions for Park resources and 
visitor experiences in different areas of the Park. As identified in 
the GMP, the Hope Camp Trail lies within the Natural Zone. Under the 
GMP, activities within the Natural Zone would include hiking, horseback 
riding, running, bicycling, and viewing flora and fauna. The zone

[[Page 60051]]

is available for day use only, and visitors are required to stay on 
trails. The GMP provides that bicycling opportunities will be explored 
along the Hope Camp Trail.

Comprehensive Trails Management Plan/Environmental Assessment

    In November 2005, the Park initiated the development of a 
Comprehensive Trails Management Plan/Environmental Assessment (Plan/EA) 
for the Park. Internal scoping occurred with Park staff, planning 
professionals from the NPS Intermountain Support Office, along with 
representatives from the U.S. Forest Service and the Sonoran Institute. 
External scoping included mailing and distribution of three separate 
newsletters, four public open house meetings, and a 60-day public 
comment period. As a result of this process, four alternatives for the 
Park's Rincon Mountain District (including a no action alternative) 
were identified for public comments. Two alternatives called for 
converting the Hope Camp Trail into a multi-use trail, to include the 
use of bicycles, and two alternatives kept the trail open to hikers and 
equestrians only. During the public comment period on the draft Plan/
EA, the NPS considered 253 pieces of correspondence, containing a total 
of 638 comments on the draft Plan/EA alternatives.
    The objectives of the Plan/EA were to:
     Prevent impairment and unacceptable impacts on natural and 
cultural resources.
     Provide reasonable access to the trails network and 
trailheads.
     Eliminate unnecessary and parallel/duplicate trails.
     Ensure that the resulting trails network is safe and 
maintainable.
     Provide for a clearly designated trail system.
     Provide for a variety of trail experiences.
    The Plan/EA was completed in 2009. The selected alternative and the 
Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) signed by the NPS 
Intermountain Regional Director on July 31, 2009, calls for converting 
the Hope Camp Trail to a multi-use trail, including bicycling. The 
Plan/EA and FONSI may be viewed online at http://www.nps.gov/sagu/parkmgmt/park-planning.htm.

History of Bicycle Use

    A 2003 rulemaking authorized bicycle use on the 2.5-mile-long 
Cactus Forest Trail that bisects the paved, 8-mile-long Cactus Forest 
Loop Drive in the Rincon Mountain District of the Park. This rulemaking 
does not address the Cactus Forest Trail (CFT), which remains open to 
bicycle use, as well as hiker and equestrian use. The CFT has recently 
been used to introduce underserved youth to the Park and the NPS via 
bicycling and educational fieldtrips as part of the ``Trips for Kids'' 
program. Currently, this is the only trail in the Park open to bicycle 
use.

Authorizing Bicycle Use

    This rule designates as a bicycle route and opens to bicycle use 
the approximate 2.8-mile-long Hope Camp Trail, from the Loma Alta 
Trailhead east to the Arizona State Trust Lands boundary, approximately 
.2 miles beyond Hope Camp. Park staff, volunteer organizations, and 
local interest groups will monitor and mitigate the environmental 
impacts of bicycle use on the Hope Camp Trail to ensure that the trail 
is maintained in good condition and that any issues of concern that may 
arise are immediately brought to the attention of Park management.

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

    On March 2, 2012, the NPS published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking 
for the designation of the Hope Camp Trail as a bicycle route within 
Saguaro National Park (77 FR 12761). The proposed rule was available 
for a 60-day public comment period, from March 2, 2012 through May 1, 
2012.

