[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 73 (Tuesday, April 16, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 22470-22490]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-08893]



[[Page 22470]]

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

National Park Service

[NPS-IMR-YELL-12061] [PPWONRADE2, PMP00EI05.YP0000]

36 CFR Part 7

RIN 1024-AE15


Special Regulations; Areas of the National Park System; 
Yellowstone National Park; Winter Use

AGENCY: National Park Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: The National Park Service 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. This rule 
includes provisions that allow greater flexibility for commercial tour 
operators, provide mechanisms to make the park cleaner and quieter than 
what has been authorized during the previous four winter seasons, 
reward oversnow vehicle innovations and technologies, and allow 
increases in visitation. It also would require snowmobiles and 
snowcoaches operating in the park to meet air and sound emission 
requirements and be accompanied by a guide.

DATES: Comments must be received by June 17, 2013.
    Comments on the information collection requirements must be 
received by May 16, 2013.

ADDRESSES: If you wish to comment on this rule, you may submit your 
comments, identified by Regulation Identifier Number (RIN) 1024-AE15, 
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.
    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name 
and RIN for this rulemaking. All comments received will be posted 
without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal 
information provided. For additional instructions on submitting 
comments and additional information on the rulemaking process, see the 
Public Participation heading of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section 
of this document.
    Docket: For access to the electronic docket to read comments 
received, go to http://www.regulations.gov.
    Send your comments and suggestions on the information collection 
requirements to the Desk Officer for the Department of the Interior at 
OMB-OIRA at (202) 395-5806 (fax) or OIRA_Submission@omb.eop.gov 
(email). Please provide a copy of your comments to the Information 
Collection Clearance Officer, National Park Service, 1201 I Street NW., 
MS 1237, Washington, DC 20005 (mail); or madonna_baucum@nps.gov 
(email). Please reference OMB Control Number 1024-AE15 in the subject 
line of your comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Wade Vagias, Management Assistant's 
Office, Headquarters Building, Yellowstone National Park, 307-344-2035, 
or at the address listed in the ADDRESSES section.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Executive Summary

    This rule would establish a new and more flexible method for 
managing oversnow vehicle (OSV) access to the park.
    Under 36 CFR 2.18(c) the use of snowmobiles is prohibited in parks 
unless a special regulation allowing such use is promulgated. 
Therefore, in order to allow OSV use for the upcoming and future winter 
seasons, a special regulation must be in place. This proposed rule, 
when finalized, will authorize snowmobile and snowcoach use under Sec.  
2.18.
    Beginning with the 2014-2015 winter season, the rule would replace 
the former concept of a fixed maximum number of vehicles allowed in the 
park each day with a new, more flexible concept of transportation 
events. Within an allowable number of daily transportation events, 
commercial tour operators would have the opportunity to combine 
snowcoach and snowmobile trips in a way that protects park resources 
and provides flexibility to respond to fluctuations in visitation 
demand. By relying upon user demand to determine the best mix of OSV 
use and focusing on the impacts of OSV use upon park resources, the 
transportation event concept strikes a common-sense balance between 
allowing adequate access and protecting park resources. This rule would 
also require snowmobiles and snowcoaches to meet new sound and air 
emissions standards, established by the National Park Service (NPS) 
under the authority granted by the NPS Organic Act (16 U.S.C. 1), which 
authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to ``promote and regulate'' 
the use of national parks.
    The new approach would allow commercial tour operators to exchange 
transportation event allocations within the same entrance, adjust the 
proportion of snowcoaches or snowmobiles in the park each day, increase 
the size of snowmobile groups to meet demand on peak days, and increase 
the vehicle group size per transportation event if voluntary enhanced 
emission standards are met.
    Some specific changes in the proposed rule include:
     A transportation event would initially equal one group of 
snowmobiles (maximum group size of 10, average of 7 over the winter 
season) or one snowcoach. The group size of transportation events may 
increase from a seasonal average of 7 to 8 for snowmobiles and from a 
maximum of 1 to 2 for snowcoaches, not to exceed a seasonal average of 
1.5 snowcoaches, if commercial tour operators use vehicles that meet 
voluntary enhanced emission standards. This encourages the adoption of 
improved OSV innovations and technologies.
     Up to 110 total transportation events would be authorized 
each day. Commercial tour operators would decide whether to use their 
daily allocation for snowmobiles or snowcoaches, but no more than 50 
transportation events each day could come from snowmobiles.
     OSV use would continue to be 100% guided. For snowmobiles, 
up to 46 transportation events would be commercially guided. Four non-
commercially guided snowmobile transportation events of up to 5 
snowmobiles per group would also be permitted daily, one from each park 
entrance.
     Sound and air emission requirements for snowmobiles would 
continue unchanged until the 2017-2018 winter season, when the maximum 
allowable sound and carbon monoxide (CO) emissions would be lowered.
     Sound and air emission requirements would also begin in 
the 2017-2018 winter season for existing snowcoaches, and would apply 
to all new snowcoaches brought into service starting in the 2014-2015 
winter season.

Background

    The National Park Service (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 2013 Final Winter Use Plan/
Supplemental Environmental

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Impact Statement (final SEIS), available online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/yell, by clicking on the link entitled ``2012/2013 
Supplemental Winter Use Plan EIS,'' and then clicking on the link 
entitled ``Document List.'' Additional information about the history of 
winter use at Yellowstone National Park is available online at http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/winteruse.htm.
    The park has most recently operated under an interim winter use 
rule that was originally in effect for the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 
winter seasons. The interim rule allowed up to 318 commercially guided 
snowmobiles and 78 commercially guided snowcoaches in the park per day. 
In November 2011, the NPS released a Winter Use Plan/Final 
Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) with a preferred alternative. 
Under this alternative, the park would operate under the interim rule 
for one additional season. In December 2011, a Record of Decision (ROD) 
and final rule (76 FR 77131) were issued, implementing this one-year 
portion of the preferred alternative and extending the interim rule for 
the 2011-2012 winter season. This rule expired by its own terms on 
March 15, 2012.
    On June 29, 2012, the NPS released a Draft Winter Use Plan/
Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (draft SEIS) and published 
a Notice of Availability in the Federal Register (77 FR 38824). Public 
comment on the draft SEIS closed on August 20, 2012. The response from 
the public and stakeholders was robust. A majority of the substantive 
comments addressed the proposal in the draft SEIS's preferred 
alternative to manage snowmobiles and snowcoaches by transportation 
events. Numerous commenters requested additional time to consider this 
new management concept and to respond substantively to it. Accordingly, 
the NPS decided to reopen public comment on the draft SEIS for an 
additional 30 days. Mindful of the short amount of time left before the 
opening of the 2012-2013 winter season on December 15, 2012, and 
desiring to take the time necessary to make a reasoned long-term 
decision on winter use, the NPS decided to amend the December 2011 ROD 
and extend the interim rule for an additional year. On December 12, 
2012, the NPS published a Notice of Availability of Amended Record of 
Decision for the FEIS (77 FR 74027) and a final rule (77 FR 73919) 
extending the 2011-2012 daily entry limits and operating requirements 
for one additional winter season.
    With publication of this proposed rule, the NPS is soliciting 
public comment on a long-term rule for winter use in Yellowstone 
National Park. Implementing a long-term winter use rule will create a 
stable regulatory environment for snowmobile and snowcoach commercial 
tour operators, many of which are small businesses in the communities 
surrounding the park. A long-term rule will allow these businesses to 
make prudent decisions and capital investments, such as investing in 
new vehicles for their fleets, offering employment to area residents, 
preparing advertising and marketing materials, and purchasing equipment 
and accessories such as snowcoaches, snowmobiles, snowmobile suits, 
helmets, and boots. A long-term rule will also provide certainty to 
visitors, allowing them to make advance plans to visit the park, and 
would ensure that park resources are protected.

Final SEIS and the Preferred Alternative

    The final SEIS analyzed the issues and environmental impacts of 
four alternatives for the management of winter use in the park. Major 
issues analyzed in the final SEIS include social and economic issues, 
human health and safety, wildlife, air quality, natural soundscapes, 
visitor use and experience, and park operations. Impacts associated 
with each of the alternatives are detailed in the final SEIS, which is 
available online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/yell, by clicking on 
the link entitled ``2012/2013 Supplemental Winter Use Plan EIS'' and 
then clicking on the link entitled ``Document List.''
    Alternative 1, the no-action alternative, would prohibit public OSV 
use in Yellowstone but would allow for approved non-motorized use to 
continue. Alternative 1 has been identified as the environmentally 
preferable alternative. Alternative 2 would manage OSV use at the same 
levels as the interim rule (318 commercially guided snowmobiles and 78 
snowcoaches per day). Alternative 3 would initially allow for the same 
level of use as Alternative 2 (318 snowmobiles and 78 snowcoaches per 
day) but would transition to allowing only snowcoaches over a 3-year 
period beginning in the 2017-2018 winter season. Upon completing the 
transition, there would be zero snowmobiles and up to 120 snowcoaches 
per day in the park. The final SEIS also describes several other 
alternatives that were considered but eliminated from further study.
    The final SEIS identified Alternative 4 as the preferred 
alternative, which this rule proposes to implement. This alternative 
provides for motorized winter use while protecting park resources. 
Traveling through the park on snowmobiles and snowcoaches allows 
visitors to experience and access the park's unique and stunning winter 
landscape and access areas that cannot be reached using non-motorized 
means of transportation. The NPS believes that, through proper 
management, motorized winter use is an appropriate activity in the 
park.
    The preferred alternative:
     Manages OSV use by transportation events, prescribes air 
and sound emission requirements, and continues the 100% guiding 
requirement to help ensure that the purpose and need for the final SEIS 
are met. This will allow for increases in visitation while making the 
park cleaner and quieter than what has been allowed under the interim 
rule.
     Requires snowmobiles and snowcoaches to meet new air and 
sound emission requirements and encourages commercial tour operators to 
meet voluntary enhanced emission standards by adopting improved vehicle 
innovations and technologies.
     Contains market-based elements that give commercial tour 
operators greater flexibility to respond to fluctuations in visitation 
demand across the 91-day winter season. The rule allows commercial tour 
operators to exchange transportation event allocations within the same 
entrance, adjust the proportion of snowcoaches or snowmobiles in the 
park each day (a transportation event could be used for either 
snowmobiles or snowcoaches, but no more than 50 transportation events 
each day could come from snowmobiles), increase the size of snowmobile 
groups on peak days, and increase the size of transportation events if 
voluntary enhanced emission standards are met.
     Demonstrates the NPS commitment to monitor winter use and 
to use the results to adjust the winter use OSV management program. The 
results of past monitoring, including data regarding air quality, 
wildlife, soundscapes, and health and safety, were used in formulating 
the alternatives in the final SEIS.
     Applies the lessons of the last several winters, which 
demonstrate, among other things, that requiring all snowmobile and 
snowcoach trips to be guided reduces accidents and law enforcement 
incidents, and offers the best opportunity for achieving goals of 
protecting park resources and allowing balanced use of the park.

