[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 199 (Monday, October 15, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 62476-62479]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-25138]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

National Park Service

36 CFR Part 7

[NPS-SLBE-10552; 6620-SZM]
RIN 1024-AE11


Special Regulations; Areas of the National Park System, Sleeping 
Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Bicycling

AGENCY: National Park Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: The National Park Service proposes to designate the Sleeping 
Bear Heritage Trail currently under construction within Sleeping Bear 
Dunes National Lakeshore as a route for bicycle use. The approximately 
27-mile-long trail will generally parallel major state highways and 
offer visitors safe, non-motorized access to the park. National Park 
Service general regulations require promulgation of a special 
regulation to designate routes for bicycle use outside developed areas 
or off park roads.

DATES: Comments must be received by December 14, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may submit your comments, identified by Regulation 
Identifier Number (RIN), by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     Mail or Hand Deliver to: Superintendent's Office, Sleeping 
Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, 9922 Front Street, Empire, Michigan 
49630.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Phil Akers, Chief Ranger, Sleeping 
Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, 231-326-5135, or at 9922 Front Street, 
Empire, Michigan 49630.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (SLBE or Lakeshore) was 
established in 1970 ``for the benefit, inspiration, education, 
recreation, and enjoyment of the public.'' (16 U.S.C. 460x). SLBE's 
enabling legislation requires the National Park Service (NPS) to 
``administer and protect [the Lakeshore] in a manner which provides for 
recreational opportunities consistent with the maximum protection of 
the natural environment within the area.'' (16 U.S.C. 460x). The 
71,000-acre Lakeshore is located in the northwest portion of Michigan's 
Lower Peninsula and encompasses a 35-mile stretch of Lake Michigan's 
eastern coastline as well as North Manitou and South Manitou islands. 
The mainland portion is located within Benzie and Leelanau counties. 
The Manitou Islands, in Leelanau County, are located to the northwest 
in Lake Michigan, about seven miles from the shore. The nearest city is 
Traverse City, Michigan (population 15,000), located 30 miles east of 
the Lakeshore. Smaller communities such as Empire, Glen Arbor, and 
Frankfort are closer.
    Named after a complex of coastal sand dunes, the Lakeshore features 
white sand beaches, steep bluffs reaching as high as 450 feet above 
Lake Michigan, thick maple and beech forests, and clear inland lakes. 
The Lakeshore's most notable features--the ancient sand dunes--are 
products of wind, ice, and water action over thousands of years. The 
high, perched dunes afford spectacular views across Lake Michigan and 
of other glacially formed landscapes. The contrast between the open, 
sunny environment of the dunes and the adjacent lush beech-maple 
forests is striking.
    The Robert H. Manning Memorial Lighthouse, three former U.S. Life-
Saving Service/Coast Guard stations, several coastal villages, and 
picturesque farmsteads reflect the Lakeshore's rich maritime, 
agricultural, and recreational history. The region surrounding the 
Lakeshore is a popular vacation and summer home destination. SLBE 
offers visitors recreational activities such as hiking, backpacking, 
kayaking, cross-country skiing, backcountry camping, hunting, fishing, 
and boating.
    Over 1.1 million people visit the Lakeshore annually. SLBE's main 
visitor attractions include the Dune Climb (330,000+ visitors/year), 
Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive (430,000 visitors/year), and the Visitor 
Center (130,000+ visitors/year). Traffic and parking congestion are a 
concern at these locations. A multi-use trail connecting the main 
visitor destinations would help relieve these traffic concerns while 
simultaneously enhancing visitor access to a variety of recreational 
activities.

History of Bicycle Use

    Currently, bicycling within SLBE is allowed only on a lane shared 
with motor vehicles on Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive and on the road 
shoulders of state highways (M-22 and M-109) and county roads than run 
through the Lakeshore.