Summary of and Responses to Public Comment

    Comments were accepted through the mail, by hand delivery, and 
through the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. The 
NPS received 148 public comments during the comment period. Of these 
responses, 142 expressed support for the proposed rule. Three of the 
responses were from organizations, and the rest were from individuals. 
The three organizations that responded, all in support of the proposed 
regulation, are the Southern Arizona Hiking Club, Arizona Trail 
Association, and International Mountain Bicycling Association. There 
were no responses received from organizations in opposition of the 
proposed rule.
    Some of the 142 comments received supporting the proposed include:
    1. Comment: I support the proposed regulation to allow bicycles on 
Hope Camp Trail in Saguaro National Park. The special regulation to 
allow bicycles on the Hope Camp Trail should be promulgated because:
    (a) Bicycles were allowed on this dirt road before the property was 
acquired by the NPS;
    (b) Bicycle access on Hope Camp trail is not controversial because 
the area is not recommended or designated as Wilderness;
    (c) Bicycle access is consistent with the 2009 Comprehensive Trails 
Management Plan; and
    (d) The Hope Camp trail provides a vital connection between Tucson 
and the Arizona Trail.
    Having this connectivity would allow riders to use the City of 
Tucson as a starting or ending destination when riding the southern 
sections of the Arizona Trial that head south into the Rincon Valley. 
The Arizona Trail Association is working to find a route that will 
allow cyclists to also travel north from Tucson.
    2. Comment: This is a chance to advance an important principle that 
bicycles are a low-impact recreational opportunity that is compatible 
with the mission of the National Park Service.
    3. Comment: In regards to the opening of the trail connecting 
Saguaro National Park, Hope, and the Arizona Trail--I am in complete 
support of the change of trail designation to include full multi-use, 
including hikers, equestrian, and mountain bicycles (no motorized 
vehicles). I have hiked on this trail, as well as helping to work on it 
during its very early stages. It will make a vital connection to the 
Arizona trail for those trail users who enjoy longer excursions into 
the surrounding area. Also, a significant amount of the proposed 
section of trail is laid on established right of ways, actually being 
bladed. A review of trails in the surrounding area will confirm that 
multi-use trails can and do exist very well, allowing an expanded 
number of users with minimal impact on the natural resources. Please 
make this change in designation.
    The five comments received in opposition of the proposed rule, 
along with the NPS response, to each follow:
    1. Comment: I am NOT in favor of opening the Hope Camp Trail to 
bicycle use until such time as the trailhead parking area, which I 
understand is Pima County property, is improved to safely accommodate 
the additional parking without further damaging the surrounding natural 
resource.
    Response: The NPS agrees that trailhead improvements are needed at 
the Hope Camp Trailhead. The park's GMP calls for re-designing and 
improving the Camino Loma Alta trailhead. The current trailhead and 
access road are on Pima County property. The NPS is working with Pima 
County to transfer ownership to the NPS. Pima County has also expressed 
interest in partnering with the park to re-design and improve the Loma 
Alta Trailhead.

[[Page 60052]]

    2. Comment: As an avid mountain biker, I am always happy to see new 
access to challenging and scenic land. However, this proposal is an 
exception, in that this trail will bring mountain bikers much too close 
to sites of historic and archaeological value. Therefore, I oppose this 
re-designation, and hope that you decide not to allow bicycle access.
    Response: While there are areas of historic and archaeological 
interest along the Hope Camp area, the NPS believes the return of 
bicyclists to this pre-existing route will not lead to degradation of 
these resources. The Hope and Deer Camp areas provide a great 
opportunity to interpret the Park's ranching heritage; however, an 
evaluation by the Arizona State Historic Preservation Office found they 
are not eligible for listing on the National Registry of Historic 
Places.
    3. Comment: I oppose any mountain bike trails within Saguaro 
National Park. I believe that bike use on trails within this park is 
incompatible with the visitors' expectations of a trail experience 
within a national park.
    Response: The Park completed its GMP in 2008. The GMP's preferred 
alternative identified the Hope Camp Trail, an area determined not 
suitable for wilderness designation, for conversion to a multi-use 
trail. Subsequently, the Plan/EA completed in 2009, also identified 
conversion of the Hope Camp Trail as a multi-use trail. Numerous public 
meetings were held for both plans, and both plans were published for 
60-day review and comment periods. Public interest in these planning 
processes was high, and the park received many comments, but none 
expressed concern that bicycle use was incompatible with visitor 
experience. The NPS is committed to providing appropriate, high quality 
opportunities for visitors to enjoy the units of the National Park 
System, consistent with the agencies stewardship responsibilities. In 
2005, the NPS entered into a General Agreement with the International 
Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA). This agreement is the 
culmination of collaborative efforts of both parties to provide high 
quality bicycling opportunities for visitors to enjoy the national park 
system, in appropriate areas in a manner consistent with our 
stewardship responsibilities. Mountain biking is also compatible with 
national programs such as the First Lady's ``Let's Move Outside'' 
initiative that encourages kids to get outside and be more physically 
active, as well as with many NPS efforts promoting Healthy People, 
Healthy Parks.
    4. Comment: This proposal would lead to significant changes to the 
trail experience in this portion of Saguaro National Park that will 
negatively impact hikers, equestrians, wildlife, and will reduce 
solitude and wilderness-like aesthetics that are long-standing 
attributes in this area and the primary draw for visitors over the 
years. Most egregiously, it will also lead to renegade use by cyclists 
of the Quilter Trail leading into the Saguaro Wilderness, due to 
unregulated access and a lack of enforcement.
    Response: While there may be changes to trail experiences, the NPS 
believes bicycle use is compatible to the trail's current users. For 
all park trails connecting to the Hope Camp Trail, including the 
Quilter Trail, use of bicycles will continue to be prohibited. 
Appropriate signing will be installed and NPS rangers and volunteers 
will patrol these trails and enforce NPS regulations.
    5. Comment: I find it simply wrong to take away this set of trails 
for only bicycle use, leaving equestrian trail riders and hikers off 
limits. To me, this would be inappropriate use and a major limitation 
of this area so a select few can enjoy it.
    Response: The Final Rule does not limit the Hope Camp Trail to 
bicycle use only. Instead, the trail will become a multi-use trail 
allowing hiking, equestrian, and bicycle use.
    One comment received was not relevant to the rule and therefore was 
not considered.