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Summary of the Proposed Rule

    Snowmobile and snowcoach use at Yellowstone National Park is 
referred to as oversnow vehicle or OSV use. The proposed rule is 
similar in many respects to plans and rules that have been in effect 
for the last eight winter seasons. Thus, many of the regulations 
regarding operating conditions, designated routes, and restricted hours 
of operation are similar to regulations enforced by the NPS for nearly 
a decade. One notable difference is a new proposal in this rule to 
manage OSV use by transportation events instead of placing strict 
limits on the number of OSVs allowed in the park on any day.
    Managing OSV use by transportation events gives snowcoach and 
snowmobile commercial tour operators greater flexibility, allows for 
higher numbers of visitors, and is designed to make the park cleaner 
and quieter than what has been authorized during the previous four 
winter seasons. Under the proposed rule, up to 110 transportation 
events would be allowed in the park on any day during the winter 
season. A transportation event would consist of one snowcoach or a 
group of snowmobiles (seasonal average of 7 snowmobiles per group; 
individual groups could not exceed a maximum of 10 snowmobiles) 
travelling together within the park. Commercial tour operators would be 
able to decide whether to use their allocation of transportation events 
for snowmobiles or snowcoaches, but no more than 50 transportation 
events may come from snowmobiles on any day. Incentives based upon 
voluntary enhanced emission standards would allow the size of a 
transportation event to increase from 1 to 2 snowcoaches per event, not 
to exceed a seasonal average of 1.5 snowcoaches per event, and from a 
seasonal average of 7 to 8 snowmobiles per event.
    The NPS is also proposing changes to air and sound emission 
requirements for OSVs as part of the proposed rule, in order to reduce 
impacts on park resources and help ensure the impacts from snowmobile 
and snowcoach transportation events are comparable. Managing OSV use by 
transportation events represents a shift from an approach focused on 
the number of vehicles allowed in the park to an approach focused on 
the impacts of those vehicles upon park resources. The NPS believes 
this would:
     Result in a cleaner and quieter park than what has been 
allowed under the previous four winter seasons, enhance visitor 
experience, and permit growth in the number of visitors able to 
experience the park;
     Allow for greater flexibility for commercial tour 
operators;
     Reward OSV innovations, adoption of new technologies, and 
commitment to lowering impacts from OSVs;
     Create more extended periods of limited or no OSV-related 
impacts; and
     Potentially result in an increase in vehicles and visitors 
without increasing impacts on the park.
    Another notable difference in the proposed rule concerns guiding 
requirements for snowmobiles. Although the proposed rule maintains the 
existing requirement that all snowmobile trips be guided, it reserves 
four snowmobile transportation events each day for groups of non-
commercially guided snowmobiles. All snowmobile operators taking part 
in a non-commercially guided trip would be required to comply with 
requirements under a Non-commercially Guided Snowmobile Access Program 
to be developed by the park before the start of the 2014-2015 winter 
season.

Phased Transition to New Management Paradigm

    The new management paradigm under the proposed rule would be phased 
in over five winter seasons to provide the park and commercial tour 
operators sufficient time to adjust to the new emission requirements 
and the management of OSVs by transportation events. The NPS 
specifically seeks comment on this phased transition to the new 
management paradigm and whether the proposed implantation schedule for 
the new emission requirements provides snowmobile manufacturers and 
commercial tour operators sufficient time to respond, or if the 
implementation schedule could be accelerated as described following the 
air and sound emission requirements that are discussed later in this 
rule.

Phase One (2013-2014 Season)

    A one-season transition period to prepare for the implementation of 
the new winter use plan would be in place for the 2013-2014 winter 
season to allow commercial tour operators sufficient time to prepare 
for the proposed shift to management by transportation events. During 
this transition period, provisions of the 2012-2013 interim plan would 
be extended, allowing up to 318 snowmobiles and 78 snowcoaches per day 
for the first year of the new plan only.

Phase Two (2014-2015 Through 2016-2017 Seasons)

    Starting in the 2014-2015 winter season, the park would begin 
managing OSV use by transportation events instead of daily limits. 
Sound and air emission requirements would apply to all new snowcoaches 
brought into service starting in the 2014-2015 winter season.
    In response to public comments on the draft SEIS that the NPS 
should not increase the number of snowmobiles allowed in the park 
before the new air and sound emission standards are required, the 
average size of commercially guided snowmobile transportation events 
for Phase Two (the next three winter seasons, 2014-2015 through the 
2016-2017 winter season) may not exceed 7 snowmobiles, averaged daily 
(i.e., a maximum of 322 commercially guided snowmobiles in the park per 
day, and an additional 4 non-commercially guided transportation events 
per day not to exceed 5 snowmobiles each, a maximum of 342 snowmobiles 
in total). This limit would apply to any snowmobile transportation 
event that includes a snowmobile that does not meet the new air or 
sound emission requirements that would apply to all snowmobiles 
beginning in the 2017-2018 season. Commercial tour operators would be 
allowed to have up to 10 snowmobiles per single event, provided the 
average daily event size was 7 or less. For example, a commercial tour 
operator that is allocated 3 snowmobile transportation events per day 
could meet the daily average requirement through a combination of 3 
snowmobile transportation events of 7 snowmobiles each, or 2 snowmobile 
transportation events of 8 snowmobiles each and 1 transportation event 
of 5 snowmobiles.
    However, if commercial tour operators voluntarily upgrade their 
fleets to meet the new air and sound emission standards during the 
2014-2015, 2015-2016, or 2016-2017 winter seasons (before these limits 
become mandatory in the 2017-2018 season), their group sizes will be 
more flexible. The average group size for commercially guided 
snowmobile transportation events consisting entirely of snowmobiles 
meeting the new air and sound emission requirements would be averaged 
seasonally (instead of daily), which allows greater flexibility in 
daily group sizes. A group still could not exceed the maximum group 
size of 10 snowmobiles. For example, a commercial tour operator that is 
allocated 3 snowmobile transportation events per day may have 3 groups 
of up

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to 10 snowmobiles each in a single day, provided there are smaller 
groups on other days during the winter season that bring the seasonal 
average group size to 7 or less. This would encourage voluntary early 
adoption of improved vehicle technologies that meet the new air and 
sound emission requirements, and would help ensure that impacts to park 
resources during the 2014-2015 through 2016-2017 winter seasons are 
minimized.

Phase Three (2017-2018 Season and Beyond)

    Starting with the 2017-2018 winter season, the proposed rule would 
implement all elements of the new management paradigm, including a 
requirement that all OSVs, including vehicles that had been operating 
in the park during prior seasons, meet the new air and sound emission 
requirements.

Voluntary Enhanced BAT Upgrade

    In addition to the above opportunities and requirements, the 
proposed rule offers operators an opportunity to voluntarily upgrade 
their fleets further and receive an additional OSV per transportation 
event. As of December 15, 2014, commercial tour operators may 
voluntarily upgrade their fleets to meet enhanced air and sound 
emission standards that are more stringent than the new 2017-2018 
season air and sound emission requirements described above. If these 
voluntary enhanced standards are met, the size of a transportation 
event for that commercial tour operator may increase from a seasonal 
average of 7 to 8 snowmobiles per event and from 1 to 2 snowcoaches per 
event, not to exceed a seasonal average of 1.5 snowcoaches per event.

Monitoring Will Continue

    As part of the park's adaptive management program for winter use, 
monitoring of winter visitor use and park resources would continue 
under this proposal. The park may take adaptive management actions, 
including the closure of selected areas of the park or sections of 
roads, if monitoring indicates that human presence or activities have a 
substantial effect that cannot be mitigated on wildlife or other park 
resources. A list of adaptive management actions that may be taken by 
the park is provided in Appendix D to the final SEIS. The NPS would 
provide public notice before any closure would be implemented under one 
or more of the methods listed in 36 CFR 1.7(a). The Superintendent 
would continue to have the authority under either this rule 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 emission 
standards. While the past 7 years of monitoring has shown that air 
quality has improved following implementation of air emissions 
standards for snowmobiles, the NPS believes that implementation of new 
air emission standards for snowmobiles and snowcoaches would improve 
air quality in the world's first national park (a designated Class I 
area under the Clean Air Act) even further, and will help ensure the 
impact of a snowmobile transportation event and a snowcoach 
transportation event to air quality are comparable. The NPS believes 
that snowmobile and snowcoach commercial tour operators can meet the 
air emission requirements in the proposed rule through the typical 
turnover of their fleets and that the technology to meet the new air 
emission standards for both types of OSVs is currently available in the 
commercial marketplace. One snowmobile manufacturer currently produces 
23 different snowmobile models (across three model years, 2011-2013) 
that meet the new air emission standards. However, the NPS specifically 
seeks comment on the likelihood of other manufacturers producing OSVs 
that meet the new air emission requirements by the proposed deadline, 
and any significant additional costs for commercial tour operators to 
update their fleets with compliant vehicles. The NPS also seeks 
comments from industry and other knowledgeable parties regarding the 
implementation schedule for the new emission requirements and if the 
schedule could be accelerated.
    Air and sound emission requirements for snowmobiles and snowcoaches 
in Yellowstone National Park are park entrance requirements. The 
restrictions on air and sound emissions in this rule are not 
restrictions on what manufacturers may produce, but instead are end-use 
restrictions on which commercially produced snowmobiles and snowcoaches 
may be used in the park. The NPS Organic Act (16 U.S.C. 1) authorizes 
the Secretary of the Interior to ``promote and regulate'' the use of 
national parks ``by such means and measures as conform to the 
fundamental purpose of said parks * * * which purpose is to conserve 
the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life 
therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and 
by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future 
generations.'' Further, the Secretary is expressly authorized by 16 
U.S.C. 3 to ``make and publish such rules and regulations as he may 
deem necessary or proper for the use and management of the parks.'' 
These requirements are not to be confused with Environmental Protection 
Agency (EPA) emission standards for these vehicles. The exercise of the 
NPS Organic Act authority is not an effort by the NPS to regulate 
manufacturers and is consistent with Section 310 of the Clean Air Act 
(42 U.S.C. 7610).
    During the late 1990s, when an average of 795 snowmobiles entered 
the park each day, elevated 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. There 
are no emission requirements for PM because monitoring over the past 
several winter seasons has indicated that PM levels are extremely low 
and therefore are not an issue of concern at this time. The NPS 
proposes to maintain the existing air emission requirements through the 
2016-2017 season, and then lower the emission standard for CO to 90 g/
kW-hr beginning with the 2017-2018 season. However, the NPS 
specifically seeks comment on the likelihood of snowmobile 
manufacturers producing vehicles that meet the new air emission 
requirements by the proposed deadlines, and any significant additional 
costs for commercial tour operators to update their fleets with 
compliant vehicles. The NPS also seeks comments from industry and other 
knowledgeable parties regarding the implementation schedule for the new 
emission requirements and if the schedule could be accelerated.
    The requirements in place since December 2004 have significantly 
reduced CO, PM, and HC emissions. As compared to EPA baseline emissions 
assumptions for conventional two-stroke snowmobiles, the NPS air 
emission requirements have achieved a 70% reduction in CO and a 90% 
reduction in HC. Daily use limits and guiding (which helps assure use 
of NPS-certified snowmobiles and keeps idling to a minimum) have also 
improved air quality in the park.
    All new snowmobiles manufactured for sale in the United States must 
be certified to EPA's emission standards. The NPS encourages each 
snowmobile

[[Page 22474]]

manufacturer to demonstrate that its snowmobile(s) will meet the NPS 
air emission requirements by submitting to the NPS a copy of their EPA 
applications (which include the engine's Family Emissions Limits, i.e., 
the emission levels a given snowmobile is certified as meeting) used to 
demonstrate compliance with EPA's snowmobile emission regulation at the 
same time they submit the application to EPA. The NPS would accept the 
application and information from a manufacturer, while review and 
certification by EPA is pending, in support of the NPS conditionally 
certifying a snowmobile as meeting the NPS's emission requirements. 
Should EPA certify the snowmobile at emissions levels that would no 
longer meet the NPS requirements, this snowmobile would no longer be 
considered NPS-compliant and its use in the park would be prohibited or 
phased out according to a schedule determined by the NPS. If the NPS 
does not receive a request for conditional certification, the NPS will 
rely on the emission levels determined and certified by EPA to 
determine if a NPS/Yellowstone certification is warranted.
    A snowmobile that has been modified from the manufactured design 
may increase emissions of HC and CO to greater than the proposed 
emission restrictions and therefore would not be allowed to enter the 
park. It would be the responsibility of the commercial tour operator 
and guide to ensure that a snowmobile complies with all applicable 
restrictions. A snowmobile may be subject to periodic and unannounced 
inspections to measure tailpipe air emissions. To the extent possible, 
the NPS will conduct snowmobile inspections when it is mutually 
convenient for the commercial tour operator and the NPS.
    Snowmobiles operating on the Cave Falls Road, which extends 
approximately 1 mile into the park from the adjacent Caribou-Targhee 
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 on this road is independent of the other oversnow 
routes in the park.