The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail

    The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail (SBHT) will be a hard-surfaced, 
approximately 27-mile-long trail from the southern Leelanau County line 
at Manning Road to County Road 651 at

[[Page 62477]]

Good Harbor Beach. The trail will be separated from the roadway 
wherever possible, providing a safe, non-motorized route connecting the 
Lakeshore's main visitor destinations with neighboring communities in 
Glen Arbor and Empire. Construction of the first segment of the trail 
was completed in June 2012, with the remainder to be constructed over a 
period of approximately 10 years. The route will generally parallel 
state highways M-22 and M-109, but will occasionally depart from these 
rights-of-way to take advantage of other existing corridors, such as 
old logging trails and a narrow gauge railbed. By using other disturbed 
areas whenever feasible, the location of the SBHT will minimize 
disturbance to Lakeshore resources. The SBHT will be located entirely 
on public lands within the Lakeshore.
    Moving bicycle traffic off roads used by motor vehicles will reduce 
safety hazards and enhance opportunities for non-motorized enjoyment of 
the Lakeshore. It will also encourage the use of alternate means of 
transportation by park employees and park visitors to access these 
extremely popular areas. The SBHT will give bicyclists, walkers, 
runners, wheelchair users, rollerbladers, and cross-country skiers a 
safe, enjoyable, and healthy way to access and explore the Lakeshore.
    Maps depicting the planned trail route including the completed 
first segment are available for review in the office of the 
Superintendent and on the Lakeshore's Web site at http://www.nps.gov/slbe/parkmgmt/planning.htm.

Trail Planning and Environmental Analyses

    The idea for a multi-use trail came from the Leelanau Scenic 
Heritage Route Committee (LSHR), which was created by the State of 
Michigan to preserve the historical integrity and safety of state 
highways M-22, M-109, and M-204. The LSHR is a broad partnership with 
representatives from 12 municipalities, the Lakeshore, the Michigan 
Department of Transportation, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and 
Chippewa Indians, the Leelanau Conservancy, the Leelanau County Road 
Commission, the Leelanau County Planning Commission, chambers of 
commerce, interested organizations, and citizens.
    Planning for the trail began in 2005 when the LSHR suggested the 
concept to the NPS. In 2006, the LSHR created a Trailway Work Group to 
develop a multi-use trail along the M-22 and M-109 corridor in the 
Lakeshore. The Work Group included representatives of SLBE, the 
Michigan Department of Transportation, local townships and villages, 
and other interested groups and citizens. Through the LSHR, the public 
had many opportunities for involvement in planning the SBHT. The public 
provided input and review at various meetings and activities, including 
over 25 LSHR Committee meetings and 15 Trailway Work Group meetings 
from 2005 to 2008, and Port Oneida Days at the Lakeshore in August 2006 
and 2007. In 2006 the LSHR staff also made introductory presentations 
to local governments, with follow-up presentations made in 2008.
    The multi-use trail concept, including bicycle use, and the trail 
route were considered in the preferred alternative of SLBE's October 
2008 Final General Management Plan/Wilderness Study/Environmental 
Impact Statement (GMP/EIS) and Record of Decision (ROD) signed by the 
NPS SLBE Superintendent and NPS Mid-West Regional Director in January 
2009. In March 2009, SLBE published the Leelanau Scenic Heritage Route 
Trailway Plan and Environmental Assessment (EA) which evaluated the 
environmental impacts of a no-action alterative and two action 
alternatives, including one identified as the preferred alternative.
    The Leelanau Scenic Heritage Trailway route was named the Sleeping 
Bear Heritage Trail, and in August 2009, the NPS SLBE Superintendent 
and NPS Mid-West Regional Director signed a Finding of No Significant 
Impact (FONSI). The FONSI identified the preferred alternative as the 
selected action and concluded that the construction of the multi-use 
trail, which would include bicycle use, would not have a significant 
effect on the human environment. The GMP/EIS, ROD, EA, FONSI, and 
related documents may be viewed on the Lakeshore's planning Web site at 
 http://www.nps.gov/slbe/parkmgmt/planning.htm.