Changes From the Proposed Rule

    Paragraph (a)(2)(ii) was added to clarify that violating a closure, 
condition, or restriction established by the Superintendent under 
paragraph (a)(2) is prohibited.

Compliance With Other Laws, Executive Orders, and Department Policy

 Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Orders 12866 and 13563)

    Executive Order 12866 provides that the Office of Information and 
Regulatory Affairs will review all significant rules. The Office of 
Information and Regulatory Affairs has determined that this rule is not 
significant.
    Executive Order 13563 reaffirms the principles of Executive Order 
12866 while calling for improvements in the nation's regulatory system 
to promote predictability, to reduce uncertainty, and to use the best, 
most innovative, and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory 
ends. The executive order directs agencies to consider regulatory 
approaches that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of 
choice for the public where these approaches are relevant, feasible, 
and consistent with regulatory objectives. Executive Order 13563 
emphasizes further that regulations must be based on the best available 
science and that the rulemaking process must allow for public 
participation and an open exchange of ideas. We have developed this 
rule in a manner consistent with these requirements.

Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA)

    This rule will not have a significant economic effect on a 
substantial number of small entities under the RFA (5 U.S.C. 601 et 
seq.). This certification is based on information contained in the 
report titled, ``Cost-Benefit and Regulatory Flexibility Analyses for 
Designating Bicycle Trails in Saguaro National Park'' that is available 
for review at http://www.nps.gov/sagu/parkmgmt/park-planning.htm.

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.
    There are no businesses in the surrounding area economically 
dependent on bicycle use of this trail. The park does not have any 
bicycle rental concessioners, and current users are predominantly 
individuals engaged in recreational activities.

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. A statement 
containing the information required by the UMRA (2 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) 
is not required.

Takings (Executive Order 12630)

    Under the criteria in section 2 of Executive Order 12630, this rule 
does not have significant takings implications. A taking implications

[[Page 60053]]

assessment is not required because this rule will not deny any private 
property owner of beneficial uses of their land, nor will it 
significantly reduce their land's value. No taking of personal property 
will occur as a result of this rule.

Federalism (Executive Order 13132)

    Under the criteria in section 1 of Executive Order 13132, this rule 
does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the 
preparation of a Federalism summary impact statement. A Federalism 
summary impact statement is not required.

Civil Justice Reform (Executive Order 12988)

    This rule complies with the requirements of Executive Order 12988. 
Specifically this rule:
    (a) Meets the in 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 and Department 
Policy)

    The Department of the Interior strives to strengthen its 
government-to-government relationship with Indian tribes through a 
commitment to consultation with Indian tribes and recognition of their 
right to self-governance and tribal sovereignty. We have evaluated this 
rule under the Department's consultation policy and under the criteria 
in Executive Order 13175 and have determined that it has no substantial 
direct effects on federally recognized Indian tribes and that 
consultation under the Department's tribal consultation policy is not 
required.
    Affiliated Native American tribes were contacted by letters sent in 
December 2008 to solicit any interests or concerns with the proposed 
action. No responses were received by the Park.

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 rule does not constitute a major Federal action significantly 
affecting the quality of the human environment. A detailed statement 
under the NEPA is not required because we reached a FONSI. The Plan/EA 
and FONSI that included an evaluation of bicycling on the Hope Camp 
Trail may be viewed online at http://www.nps.gov/sagu/parkmgmt/park-planning.htm.

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.

Drafting Information

    The primary authors of this regulation are Robert Love, Chief 
Ranger, Saguaro National Park, Darla Sidles, Superintendent, Saguaro 
National Park, John Calhoun and A.J. North, NPS Regulations Program, 
Washington, DC.

List of Subjects in 36 CFR Part 7

    National Parks, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    In consideration of the foregoing, the NPS amends 36 CFR part 7 as 
set forth below:

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

0
1. The authority citation for Part 7 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1, 3, 9a, 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 (2001).


0
2. Revise Sec.  7.11(a) to read as follows:


Sec.  7.11  Saguaro National Park.

    (a) Bicycling. (1) The following trails are designated as routes 
for bicycle use:
    (i) That portion of the Cactus Forest Trail inside the Cactus 
Forest Drive; and
    (ii) The Hope Camp Trail, from the Loma Alta Trailhead east to the 
Arizona State Trust Lands boundary, located approximately .2 miles 
beyond Hope Camp.
    (2) The Superintendent may open or close designated routes, or 
portions thereof, or impose conditions or restrictions for bicycle use 
after taking into consideration public health and safety, natural and 
cultural resource protection, and other management activities and 
objectives.
    (i) The Superintendent will provide public notice of all such 
actions through one or more of the methods listed in Sec.  1.7 of this 
chapter.
    (ii) Violating a closure, condition, or restriction is prohibited.
* * * * *

    Dated: September 25, 2012.
Rachel Jacobson,
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 2012-24231 Filed 10-1-12; 8:45 am]
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