Snowcoaches

    Under concessions contracts issued in 2003, 78 snowcoaches are 
currently authorized to operate in the park. Approximately 21 of these 
snowcoaches, known in the park as ``historic snowcoaches,'' were 
manufactured by Bombardier before 1983 and designed specifically for 
oversnow travel. These historic snowcoaches, and several late-model 
snowcoaches also designed specifically for oversnow travel, are 
considered purpose-built snowcoaches. All other snowcoaches are 
passenger vans, sport utility vehicles, or light- or medium-duty buses 
that have been converted for oversnow travel using tracks or skis. The 
conditions and requirements applicable to snowcoaches under the 
proposed rule apply to both purpose-built snowcoaches and snowcoaches 
converted from other types of vehicles.
    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 (65 FR 6698, 
February 10, 2000).
    The proposed rule would require that diesel-fueled snowcoaches with 
a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) less than 8,500 pounds meet the 
functional equivalent of 2010 (or newer) EPA Tier 2 Model Year engine 
and emission control technology requirements. This includes items such 
as engine control module (ECM) computers, onboard diagnostics system 
(OBD), sensors, and exhaust after-treatment equipment that is standard 
original equipment manufacturer (OEM) equipment included with on-road 
vehicles or engines. Diesel-powered snowcoaches must also be equipped 
with applicable ceramic particulate filters and afterburners.
    A diesel-fueled snowcoach with a GVWR of 8,500 pounds or more would 
need to comply with EPA model year 2010 ``engine configuration 
certified'' diesel air emission standards. However, if the diesel 
snowcoach has a GVWR between 8,500 and 10,000 pounds, there may be a 
configuration that meets the functional equivalent of 2010 (or newer) 
EPA Tier 2 Model Year technology standards for an on-road vehicle that 
would achieve the best results from an emissions perspective. This 
particular type of configuration would require review and approval by 
the NPS.
    The proposed rule would require that all gasoline-fueled 
snowcoaches greater than 10,000 GVWR meet the functional equivalent of 
2008 (or newer) EPA Tier 2 Model Year engine emission control 
technology requirements. This includes items such as ECM computers, 
OBD, sensors, and exhaust after-treatment equipment that is standard 
OEM equipment included with on-road vehicles or engines. The proposed 
rule would require that all gasoline-fueled snowcoaches less than 
10,000 GVWR meet the functional equivalent of 2007 (or newer) EPA Tier 
2 Model Year engine emission control technology requirements.
    The NPS recognizes that some existing snowcoaches will likely need 
to be replaced or retrofitted with new engines and emissions equipment 
to comply with these air emission requirements. The NPS believes that 
this can be accomplished through the typical turnover of snowcoach 
fleets. As a result, these requirements would apply to existing 
snowcoaches beginning in the 2017-2018 winter season, and to new 
snowcoaches put into service beginning in the 2014-2015 winter season. 
The NPS specifically seeks comment on whether the proposed implantation 
schedule to the new air emission requirements for snowcoaches provides 
commercial tour operators sufficient time to meet the new requirements 
or if the implementation schedule could be accelerated. The NPS notes 
that the technology to meet the new air emission standards for 
snowcoaches is currently available in the commercial marketplace and is 
based upon the Environmental Protection Agency's Tier II emission 
standard, and at least 18 of the 78 snowcoaches in the commercial fleet 
already meet the new air emission requirement.
    To ensure compliance with EPA air emission standards, all emission-
related exhaust components must be installed and functioning properly. 
Malfunctioning emissions-related components must be replaced with the 
OEM components where possible. If new or functional used OEM parts are 
not available, aftermarket parts may be used. Catalysts that have 
exceeded their useful life must be replaced unless the commercial tour 
operator can demonstrate that the catalyst is functioning properly. 
Operating a snowcoach that has its original pollution control equipment 
modified or disabled would be prohibited.
    A snowcoach may be subject to periodic and unannounced inspections 
to determine compliance with emission requirements. To the extent 
possible, the NPS will conduct snowcoach inspections when it is 
mutually convenient for the commercial tour operator and the NPS. This 
could include off-hours, on days the snowcoach is not being used to 
support concessions operations, or during the snowcoach `testing days' 
held annually in the park prior to the first day of the

[[Page 22475]]

winter season. The NPS specifically seeks comment on these ideas and 
other means and mechanisms for carrying out periodic snowcoach 
inspections that will minimize potential burdens on commercial tour 
operators.
    The University of Denver (in 2005 and 2006) and North Carolina 
State University (in 2012) collected emissions data from various 
snowcoaches. Results indicated that snowcoaches could be modernized to 
reduce CO and HC emissions. These studies found that in general, newer 
snowcoaches are cleaner than older models and have emission controls 
that reduce tailpipe pollutants. By implementing air emission 
requirements for snowcoaches that call for newer engine and emission 
controls, the NPS expects continued improvements in the park's air 
quality.

Sound Emission Requirements

Snowmobiles

    Through March 15, 2017, sound restrictions would continue to 
require a snowmobile to operate at or below 73 decibels while at full 
throttle, as measured using the A scale (dB(A)) according to the 1985 
version of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) J192 test 
procedures. Beginning with the 2017-2018 winter season, the maximum 
decibel level allowed for snowmobiles would be reduced to 67 dB(A) 
according to the applicable (as of November 1, 2013) version of SAE 
J1161 test procedures. The SAE J1161 test procedures allow for a 
tolerance of 2 dB(A) over the sound level limit to provide for 
variations in test sites, temperature gradients, wind velocity 
gradients, test equipment, and inherent differences in nominally 
identical vehicles. To operate in the park after March 15, 2015, a 
population of measurements for a snowmobile model may not exceed a mean 
output of 67 dB(A), and a single measurement may not exceed 69 dB(A), 
using the J1161 test procedures.
    Because the current NPS sound emission requirements were 
established using a slightly modified version of the 1985 J192 test 
procedures (as a result of information provided by industry and 
modeling), the park would initially continue to use the 1985 test 
procedures to be consistent with these existing requirements. This rule 
proposes to transition to the SAE J1161 test procedures for all 
snowmobiles seeking to demonstrate compliance with the new sound 
emission requirement of 67 dB(A). As a result, in the 2017-2018 winter 
season, the mean dB(A) output of a snowmobile must not exceed 67 dB(A) 
using the J1161 test procedures to demonstrate voluntary early 
compliance with the new sound emission requirements, but a snowmobile 
may still operate in the park if its mean dB(A) output does not exceed 
73 dB(A) using the J192 test procedures.
    The SAE J1161 test procedures would be modified from the current 15 
mph steady throttle (cruising speed) to the typical cruising speed of 
snowmobiles in Yellowstone (approximately 35 mph), consistent with OSV 
noise emissions tests conducted by the John A. Volpe National 
Transportation Systems Center, U.S. Department of Transportation, in 
2008 and 2009.
    To provide certainty to the commercial tour operators and the park, 
the NPS would identify the version of the SAE J1161 test procedures in 
place on November 1, 2013, as the version that would apply beginning in 
the 2017-2018 season. This would give the NPS and industry sufficient 
time to test snowmobiles that are in development and production well 
ahead of the 2017-2018 winter season. This rule proposes that the 
Superintendent may periodically update testing procedures based upon 
new information or updates to SAE J1161 standards and procedures. To 
provide certainty to commercial tour operators, the Superintendent 
would not require certification under an updated version of J1161 test 
procedures that is adopted by SAE less than 2 years prior to the start 
of any winter season.
    In past rules, the NPS has allowed an exception to the barometric 
pressure requirements of the SAE J192 procedures to determine if a 
snowmobile meets sound emission requirements. With the adoption of SAE 
J1161 test procedures for snowmobiles meeting the new sound emission 
requirements, the NPS believes it would be an appropriate time to bring 
all aspects of testing into conformance with the SAE J1161 procedures.
    Accordingly, for the first four winters of implementation of this 
rule (2013-2014 through 2016-2017), snowmobiles that do not meet the 
new sound emission requirements 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 continues the exception to the 1985 SAE 
J192 test procedures, which require barometric pressure between 27.5 
and 30.5 inches Hg. This exception maintains consistency with the 
testing conditions previously used to determine compliance with 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. In 
order to demonstrate compliance with the new sound emission standard of 
67dB(A), which is voluntary prior to December 15, 2017, but mandatory 
thereafter, snowmobiles must comply with the requirements of the 
applicable (as of November 1, 2013) SAE J1161 test procedures with no 
barometric pressure (high altitude) exception. The SAE J1161 test 
procedures require barometric pressure between 27.5 and 30.5 inches Hg.
    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. In order to certify a snowmobile model for use in 
Yellowstone National Park, the SSCC form must certify that a population 
of measurements for that model does not exceed the maximum mean dB(A) 
values required by the proposed rule. 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 
certification methods could be approved by the NPS on a case-by-case 
basis.
    The NPS is specifically seeking comment on the merits of changing 
how snowmobiles are noise emission tested from the SAE J192 test 
procedures to the modified SAE J1161 test procedures, and setting the 
maximum allowable decibel level for snowmobiles to 67 dB(A) under the 
SAE J1161 test procedures beginning in the 2017-2018 winter season. The 
SAE J1161 test procedures measure the sound output of snowmobiles at 
cruising speed. In contrast, the SAE J192 test procedures are designed 
to measure the maximum sound output of a snowmobile. The NPS proposes 
to switch to the J1161 test procedures for several reasons. The J1161 
test procedures are more representative of actual operating conditions 
in the park, where operating snowmobiles at full throttle (as measured 
by the J192 test procedures) is a rare event. Compliance with the J1161 
test procedures is also easier to monitor because park personnel would 
be able to spot-check the sound output of

[[Page 22476]]

snowmobiles as they travel through the park at cruising speed. In 
contrast, the J192 test procedures require the construction of 
artificial testing conditions to measure maximum sound output. Also, 
using the J1161 test procedures for snowmobiles makes it easier for the 
park to accurately compare the sound output of snowmobiles with the 
sound output of snowcoaches, which would also be measured using the 
J1161 test procedures. The NPS specifically seeks comment on the merits 
of this proposal and welcomes input of industry and other knowledgeable 
parties on current noise pollution control measures across the 
snowmobile industry and research and development concerning 
improvements in noise measurement and control measures. The NPS will 
evaluate information submitted by industry and other knowledgeable 
parties in determining how to best achieve noise pollution control and 
protection in the park.
    Because modifications made to an individual snowmobile may increase 
sound emissions beyond the proposed emission restrictions, individual 
snowmobiles that have been modified would be denied entry to the park. 
It would be the responsibility of the commercial tour operator and 
guide to ensure that a snowmobile complies with all applicable 
restrictions.
    Snowmobiles being operated on the Cave Falls Road would continue to 
be exempt from the sound emission requirements.