Proposed Rule

    The SBHT will generally be constructed in M-22/M-109 and county 
road rights-of-way, and primarily within developed area zones as 
described in the Lakeshore's GMP. However, the trail route will 
occasionally deviate from the highway corridor and outside of developed 
areas as previously described in this rule, to provide access to 
natural, cultural, and recreation resources, and to promote a broader 
variety of experiences for the trailway user. Therefore SLBE is 
pursuing promulgation of a special regulation for bicycle use, as 
required by 36 CFR 4.30.
    Accordingly, the proposed rule would add a new paragraph to 36 CFR 
7.80, designating the proposed 27-mile-long SBHT as a route for bicycle 
use. The proposed rule also grants the Superintendent the authority to 
impose closures or restrictions upon bicycle use on designated trails 
after taking into consideration public health and safety, resource 
protection, and other management activities and objectives, provided 
public notice is given under 36 CFR 1.7.
    The NPS now seeks comments on its proposal to designate this as a 
route for bicycle use. The construction of the SBHT as a multi-use 
trail, as stated above, was a separate decision and is not at issue in 
this proposal.

Compliance With Other Laws and Executive Orders

Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Orders 12866 and 13563)

    Executive Order 12866 provides that the Office of Information and 
Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) will review all significant rules. OIRA 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 entitled ``Cost-Benefit and Regulatory Flexibility Analyses 
Leelanau Scenic Heritage Route Trailway, Sleeping Bear Dunes National 
Lakeshore'' (NPS Environmental Quality Division--May 2012), available 
for review at http://www.nps.gov/slbe/parkmgmt/planning.htm.

[[Page 62478]]

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. The 
rule would not require fees, or involve other measures that would 
increase costs to visitors or businesses. Rather, this rule would 
reasonably increase Lakeshore visitation and thereby generate benefits 
for businesses through increased visitor spending.

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. 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. The rule will not deny 
any property owner beneficial uses, or reduce the value, of their land. 
No taking of property will occur as a result of this rule. A takings 
implication assessment is not required.

Federalism (Executive Order 13132)

    Under the criteria in section 1 of Executive Order 13132, the rule 
does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the 
preparation of a Federalism summary impact statement. This proposed 
rule only affects use of NPS administered lands and waters. It has no 
outside effects on other areas. 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 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.
    Representatives of the five Indian tribes affiliated with SLBE were 
consulted during the evaluation of the trail concept and route in the 
preparation of the GMP/EIS. Representatives of the nearest affiliated 
tribe, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, are 
members of the LSHR that proposed the trail and helped to prepare the 
EA.

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 GMP/EIS, 
EA, FONSI, and related documents may be viewed on the Lakeshore's 
planning Web site http://www.nps.gov/slbe/parkmgmt/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.

Clarity of This Regulation

    We are required by Executive Orders 12866 (section 1(b)(12)) and 
12988 (section 3(b)(1)(B)), and 13563 (section 1(a), 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 common, everyday words and clear language rather than 
jargon;
    (d) Be divided into short sections and sentences; and
    (e) Use lists and tables wherever possible.
    If you feel that 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 feel lists or tables would be useful, 
etc.
    Drafting Information: The primary authors of this regulation were 
Tom Ulrich, Deputy Superintendent, Sleeping Bear Dunes National 
Lakeshore, Michael Tiernan, Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of 
the Interior, Washington, DC, A.J. North, Jay P. Calhoun, and Rose 
Wilkinson, NPS Regulations and Special Park Uses, Washington, DC.

Public Participation

    It is the policy of NPS, whenever practicable, to afford the public 
an opportunity to participate in the rulemaking process. Accordingly, 
interested parties may submit written comments, suggestions, or 
objections regarding this proposed rule to the addresses noted at the 
beginning of this rule.

Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, email 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 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 set forth below:

[[Page 62479]]

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, 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).

    2. In Sec.  7.80 add paragraph (c) to read as follows:


Sec.  7.80  Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

* * * * *
    (c) Bicycling. (1) The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, approximately 
27 miles in length from the southern Leelanau County line at Manning 
Road to County Road 651 at Good Harbor Beach, is designated as a route 
for bicycle use.
    (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.

Rachel Jacobson,
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 2012-25138 Filed 10-12-12; 8:45 am]
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