Snowcoaches

    As of December 15, 2017, the proposed rule would require that the 
mean dB(A) output of snowcoaches in Yellowstone National Park not 
exceed 75 dB(A) when measured by operating the snowcoach at typical 
cruising speed for the test cycle following the SAE J1161 test 
procedures. Since there are no testing standards specific to the 
snowcoach industry, snowcoach measurements for sound are based on 
emissions testing conducted using SAE J1161 test procedures.
    The NPS believes that commercial tour operators can meet the 
updated snowmobile and new snowcoach sound emission requirements in the 
proposed rule through the typical turnover of their fleets, as opposed 
to prematurely removing vehicles from service. However, the NPS 
specifically seeks comment on the likelihood of OSVs being available 
that meet the new sound emission requirements by the proposed 
deadlines, and any significant additional costs associated with 
complying with these new requirements. The NPS also seeks comment on 
whether the implantation schedule to the new sound emission 
requirements for snowcoaches could be accelerated. The NPS notes that 
the technology to meet the new sound emission standards for snowcoaches 
is currently available in the commercial marketplace that at least 17 
of the 78 snowcoaches in the commercial fleet already meet the new 
sound emission requirement.

Alternative Accelerated Emission Implementation: Comments Requested

    The NPS believes that given existing and demonstrated OSV 
technology, an accelerated schedule to implement new air and sound 
emission requirements is reasonable and achievable. The NPS suggests as 
an alternative to the schedule proposed by this rule that: by the 2015-
2016 winter season (rather than the proposed 2017-2018 winter season), 
the NPS should require all snowmobiles operating in the park to meet 
the new air and sound emission requirements; and, by the 2016-2017 
winter season (rather than the proposed 2017-2018 winter season), the 
NPS should require all existing snowcoaches operating in the park to 
meet the new air and sound emission requirements. The NPS believes that 
this alternative, accelerated, but staggered implementation schedule, 
which recognizes the higher capital cost of investing in snowcoach 
engines and exhaust equipment and the fact that commercial tour 
operators replace snowmobile fleets more frequently than snowcoach 
fleets, is reasonably achievable. The NPS notes that the technology to 
meet the new air and sound emission standards for snowcoaches is 
currently available in the commercial marketplace, that at least 17 of 
the 78 snowcoaches in the commercial fleet already meet the new sound 
emission requirement, and as many as 18 of the 78 snowcoaches in the 
commercial fleet already meet the new air emission requirement. For 
snowmobiles, the NPS notes that one snowmobile manufacturer currently 
produces 23 different snowmobile models (across three model years, 
2011-2013) that meet the new air emission standards. Therefore, the NPS 
invites comments on this alternative from industry and other 
knowledgeable and interested parties.

NPS Will Continue To Certify Snowmobiles and Snowcoaches

    An NPS-certified OSV would be a vehicle that has been approved by 
the NPS for use in Yellowstone National Park by demonstrating that it 
meets the air and sound emission requirements in this proposed rule. 
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 2012-2013, the NPS certified 77 
different snowmobile models (from model years 2008-2013, 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, which would be 6 consecutive winter 
seasons following its manufacture or until the snowmobile travels 6,000 
miles, whichever occurs later. Based on NPS experience, six years or 
6,000 miles 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 invites comments on 
this proposal.
    The NPS would also maintain a list of approved snowcoaches that 
meet the air and sound emissions requirements. Once approved, a 
snowcoach may operate in the park through the winter season that begins 
no more than 10 years following its engine manufacture date. To 
continue to operate in the park during future winter seasons, a 
snowcoach must be retrofitted with a new engine and emissions equipment 
to meet existing EPA Tier 2 engine and emission requirements, and re-
certified for air and sound emissions. The 10-year clause provides a 
mechanism to ensure that the least polluting snowcoaches are used in 
the park and reflects the concept that over time, the efficiency of 
engines and exhaust emission control systems degrade due to wear and 
tear. In consultations with the Environmental Protection Agency, it was 
determined that after 10 years of use, snowcoach engines would emit 
more pollution than when they first entered service such that they 
should be replaced. For example, a snowcoach with a model year 2010 
engine could operate through the 2020-2021 winter season and would 
cease to be allowed to operate in the park as of March 15, 2021, if it 
is not retrofitted with a new engine and re-tested. A snowcoach with a 
model year 2007 engine could operate through the 2017-2018 winter 
season and would cease to be allowed to operate in the park as of March 
15, 2018, if it is not retrofitted with a new engine and re-tested. A 
snowcoach with a model year 2006 or earlier engine manufacture date 
would need to be retrofitted with upgraded engine and

[[Page 22477]]

emissions control equipment prior to the start of the 2017-2018 winter 
season. Because of the large investment in individual snowcoaches, the 
NPS believes that a 10-year certification period is appropriate. The 
NPS specifically seeks comments regarding the economic impacts of a 10-
year certification period and mandatory retrofit and whether such a 
requirement is necessary if snowcoaches can demonstrate compliance with 
current EPA Tier 2 requirements at the end of the 10 year period.
    Once the new air and sound emission requirements apply, all 
snowmobiles and snowcoaches would be required to meet them in order to 
enter the park. This would include snowmobiles that meet current air 
and sound emission requirements but do not meet the new requirements, 
even if they were certified for periods that extend beyond the 2017-
2018 season.

Use of Guides Would Still Be Required

    To mitigate impacts to wildlife, air quality, natural soundscapes, 
and visitor and employee safety, the NPS is proposing to continue the 
requirement that all recreational OSVs operating in the park be 
accompanied by a guide, except for those operating on the segment of 
the Cave Falls Road that extends 1 mile into the park from the adjacent 
national forest. The park would continue to prohibit unguided 
snowmobile access.
    Since the winter of 2004-2005, all snowmobiles and snowcoaches have 
been led by commercial guides. Commercial guides are employed by 
commercial tour operators, not by the NPS. Guides have proven effective 
at keeping groups under 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. Since implementation of the 100% guiding requirement in 
December 2004, Yellowstone has observed a pronounced reduction in the 
number of accidents and law enforcement incidents associated with the 
use of OSVs, even when accounting for the reduced number of 
snowmobilers relative to pre-guided use levels.

Non-Commercial Guides Would Be Allowed

    In a change from the provisions that have governed OSV use since 
December 2004, the proposed rule would allow 4 snowmobile 
transportation events per day of not more than 5 snowmobiles each 
(including the non-commercial guide) to be led through the park by a 
non-commercial guide. Each entrance would be allocated 1 non-
commercially guided transportation event each day.
    Non-commercial guides and the snowmobile operators taking part in 
non-commercially guided transportation events would be required to 
comply with certification requirements under a Non-commercially Guided 
Snowmobile Access Program to be developed and implemented by the park. 
The certification process would emphasize park rules and regulations, 
park values and environmental education, required documentation (i.e., 
documentation of course completion, a special park use entrance permit, 
valid motor vehicle driver's license, and snowmobile registration and 
insurance), safety and proper procedures when encountering wildlife and 
other visitors, safety and emergency protocol, accident causes and 
mitigation techniques, road conditions, snowmobile operations, and 
mechanical repair. Educational components of the program would be 
reinforced during an onsite orientation session on the day of the trip.
    To participate in this program, non-commercial guides and 
snowmobile operators would be required to obtain and possess an entry 
permit authorizing a non-commercial snowmobile transportation event. 
These permits would be issued under the Non-commercially Guided 
Snowmobile Access Program, which would allow non-commercially guided 
groups to enter the park for a specific date range. The maximum length 
of a non-commercially guided snowmobile trip would be 2 days and 1 
night. These permits would be awarded through an annual lottery system.
    Non-commercial snowmobile guides would be directly responsible for 
the actions of their group. Each non-commercial guide may lead no more 
than 2 trips per winter season, and must be at least 18 years of age by 
the first day of the trip. Non-commercial guides would be required to 
have working knowledge of snowmobile safety, general first aid, 
snowmobile repair, and navigational technique. It would be preferable 
that non-commercial guides, or another member of the trip, be familiar 
with Yellowstone National Park. Non-commercial snowmobile guides would 
not be allowed to advertise concerning their ``service'' or accept a 
fee or any type of compensation for organizing or leading a trip. 
Collecting a fee (monetary compensation) or compensation of any kind 
payable to an individual, group, or organization for conducting, 
leading, or guiding a non-commercially guided snowmobile trip would not 
be allowed (see 36 CFR 5.3). Violating the compensation or advertising 
restriction may result in administrative revocation of a non-commercial 
guiding permit or privilege.
    These requirements would ensure that the Non-commercially Guided 
Snowmobile Access Program would result in the same benefits to park 
resources and management that have resulted from the requirements 
applicable to commercial guides.
    Further details about the Non-commercially Guided Snowmobile Access 
Program can be found in Appendix C to the final SEIS, available online 
at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/yell, by clicking on the link entitled 
``2012/2013 Supplemental Winter Use Plan EIS,'' and then clicking on 
the link entitled ``Document List.'' Consistent with adaptive 
management principles, the Superintendent may adjust or terminate this 
program based upon impacts to park resources and visitor experiences 
after providing notice in accordance with one or more methods listed in 
36 CFR 1.7(a), which include posting signs, making maps available, or 
publication in a newspaper.
    In both commercially and non-commercially guided groups, 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 of a mile of the first snowmobile in the 
transportation event. This would ensure that groups of snowmobiles do 
not become separated. One-third of a mile would allow for sufficient 
and safe spacing between individual snowmobiles within the group, and 
allow the guide to maintain control over the group and minimize 
impacts.

Designated Routes Remain on Roads Only

    Yellowstone's oversnow routes remain entirely on roads used by 
motor vehicles during other seasons and thus are consistent with the 
requirements in 36 CFR 2.18(c). OSV use would continue to be allowed 
only on designated routes. All main road segments would generally 
remain open for OSV use, but certain side roads would be reserved for 
ski and snowshoe use only. Certain main road segments would be closed 
to all OSV travel during parts of the winter, including early season 
closure for plowing at the North Entrance, and seasonal closures of the 
East Entrance from December 15-21 and March 2-15. The proposed rule 
would allow the Superintendent to open or close oversnow routes after 
taking into consideration the location of

[[Page 22478]]

wintering wildlife, appropriate snow cover, public safety, avalanche 
conditions, and other factors.

What are transportation events?

Size of Transportation Events

    The proposed rule manages OSV use by transportation events. A 
transportation event consists of a group of no more than 10 snowmobiles 
(including the guide's snowmobile) or one snowcoach. The NPS will 
implement OSV management by transportation events starting with the 
2014-2015 winter season (Phase II). For the first three years, the 
proposed rule would require the average size of a commercially guided 
snowmobile transportation event not exceed 7 snowmobiles (including the 
guide), averaged daily. However, if commercial tour operators 
voluntarily upgrade their fleets to meet the new air and sound emission 
standards during the 2014-2015, 2015-2016, or 2016-2017 winter seasons 
(before these limits become mandatory in the 2017-2018 season), their 
group sizes will be more flexible. The average group size for a 
commercially guided snowmobile transportation event consisting entirely 
of snowmobiles meeting the new air and sound emission requirements 
would be averaged seasonally (instead of daily), which allows greater 
flexibility in daily group sizes. As discussed below, this average may 
increase to 8 if voluntary enhanced emission standards are met during 
this Phase of the transition. A group still could not exceed the 
maximum group size of 10 snowmobiles.
    Beginning with the 2017-2018 winter season (Phase III), the average 
size of a commercially guided snowmobile transportation event may not 
exceed 7 snowmobiles (including the guide), averaged over the course of 
a winter season. As discussed below, this average may increase to 8 if 
voluntary enhanced emission standards are met. Authorizing up to 10 
snowmobiles per transportation event with a seasonal average of 7 
snowmobiles per transportation event (up to a seasonal average of 8 if 
voluntary enhanced emission standards are met) would allow commercial 
tour operators to respond to fluctuating visitor demand for access. For 
example, commercial tour operators may choose to maximize group sizes 
during busy times, such as holidays, with groups of 10. If this is 
done, group sizes would need to be smaller later in the season to 
ensure that the average group size over the course of each season is no 
more than 7 (or 8 if the voluntary enhanced emission standards are 
met).
    In order for the park to monitor compliance with this rule, each 
commercial tour operator would be responsible for keeping track of its 
daily use on a NPS form, including group size and other variables of 
interest to the NPS, and reporting these numbers to the NPS on a 
monthly basis. For each transportation event, commercial tour operators 
would be required to report the departure date, the duration of the 
trip (in days), the event type (snowmobile or snowcoach), the number of 
snowmobiles or snowcoaches, the number of visitors and guides, the 
route and primary destination, and if the transportation event 
allocation was from another commercial tour operator. Operators would 
also be required to report their transportation event size averages for 
the previous month and for the season to-date. Commercial tour 
operators that exceed the allowed average size of snowmobile 
transportation events would receive an unsatisfactory rating with 
potential to temporarily or permanently suspend the commercial tour 
operator's concession contract or commercial use authorization. In 
addition to the reporting requirements in the proposed rule, commercial 
tour operators would still be subject to reporting requirements 
contained in their concession contracts or commercial use 
authorizations. The park will use the information in the report 
described above to track the average and actual use of each commercial 
tour operator throughout the season, in order to ensure maximum daily 
limits and seasonal average limits are not exceeded, and to help ensure 
that commercial tour operators do not receive an unsatisfactory rating 
or suspension of their contracts. By closely monitoring this 
information the park can also ensure that commercial tour operators do 
not run out of authorizations before the end of the season and create a 
gap when prospective visitors cannot be accommodated. Therefore, the 
NPS is considering the option of requiring the report referenced above 
to be submitted every 2 weeks, rather than monthly, and is also 
exploring options that would allow the report to be submitted through a 
web-based system. The NPS specifically seeks comment on these potential 
options, and other means and mechanisms for complying with the 
reporting requirement.
    NPS does not consider it necessary to require a minimum size per 
transportation event because the use of any number of snowmobiles, no 
matter how small, would constitute 1 snowmobile transportation event. 
Since the 2004-2005 winter season (managed use era), snowmobile group 
size has averaged 6.6 snowmobiles per group.

Voluntary Enhanced Emission Standards for Snowcoaches and Snowmobiles

    For commercial tour operators who meet voluntary enhanced emission 
standards, the size of a snowcoach transportation event and the average 
size of a snowmobile transportation event will be allowed to increase 
above those described in the prior section. The NPS believes the 
enhanced emission standards are attainable, and that the potential for 
increased revenues from larger transportation events would provide a 
strong incentive for commercial tour operators to meet these voluntary 
standards. These incentives would reward commercial tour operators that 
demonstrate a commitment to lowering the impacts of OSVs by increasing 
business opportunities and park visitation, while lessening impacts to 
park resources.
    A commercial tour operator would be allowed to include 2 
snowcoaches rather than 1 per transportation event, if both snowcoaches 
emit no more than 71 dB(A) as measured using the SAE J1161 test 
procedures. This is 4 dB(A) less than the maximum allowed under the 
proposed sound emission requirements. To be considered one 
transportation event, the 2 snowcoaches would be required to travel 
closely together while keeping a safe distance between them. If this 
enhanced sound emission standard is met by all snowcoaches, commercial 
tour operators could have an additional 60 snowcoaches in the park on a 
particular day (if all 50 snowmobile transportation events are used); 
however, they could not exceed an average of 1.5 snowcoaches per event 
over the course of a winter season.
    Starting in December 2014, the average size of a commercial tour 
operator's snowmobile transportation events over the course of a winter 
season would be permitted to increase from 7 to 8 if all snowmobiles in 
a group emit no more than 65 dB(A) measured using the SAE J1161 test 
procedures, and no more than 60 g/Kw-hr CO. This is 2 dB(A) less and 30 
g/Kw-hr less than the maximum allowed under sound and air emission 
requirements to be implemented beginning in the 2017-2018 season. 
Evidence from the SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge, held annually in 
Houghton, Michigan, has shown that production snowmobiles fitted with 
catalytic converters and other pollution minimization devices are able 
to reduce CO and hydrocarbons

[[Page 22479]]

plus oxides of nitrogen (HC + NOx) tailpipe emissions by up 
to 98% to an average specific mass of 12.04 and 0.17 g/kW-hr 
respectively. If these enhanced emission standards are met by all 
commercially guided snowmobiles, commercial tour operators could lead 
up to 46 additional snowmobiles through the park each day, averaged 
over an entire winter season.
    Commercial tour operators would be required to demonstrate to the 
park that their snowcoaches or snowmobiles meet these enhanced emission 
standards prior to the start of a winter season so that the park can 
accurately measure that operator's compliance with all of the 
requirements.
    The NPS specifically seeks comment on the merits of this voluntary 
market-based pollution minimization proposal, and welcomes input of 
industry and other knowledgeable parties on current pollution control 
measures across the snowmobile industry, research and development 
concerning improvements in pollution control measures, as well as the 
feasibility of various pollution minimization approaches. The NPS will 
evaluate all of this information in determining how to best achieve air 
pollution control and protection in the park.

Number of Transportation Events Allowed in the Park

    Up to 110 transportation events would be allowed in the park on any 
given day during the winter season. Four transportation events would be 
reserved for non-commercially guided tours of no more than 5 
snowmobiles, and up to 106 transportation events would be distributed 
to commercial tour operators via concessions contracts or commercial 
use authorizations. Commercial tour operators may decide to use their 
allocation of transportation events for snowmobiles or snowcoaches, but 
no more than 46 transportation events may consist of commercially 
guided snowmobile groups per day. If a commercial or non-commercial 
guide runs an overnight trip into the park, each day of the trip would 
be considered a separate transportation event.
    Consistent with adaptive management principles, the Superintendent 
may decrease the maximum number of transportation events allowed in the 
park each day, adjust or terminate the Non-commercially Guided 
Snowmobile Access Program, redistribute non-commercially guided 
transportation events, or make limited changes to the transportation 
events allocated to each entrance, based upon impacts to park resources 
and visitor experiences after providing public notice in accordance 
with one or more methods listed in 36 CFR 1.7(a). Before taking any of 
these actions, the NPS will determine if any additional environmental 
compliance is required.

Allocation and Maximum Number of Snowmobiles Allowed in the Park

    The actual number of snowmobiles and snowcoaches each day in the 
park would depend upon visitor demand and how commercial tour operators 
use their transportation events, subject to the maximum limit of 110 
transportation events per day. If more than 60 snowcoach transportation 
events are used, the result would be fewer snowmobiles allowed in the 
park. If the maximum number of snowmobile transportation events is 
used, the result would be only 60 snowcoaches allowed in the park, or 
120 snowcoaches that meet the voluntary, enhanced sound emission 
standards.
    The proposed rule allocates transportation events to Old Faithful 
since a commercial tour operator provides snowmobile rentals and 
commercial guiding services originating there. For example, some 
visitors choose to enter the park on a snowcoach tour, spend 2 or more 
nights at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge, and depart for a commercially 
guided snowmobile tour of the park from the lodge.
    Table 1 below shows the daily allocations and entrance 
distributions for snowmobile transportation events.

                                                                         Table 1
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                                            Seasonal
                                                                 Daily number of   Daily number of                                       average number
                                                                 transportation    transportation     Maximum daily       Seasonal       of commercially
                                                                   events for      events for non-      number of      average number        guided
                    Park Entrance/Location                        commercially      commercially      commercially     of commercially   snowmobiles if
                                                                     guided            guided            guided            guided           all meet
                                                                   snowmobiles       snowmobiles       snowmobiles       snowmobiles        enhanced
                                                                                                                                           standards*
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
West Entrance.................................................                23                 1               230               161               184
South Entrance................................................                16                 1               160               112               128
East Entrance.................................................                 3                 1                30                21                24
North Entrance................................................                 2                 1                20                14                16
Old Faithful..................................................                 2                 0                20                14                16
                                                               -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total.....................................................                46                 4               460               322               368
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* In order for a commercial tour operator's snowmobile transportation events to average 8 snowmobiles in a winter season, all of the snowmobiles in
  those transportation events must comply with the enhanced air and sound emission standards.

    At the highest potential level of use, if all 50 snowmobile 
transportation events are used in a single day, there could be a 
maximum of 480 snowmobiles in the park (46 commercially guided groups 
of 10 snowmobiles each, plus 4 non-commercially guided groups of 5 
snowmobiles each). Although this is the maximum number of snowmobiles 
that could be permitted into the park on a single day, this level of 
use could not occur every day because commercially guided snowmobile 
transportation event sizes may not exceed an average of 7 snowmobiles 
over the course of the season. Maximum average use would be 342 
snowmobiles per day (46 commercially guided groups of at the seasonal 
average of 7, plus 4 non-commercially guided groups of 5 snowmobiles 
each). If all snowmobiles meet the voluntary enhanced emission 
standards described above, the maximum average size of snowmobile 
transportation events over the course of a winter season could increase 
from 7 to 8 snowmobiles, resulting in an average maximum daily use of 
388 snowmobiles per day (46 commercially guided groups

[[Page 22480]]

of eight snowmobiles each, plus 4 non-commercially guided groups of 5 
snowmobiles each).
    Table 2 below shows the maximum number of snowmobiles in the park 
on any day if all snowmobile transportation events are used.

                                                     Table 2
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                   46
                                                             Transportation   4 Transportation        Total
                                                               events from    events from non-   snowmobiles in
                                                              commercially      commercially        the park
                                                              guided groups     guided groups
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Peak Day (10 snowmobiles per commercially guided group; 5                460                20               480
 per non-commercially guided group........................
Average Day (7 snowmobiles per commercially guided group;                322                20               342
 5 per non-commercially guided group......................
Average Day if all Snowmobiles meet Enhanced Standards (8                368                20               388
 snowmobiles per commercially guided group; 5 per non-
 commercially guided group................................
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Allocation and Maximum Number of Snowcoaches Allowed in the Park

    At the highest potential level of use (with current sound-emission 
standards), if all 106 transportation events are used by snowcoaches in 
a single day, there would be 106 snowcoaches in the park. If the 
maximum allocation of snowmobile transportation events is used in a 
single day, there could be a maximum of 60 snowcoaches in the park. At 
some point in the future, if all snowcoaches meet the voluntary 
enhanced sound emission standards described above, the maximum number 
of snowcoaches in the park on a particular day could range from 212 
snowcoaches (if no snowmobile allocations are used) to 120 snowcoaches 
(if all snowmobile allocations are used). Although this is the maximum 
number of snowcoaches that could be permitted into the park on a single 
day, this level of use could not occur every day because snowcoach 
transportation events consisting of snowcoaches that meet the voluntary 
enhanced emission standards may not exceed an average of 1.5 
snowcoaches over the course of the season. These scenarios represent 
the extreme allocation potentials, and it is likely that actual use 
would end up somewhere in between these scenarios.
    Table 3 below shows the maximum number of snowcoaches in the park 
on any day by park entrance/location.

                                                     Table 3
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                    Number of
                                                                                                 snowcoaches if
                                                                Number of         Number of           zero
                                              Number of      snowcoaches if    snowcoaches if     commercially
                                           snowcoaches if        all 50             zero             guided
                                               all 50          snowmobile       commercially       snowmobile
         Park entrance/location              snowmobile      transportation        guided        transportation
                                           transportation    events are used     snowmobile      events are used
                                           events are used   and snowcoaches   transportation        and all
                                                              meet enhanced    events are used  snowcoaches meet
                                                            sound standards*                     enhanced sound
                                                                                                   standards*
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
West Entrance...........................                26                52                47                94
South Entrance..........................                10                20                17                34
East Entrance...........................                 2                 4                 2                 4
North Entrance..........................                10                20                17                34
Old Faithful............................                12                24                23                46
                                         -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total...............................                60               120               106               212
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Two snowcoaches can be allowed in a transportation event if both comply with the voluntary enhanced sound
  standards.

Flexible Allocations at Each Entrance

    Commercial tour operators may cooperatively exchange allocations of 
snowmobile and snowcoach transportation events within an entrance, but 
transportation event allocations may not be exchanged among different 
entrances. For example, a commercial tour operator at the West Entrance 
who has additional transportation event allocations available may trade 
those allocations to another commercial tour operator at the West 
Entrance, but an allocation at the West Entrance could not be traded to 
a commercial tour operator at the South Entrance. These exchanges would 
provide additional flexibility to commercial tour operators and allow 
them to respond to visitor demand, while ensuring that the number of 
transportation events at any particular entrance does not exceed the 
total number authorized for that day. The NPS envisions that a system 
for exchanging allocations would be created and controlled by those 
commercial tour operators who receive entrance allocations under this 
plan. Commercial tour operators must notify the NPS when transportation 
event allocations are exchanged.

Avalanche Management--Sylvan Pass

    The proposed rule designates the East Entrance road as an OSV 
route. As with other OSV routes, the Superintendent has the ability to 
close this route, or portions of it, after taking into consideration 
the location of wintering wildlife, appropriate snow cover, public 
safety, avalanche conditions, and other factors. This authority would 
be used to manage Sylvan Pass in the manner

[[Page 22481]]

described in the preferred alternative in the final SEIS.

Section-by-Section Analysis

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

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

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

    The NPS has included definitions for a variety of terms, including 
commercial guides, commercial tour operator, non-commercially guided 
groups, oversnow vehicle, oversnow route, unguided snowmobile access, 
and transportation event.
    For snowmobiles, the NPS is continuing to use the definition found 
at 36 CFR 1.4. The proposed rule would also include language that makes 
it clear that all-terrain vehicles and utility-type vehicles are not 
snowmobiles or snowcoaches, 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.
    Earlier regulations governing winter use at the park 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, 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 
OSV, the specific vehicle is stated and the restriction only applies to 
that type of vehicle, not all OSVs. However, OSVs 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, the 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 snowcoaches. Rutting creates safety issues 
for other snowcoaches and snowmobiles using the oversnow routes. The 
NPS is evaluating a suite of management actions to address rutting, 
which may include placing vehicle weight and size limits in the 
concession agreements and commercial use authorizations that govern the 
use of snowcoaches in the park.

Sec.  7.13(l)(3) When may I operate a snowmobile in Yellowstone 
National Park?

    Provided that the Superintendent has determined there is adequate 
snow cover, the proposed rule would continue to authorize operation of 
a snowmobile within the park from December 15 to March 15 each winter 
season subject to use limits, guiding requirements, operating hours, 
equipment requirements, emission requirements, and operating 
conditions. 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 at 36 CFR 7.21(a). Any OSV that enters 
Yellowstone would be subject to the terms and conditions of this 
proposed rule.

Sec.  7.13(l)(4) When may I operate a snowcoach in Yellowstone National 
Park?

    Provided that the Superintendent has determined there is adequate 
snow cover, the proposed rule would continue to authorize operation of 
snowcoaches in the park from December 15 to March 15 each winter 
season, subject to the conditions in this proposed rule. It would 
require that they be commercially operated under a concessions contract 
or commercial use authorization and meet the applicable air, weight, 
and sound emission requirements. Snowcoaches must not exceed 75 dB(A) 
when measured by operating the snowcoach at cruising speed using the 
SAE J1161 test procedures. Existing snowcoaches must meet these 
requirements beginning in the 2017-2018 winter season, while new 
snowcoaches must meet these requirements upon being put into service 
beginning in the 2014-2015 winter season.

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

    Except for some exemptions that apply to the Cave Falls Road, the 
proposed rule would continue to require that only snowmobiles that meet 
NPS air and sound emissions requirements may be operated in the park.

Sec.  7.13(l)(6) What standards will the Superintendent use to approve 
snowmobile makes, models, and year of manufacture for use in the park?

    Snowmobiles must continue to meet existing air and sound emission 
requirements through the 2016-2017 winter season. As of December 15, 
2017, snowmobiles must operate at or below 67 dB(A) as measured at 
cruising speed and 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 
90 g/kW-hr for CO.

Sec.  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 reopen routes when necessary. When determining what routes 
are available for use, the Superintendent would take into consideration 
weather and snow conditions, public safety, protection of park 
resources, and other factors.

Sec.  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 Hot Springs developed area. This proposed rule also 
provides latitude for the Superintendent to close and reopen routes 
when necessary. When determining what routes are available for use, the 
Superintendent would take into consideration weather and snow 
conditions, public safety, protection of park resources, and other 
factors.

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

    The proposed rule retains the existing requirement that, except on 
the Cave Falls Road, all recreational snowmobile operators must be 
accompanied by a guide. In addition to commercially guided trips, the 
proposed rule allows 4 groups of up to 5 snowmobiles to be led into the 
park by non-commercial guides who have been certified under the Non-
commercially Guided Snowmobile Access Program. The proposed rule 
maintains the requirements that guided parties must travel together and 
not be separated by more than one-third of a mile from the first 
snowmobile in the group to ensure groups stay together for safety 
considerations.

[[Page 22482]]

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

    As described above, the park will manage OSV use by limiting the 
size and number of snowmobile and snowcoach transportation events on 
any given day. No more than 110 transportation events would be allowed 
in the park on any day. Four transportation events would be reserved 
for non-commercially guided groups, and up to 106 transportation events 
would be allocated to commercial tour operators via concession 
contracts or commercial use authorizations. Commercial tour operators 
may use their transportation events for snowmobiles or snowcoaches, 
provided that no more than 46 commercially guided transportation events 
may consist of snowmobiles. The maximum size of a commercially guided 
snowmobile transportation event would be 10 snowmobiles, with a maximum 
average size of 7 over the course of a winter season. The maximum 
average size of a snowmobile transportation event may increase from 7 
to 8 if all of the snowmobiles in a group meet voluntary, enhanced 
emission standards. The maximum size of a snowcoach transportation 
event will initially be 1 snowcoach, but may increase to 2 snowcoaches, 
not to exceed a seasonal average of 1.5 snowcoaches per event, if the 
vehicles meet voluntary, enhanced sound emission standards.

Sec.  7.13(l)(11) How will the park monitor compliance with the 
required average and maximum size of transportation events?

    In order for the park to monitor compliance with this rule, each 
commercial tour operator would be responsible for keeping track of its 
daily use on a NPS form, including group size and other variables of 
interest to the NPS, and reporting these numbers to the NPS on a 
monthly basis. For each transportation event, commercial tour operators 
would be required to report the departure date, the duration of the 
trip (in days), the event type (snowmobile or snowcoach), the number of 
snowmobiles or snowcoaches, the number of visitors and guides, the 
route and primary destination, and if the transportation event 
allocation was from another commercial tour operator. Operators would 
also be required to report their transportation event size averages for 
the previous month and for the season to-date.

Sec.  7.13(l)(12) 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. In the past, the Superintendent 
has set the opening and closing hours at 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. 
respectively. Early and late entries were granted on a case-by-case 
basis. The proposed rule allows the Superintendent to manage operating 
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, or use 
levels will be made on an annual basis. Initially, the Superintendent 
intends to set the operating hours as 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. with no 
early entries or late exits allowed except for administrative travel 
and emergencies.

Sec.  7.13(l)(13) What other conditions apply to the operation of OSVs?

    The proposed rule maintains existing requirements regarding the 
operation of OSVs 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 
(which has been reduced from 5 to 3 minutes), maximum speed limit 
(35mph), towing of sleds, and other requirements related to safety and 
impacts to resources. 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 OSVs as long as no person or 
animal is hauled on them.

Sec.  7.13(l)(14) What conditions apply to alcohol use while operating 
an OSV?

    The proposed rule does not change the conditions applicable to the 
use of alcohol while operating OSVs. Although the regulations in 36 CFR 
4.23, concerning the operation of motor vehicles in units of the 
National Park System while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, 
apply to snowmobiles under 36 CFR 2.18(a), the proposed rule maintains 
the additional regulations that address under-age drinking while 
operating a snowmobile, and operation under the influence by snowcoach 
operators or snowmobile guides while performing services for others. 
Many states have adopted similar alcohol standards for under-age and 
commercial operators, and the NPS believes it is necessary to 
specifically include these regulations to help mitigate potential 
safety concerns.
    The alcohol level for under-age drinkers (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. Vehicles on tracks or skis 
are 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. If the guide's judgment is 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 limit applies for both commercial guides and 
non-commercial guides. This is consistent with other federal and state 
rules pertaining to BAC thresholds for someone with a commercial 
driver's license.

Sec.  7.13(l)(15) Do other NPS regulations apply to the use of OSVs?

    The proposed rule does not change the applicability of other NPS 
regulations concerning OSV use. Relevant portions of 36 CFR 2.18, 
including Sec.  2.18(c), have been incorporated into these proposed 
regulations. Some portions of 36 CFR 2.18 and 2.19 would be superseded 
by the proposed rule, which governs maximum operating decibels, 
operating hours, and operator age in this park only. In addition, 36 
CFR 2.18(b), which adopts non-conflicting state snowmobile laws, would 
not apply in Yellowstone. The proposed rule would also supersede 36 CFR 
2.19(b). The proposed rule

[[Page 22483]]

similarly prohibits the towing of persons on skis, sleds, or other 
sliding devices by motor vehicle or snowmobile, but does not permit 
designation of routes or areas for those activities. It also includes 
exceptions for emergency situations and for the administrative use of 
trailers specifically designed for towing passengers. Other provisions 
of 36 CFR Chapter I would continue to apply to the operation of OSVs 
unless specifically superseded by the proposed rule.

Sec.  7.13(l)(16) What forms of non-motorized oversnow transportation 
are 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 by this rule.

Sec.  7.13(l)(17) May I operate a snowplane in Yellowstone National 
Park?

    Snowplanes may not be used in Yellowstone National Park.

Sec.  7.13(l)(18) Is violating a provision of this section prohibited?

    Violating a term, condition, or requirement of paragraphs (l)(1) 
through (l)(17) of Sec.  7.13 is prohibited.

Compliance With Other Laws, Executive Orders, and Department Policies

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 
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 the cost-benefit and regulatory 
flexibility analysis found in the report entitled ``Economic Analysis 
of Winter Use Regulations in Yellowstone National Park (2012)'' which 
can be viewed on the park's planning Web site, http://parkplanning.nps.gov/yell, by clicking on the link entitled ``2012/2013 
Supplemental Winter Use Plan EIS,'' and then clicking on the link 
entitled ``Document List.''
    From the analysis of costs and benefits using Baseline 1, the 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, the NPS expects that the 
declines would be very small. From the analysis using Baseline 2, the 
NPS concludes the following points:
    Relative to Baseline 2, Alternatives 3 and 4 are estimated to 
result in increased revenues for the snowmobile rental and snowcoach 
sectors.
    Alternative 1 has the potential to generate significant losses for 
small businesses.

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.
    These conclusions are based upon the cost-benefit and regulatory 
flexibility analysis found in the report entitled ``Economic Analysis 
of Winter Use Regulations in Yellowstone National Park (2012)'' which 
can be viewed on the park's planning Web site, http://parkplanning.nps.gov/yell, by clicking on the link entitled ``2012/2013 
Supplemental Winter Use Plan EIS,'' and then clicking on the link 
entitled ``Document List.''

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

[[Page 22484]]

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. Numerous tribes in the area were consulted in the development 
of the previous winter use planning documents.

Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)

    An agency may not conduct or sponsor and a person is not required 
to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a 
currently valid OMB control number. OMB has approved the information 
collection requirements associated with NPS special park use permits 
and assigned OMB Control Number 1024-0026, which expires 06/30/2013. 
This rule contains new reporting and recordkeeping requirements that 
must be approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the 
PRA (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).
    (1) To ensure that snowcoaches and snowmobiles meet NPS emission 
and sound standards, we are proposing that, before the start of each 
winter season:
    (a) Snowcoach manufacturers or commercial tour operators must 
demonstrate, by means acceptable to the Superintendent, that their 
snowcoaches meet the standards.
    (b) Snowmobile manufacturers must demonstrate, by means acceptable 
to the Superintendent, that their snowmobiles meet the standards.
    (2) So that we can monitor compliance with the required average and 
maximum size of transportation events, we propose that as of December 
15, 2014, each commercial tour operator must:
    (a) Maintain accurate and complete records of the number of 
snowmobiles and snowcoaches he or she brings into the park on a daily 
basis. These records must be made available for inspection by the park 
upon request.
    (b) Submit a monthly report to the park that includes the following 
information about snowmobile and snowcoach use:
     Average group size for allocated transportation events 
during the previous month and for the winter season to date. Any 
transportation events that have been exchanged among commercial tour 
operators must be noted and the receiving party must include these 
transportation events in his or her reports.
     For each transportation event, the departure date, the 
duration of the trip (in days), the event type (snowmobile or 
snowcoach), the number of snowmobiles or snowcoaches, the number of 
visitors and guides, the route and primary destination(s), and if the 
transportation event allocation was from another commercial tour 
operator.
    (3) To qualify for the increased average size of snowmobile 
transportation events or increased maximum size of snowcoach 
transportation events, each commercial tour operator must:
     Before the start of the winter of the winter season, 
demonstrate to the park Superintendent that his or her snowmobiles or 
snowcoaches meet the enhanced emission standards.
     Maintain separate records for snowmobiles and snowcoaches 
that meet enhanced emission standards and those that do not.
    Title: Reporting and Recordkeeping for Snowcoaches and Snowmobiles, 
Yellowstone National Park, 36 CFR 7.13(l).
    OMB Control Number: 1024-XXXX.
    Service Form Number: None.
    Type of Request: Request for a new OMB Control Number.
    Description of Respondents: Commercial businesses operating OSVs in 
Yellowstone National Park, and OSV manufacturers.
    Respondent's Obligation: Required to obtain or retain a benefit.
    Frequency of Collection: Monthly for reports; ongoing for 
recordkeeping; annually to demonstrate that OSVs meet or exceed 
emission standards.
    Estimated number of respondents: 17 (15 commercial tour operators 
and 2 manufacturers).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                           Estimated number   Completion time    Estimated total
                         Activity                              of annual        per response      annual burden
                                                               responses          (hours)            hours*
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Meet Emission/Sound Standards--Snowcoaches                               12                 .5                 6
 (7.13(l)(4)(vi).........................................
Meet Emission/Sound Standards--Snowmobiles (7.13(l)(5)...                 2                 .5                 1
Report and Recordkeeping (7.13(l)(11)(i)-(iii))..........                45                2                  90
Meet Enhanced Emission Standards (7.13(l)(11)(iv)).......                 5                 .5                 3
                                                          ------------------------------------------------------
    Total................................................                64  .................               100
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 * rounded.

    As part of our continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent 
burdens, we invite the public and other federal agencies to comment on 
any aspect of this information collection, including:
    (1) Whether or not the collection of information is necessary, 
including whether or not the information will have practical utility;
    (2) The accuracy of our estimate of the burden for this collection 
of information;
    (3) Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the 
information to be collected; and
    (4) Ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on 
respondents.
    Send your comments and suggestions on this information collection 
by the date indicated in the DATES section to the Desk Officer for the 
Department of the Interior at OMB-OIRA at (202) 395-5806 (fax) or 
OIRA_Submission@omb.eop.gov (email). Please provide a copy of your 
comments to the Information Collection Clearance Officer, National Park 
Service, 1201 I Street NW., MS 1237, Washington, DC 20005 (mail); or 
madonna_baucum@nps.gov (email). Please reference OMB Control Number 
1024-AE15 in the subject line of your comments.

National Environmental Policy Act

    This rule constitutes a major federal action with the potential to 
significantly affect the quality of the human environment. We have 
prepared the final SEIS under the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969. The final SEIS is available by contacting the Yellowstone 
National Park Management Assistant's Offices and online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/yell, by clicking on the link entitled ``2012/2013

[[Page 22485]]

Supplemental Winter Use Plan EIS,'' and then clicking on the link 
entitled ``Document List.''

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)), 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 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: Jay P. Calhoun, 
Regulations Program Specialist; and Russel J. Wilson, Chief, 
Regulations and Special Park Uses, National Park Service, Washington 
Office; David Jacob, Environmental Protection Specialist, National Park 
Service, Environmental Quality Division; and Wade Vagias, Management 
Assistant, Yellowstone National Park.

Public Participation

    It is the policy of the Department of the Interior, whenever 
practicable, to afford the public an opportunity to participate in the 
rulemaking process. Accordingly, interested persons may submit written 
comments regarding this proposed rule by one of the methods listed in 
the ADDRESSES section. 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.
    We are particularly interested in comments concerning:
    (1) The likelihood of OSVs being available by the stated deadlines 
that meet either the sound or air emissions BAT requirements and any 
significant additional costs associated with meeting the sound and air 
emissions BAT.
    (2) Whether the deadlines are:
    (a) Sufficiently in the future to allow concessioners to update 
fleet with BAT-compliant vehicles, as opposed to prematurely removing 
vehicles from service, or
    (b) Too far into the future such that the implementation schedule 
for meeting the air and sound emission BAT requirements should be 
accelerated. Specifically, the NPS seeks comments from industry and 
other knowledgeable parties regarding the implementation schedule for 
the new emission requirements and if the implementation schedule could 
be accelerated because the technology necessary to meet these new 
requirements will be available sooner than the start of the 2017-2018 
season.
    The NPS believes that given existing and demonstrated OSV 
technology, an accelerated schedule to implement new air and sound 
emission requirements is reasonable and achievable. The NPS suggests as 
an alternative to the schedule proposed by this rule that: by the 2015-
2016 winter season (rather than the proposed 2017-2018 winter season), 
NPS should require all snowmobiles operating in the park to meet the 
new air and sound emission requirements; and, by the 2016-2017 winter 
season (rather than the proposed 2017-2018 winter season), NPS should 
require all existing snowcoaches operating in the park to meet the new 
air and sound emission requirements. The NPS believes that this 
alternative, accelerated, but staggered implementation schedule, which 
recognizes the higher capital cost of investing in snowcoach engines 
and exhaust equipment and the fact that commercial tour operators 
replace snowmobile fleets more frequently than snowcoach fleets, is 
reasonably achievable. The NPS notes that the technology to meet the 
new air and sound emission standards for snowcoaches is currently 
available in the commercial marketplace, that at least 17 of the 78 
snowcoaches in the commercial fleet already meet the new sound emission 
requirement and as many as 18 of the 78 snowcoaches in the commercial 
fleet already meet the new air emission requirement. For snowmobiles, 
the NPS notes that one snowmobile manufacturer currently produces 23 
different snowmobile models (across three model years, 2011-2013) that 
meet the new air emission standards. Therefore, the NPS invites 
comments on this alternative from industry and other knowledgeable and 
interested parties.
    (3) Whether air quality goals can be attained more cost-effectively 
without making the BAT requirements for CO more stringent and instead 
managing entry times and access in areas of the park where air quality 
has been degraded.
    (a) If it is more cost-effective to improve air quality through 
managed access, what would be a feasible approach?
    (4) Given the small number of transportation events, the impact of 
not making BAT requirements more stringent for the non-commercial 
guided program.
    (5) Whether there are more cost-effective performance-based 
approaches that could be used to meet emissions requirements, as 
opposed to prescribing certain design specifications for snowmobiles 
and snowcoaches?

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 follows:

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

0
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-
2201.07 (2001).

0
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)(15) of this section apply to 
the recreational use of snowcoaches and snowmobiles. Except where 
indicated, paragraphs (1)(2)

[[Page 22486]]

through (l)(15) do not apply to non-administrative oversnow vehicle use 
by NPS employees, contractors, concessioner employees, or other non-
administrative 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-
administrative users authorized by the Superintendent.
    Commercial guide means a person who operates as a snowmobile or 
snowcoach guide for a monetary fee or other compensation and is 
authorized to operate in the park under a concession contract or a 
commercial use authorization.
    Commercial tour operator means a person authorized to operate 
oversnow vehicle tours in the park under a concession contract or a 
commercial use authorization.
    Enhanced emission standards means for snowmobiles, a maximum of 65 
dB(A) as measured at cruising speed (approximately 35 mph) in 
accordance with the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) J1161 test 
procedures and certified under 40 CFR Part 1051 to a Family Emission 
Limit no greater than 60 g/kW-hr for carbon monoxide; and for 
snowcoaches, a maximum of 71 dB(A) when measured by operating the 
snowcoach at cruising speed for the test cycle in accordance with the 
SAE J1161 test procedures.
    Guide means a commercial guide or a non-commercial guide.
    Non-commercial guide means a person who has successfully completed 
the Yellowstone Snowmobile Education Certification Program and is 
certified as having the requisite knowledge and skills to operate a 
snowmobile in Yellowstone National Park. Non-commercial guides must be 
at least 18 years of age by the day of the trip and possess a valid 
state-issued motor vehicle driver's license and a non-commercial 
snowmobile access permit before entering the park.
    Non-commercially guided group means a group of no more than five 
snowmobiles, including a non-commercial guide, permitted to enter the 
park under the Non-commercially Guided Snowmobile Access Program.
    Non-commercially Guided Snowmobile Access Program means a program 
that permits authorized parties to enter Yellowstone National Park 
without a commercial guide.
    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.
    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. All-terrain 
vehicles and utility-type vehicles are not oversnow vehicles, even if 
they have been modified for use on snow with track or ski systems
    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, 
having a capacity of at least 8 passengers and no more than 32 
passengers, plus a driver.
    Snowcoach transportation event means one snowcoach that does not 
meet enhanced emission standards traveling in Yellowstone National Park 
on any given day, or two snowcoaches that both meet enhanced emission 
standards traveling together in Yellowstone National Park on any given 
day.
    Snowmobile means a self-propelled vehicle intended for travel 
solely on snow, with a maximum curb weight of 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.
    Snowmobile transportation event means a group of 10 or fewer 
commercially guided snowmobiles traveling together in Yellowstone 
National Park on any given day or a non-commercially guided group, 
which is defined separately. Snowmobiles entering Cave Falls Road are 
not considered snowmobile transportation events.
    Snowplane means a self-propelled vehicle intended for oversnow 
travel and driven by an air-displacing propeller.
    Transportation event means a snowmobile transportation event or a 
snowcoach transportation event.
    (3) When may I operate a snowmobile in Yellowstone National Park? 
Provided that the Superintendent has determined there is adequate snow 
cover, you may operate a snowmobile in Yellowstone National Park from 
December 15 through March 15 each winter season only in compliance with 
use limits, guiding requirements, operating hours, equipment, and 
operating conditions established under this section. The operation of 
snowmobiles under a concessions contract or commercial use 
authorization is subject to the conditions stated in the concessions 
contract or commercial use authorization. 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) When may I operate a snowcoach in Yellowstone National Park? 
(i) Provided that the Superintendent has determined there is adequate 
snow cover, a snowcoach may be operated in Yellowstone National Park 
only under a concessions contract or commercial use authorization from 
December 15 through March 15 each winter season. Snowcoach operation is 
subject to the conditions stated in the concessions contract or 
commercial use authorization and all other conditions identified in 
this section. The requirements in paragraphs (l)(4)(ii)-(iii) of this 
section apply to existing snowcoaches as of December 15, 2017, and to 
new snowcoaches put into service on or after December 15, 2014.
    (ii) The following air emission requirements apply to snowcoaches:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                             Must meet the following
      A snowcoach that is a . . .                 standard . . .
------------------------------------------------------------------------
(A) Diesel-fueled snowcoach with a       The functional equivalent of
 gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR)       2010 (or newer) EPA Tier 2
 less than 8,500 pounds.                  model year engine and emission
                                          control technology
                                          requirements.
(B) Diesel-fueled snowcoach with a GVWR  The EPA model year 2010
 greater than or equal to 8,500 pounds.   ``engine configuration
                                          certified'' diesel air
                                          emission requirements.
                                          Alternately, a snowcoach in
                                          this category may be certified
                                          under the functional
                                          equivalent of 2010 (or newer)
                                          EPA Tier 2 model year engine
                                          and emission control
                                          technology requirements if the
                                          snowcoach:
                                         (1) Has a GVWR between 8,500
                                          and 10,000 pounds; and

[[Page 22487]]

 
                                         (2) Would achieve better
                                          emission results with a
                                          configuration that meets the
                                          Tier 2 requirements.
(C) Gasoline-fueled snowcoach greater    The functional equivalent of
 than or equal to 10,000 GVWR.            2008 (or newer) EPA Tier 2
                                          model year engine and emission
                                          control technology
                                          requirements.
(D) Gasoline-fueled snowcoach less than  The functional equivalent of
 10,000 GVWR.                             2007 (or newer) EPA Tier 2
                                          model year engine and emission
                                          control technology
                                          requirements.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

     (iii) A snowcoach may not exceed a sound level of 75 dB(A) when 
measured by operating the snowcoach at cruising speed for the test 
cycle in accordance with the SAE J1161 test procedures.
    (iv) All emission-related exhaust components (as listed in 40 CFR 
86.004-25(b)(3)(iii) through (v)) must function properly. These 
emission-related components must be replaced with the original 
equipment manufacturer (OEM) component, if practicable. If OEM parts 
are not available, aftermarket parts may be used.
    (v) Operating a snowcoach with the original pollution control 
equipment disabled or modified is prohibited.
    (vi) Before the start of a winter season a snowcoach manufacturer 
or a commercial tour operator must demonstrate, by means acceptable to 
the Superintendent, that its snowcoach(s) meet the air and sound 
emission standards. A snowcoach meeting the requirements for air and 
sound emissions may be operated in the park through the winter season 
that begins no more than 10 years from the engine manufacture date.
    (vii) Snowcoaches are subject to periodic and unannounced 
inspections to determine compliance with the requirements of paragraph 
(l)(4) of this section.
    (viii) This paragraph (l)(4) also applies to non-administrative 
oversnow vehicle use by NPS employees, contractors, concessioner 
employees, or other non-administrative users authorized by the 
Superintendent.
    (5) Must I operate a certain model of snowmobile? Only snowmobiles 
that meet NPS air and sound emissions requirements in this section may 
be operated in the park. Before the start of a winter season a 
snowmobile manufacturer must demonstrate, by means acceptable to the 
Superintendent, that its snowmobile(s) meet the air and sound emission 
standards. The 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) What standards will the Superintendent use to approve 
snowmobile makes, models, and years of manufacture for use in the park? 
(i) Snowmobiles must meet the following air emission requirements:
    (A) Through March 15, 2017, 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.
    (B) As of December 15, 2017, 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 
90 g/kW-hr for carbon monoxide.
    (ii) Snowmobiles must meet the following sound emission 
requirements:
    (A) Through March 15, 2017, snowmobiles must operate at or below 73 
dB(A) as measured at full throttle according to SAE J192 test 
procedures (revised 1985). During this period, snowmobiles may be 
tested at any barometric pressure equal to or above 23.4 inches Hg 
uncorrected.
    (B) As of December 15, 2017, snowmobiles must operate at or below 
67 dB(A) as measured at cruising speed (approximately 35mph) in 
accordance with SAE J1161 test procedures. Sound emissions tests 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 or updates 
to the SAE J1161 testing procedures.
    (iii) 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 manufacturing date, or after the snowmobile has 
travelled 6,000 miles, whichever occurs later.
    (iv) Operating a snowmobile that has been modified in a manner that 
may adversely affect air or sound emissions is prohibited.
    (v) These air and sound emissions requirements do not apply to 
snowmobiles operated on the Cave Falls Road in the park.
    (vi) Snowmobiles are subject to periodic and unannounced 
inspections to determine compliance with the requirements of paragraph 
(l)(6) of this section.
    (vii) This paragraph (l)(6) also applies to non-administrative 
oversnow vehicle use by NPS employees, contractors, concessioner 
employees, or other non-administrative users authorized by the 
Superintendent.
    (7) Where may I operate a snowmobile in Yellowstone National Park? 
(i) You may operate an authorized 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) The Grand Loop Road from 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) Roads in the developed areas of Madison Junction, Old Faithful, 
Grant Village, West Thumb, Lake, Fishing Bridge, Canyon, Indian Creek, 
and Norris;
    (M) Firehole Canyon Drive;
    (N) North Canyon Rim Drive;
    (O) Riverside Drive; and
    (P) Cave Falls Road.
    (ii) The Superintendent may open or close these oversnow 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. The Superintendent 
will provide public notice of any opening or closing by one

[[Page 22488]]

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-administrative users authorized by the 
Superintendent.
    (iv) Maps detailing the designated oversnow routes are available at 
Park Headquarters.
    (8) What routes are designated for snowcoach use? (i) Authorized 
snowcoaches may be operated on the routes designated for snowmobile use 
in paragraph (l)(7)(i) of this section. Rubber-tracked snowcoaches may 
also be operated on 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.
    (ii) The Superintendent may open or close these oversnow routes, or 
portions thereof, after taking into consideration the location of 
wintering wildlife, appropriate snow cover, public safety, avalanche 
conditions, and other factors. The Superintendent will provide public 
notice of any opening or closing 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-administrative users authorized by the Superintendent.
    (9) Must I travel with a guide while snowmobiling in Yellowstone 
and what other guiding requirements apply? (i) All recreational 
snowmobile operators must be accompanied by a guide.
    (ii) Unguided snowmobile access is prohibited.
    (iii) The Superintendent will establish the requirements, including 
training and certification requirements for commercial guides and non-
commercial guides and accompanying snowmobile operators.
    (iv) Guided parties must travel together within one-third of a mile 
of the first snowmobile in the group.
    (v) The guiding requirements described in this paragraph (l)(9) do 
not apply to Cave Falls Road.
    (10) Are there limits upon the number of snowmobiles and 
snowcoaches permitted to operate in the park each day? As of December 
15, 2014, the number of snowmobiles and snowcoaches permitted to 
operate in the park each day will be managed by transportation events, 
as follows:
    (i) A transportation event consists of a group of no more than 10 
snowmobiles (including the guide) or one snowcoach (unless enhanced 
emission standards allow for two).
    (ii) No more than 110 transportation events may occur in 
Yellowstone National Park on any given day.
    (iii) No more than 50 of the 110 transportation events allowed each 
day may be snowmobile transportation events.
    (iv) Four of the 50 snowmobile transportation events allowed each 
day are reserved for non-commercially guided groups, with one such 
group allowed per entrance each day. The Superintendent may adjust or 
terminate the Non-commercially Guided Snowmobile Access Program, or 
redistribute non-commercially guided transportation events, based upon 
impacts to park resources and visitor experiences, after providing 
public notice in accordance with one or more methods listed in 36 CFR 
1.7(a).
    (v) Allocations of transportation events may be exchanged among 
commercial tour operators, but only for the same entrance or location.
    (vi) Commercial tour operators may decide whether to use their 
daily allocations of transportation events for snowmobiles or 
snowcoaches, subject to the limits in this section.
    (vii) Transportation events may not exceed the maximum number of 
oversnow vehicles allowed for each transportation event.
    (viii) Snowmobile transportation events conducted by a commercial 
tour operator may not exceed an average of 7 snowmobiles, averaged over 
the winter season. However, snowmobile transportation events conducted 
by a commercial tour operator that consist entirely of snowmobiles 
meeting enhanced emission standards may not exceed an average of 8 
snowmobiles, averaged over the winter season. For the 2014-2015 through 
2016-2017 winter seasons, snowmobile transportation events conducted by 
a commercial tour operator that consist of any snowmobile that does not 
meet the air emission requirements in paragraph (6)(i)(B) of this 
section or the sound emission requirements in paragraph (6)(ii)(B) of 
this section may not exceed an average of 7 snowmobiles, averaged 
daily.
    (ix) Snowcoach transportation events that consist entirely of 
snowcoaches meeting enhanced emission standards may not exceed an 
average of 1.5 snowcoaches, averaged over the winter season.
    (x) A concessioner that is allocated a transportation event, but 
does not use it or exchange it can count that event as ``0'' against 
that concessioner's daily and seasonal averages. A concessioner that 
receives a transportation event from another concessioner, but does not 
use it, may also count that event as ``0'' against its daily and 
seasonal averages.
    (xi) Up to 50 snowmobiles may enter Cave Falls Road each day.
    (xii) Daily allocations and entrance distributions for 
transportation events are listed in the following table:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                       Non-
                                                                   Commercially    commercially
                                                                      guided          guided         Snowcoach
                     Park Entrance/location                         snowmobile      snowmobile    transportation
                                                                  transportation  transportation      events
                                                                      events          events
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
West Entrance...................................................              23               1              47
South Entrance..................................................              16               1              17
East Entrance...................................................               3               1               2
North Entrance..................................................               2               1              17
Old Faithful....................................................               2               0              23
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
    Total.......................................................              46               4             106
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (xiii) The Superintendent may decrease the maximum number of 
transportation events allowed in the park each day, or make limited 
changes to the transportation events allocated to each entrance, after 
taking into consideration the location of wintering wildlife, 
appropriate snow cover, public safety, avalanche conditions, and other 
factors. The Superintendent will provide public notice of changes by 
one or more of the methods listed in 36 CFR 1.7(a).
    (xiv) For the 2013-2014 winter season only, the number of 
snowmobiles and

[[Page 22489]]

snowcoaches allowed to operate in the park each day is limited to a 
certain number per entrance or location as set forth in the following 
table. During this period, all recreational snowmobile operators must 
be accompanied by a commercial guide. Snowmobile parties must travel in 
a group of no more than 10 snowmobiles, including the guide.

 Number of Snowmobiles and Snowcoaches Allowed in the Park on Any Day by
         Park Entrance/Location for the 2013-2014 Winter Season
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                     Commercially        Commercially
     Park entrance/location             guided              guided
                                      snowmobiles         snowcoaches
------------------------------------------------------------------------
West Entrance...................                 160                  34
South Entrance..................                 114                  13
East Entrance...................                  20                   2
North Entrance *................                  12                  13
Old Faithful *..................                  12                  16
------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Commercially guided snowmobile tours originating at the North Entrance
  and Old Faithful are currently provided solely by one concessioner.
  Because this concessioner is the sole provider at both of these areas,
  this regulation allows reallocation of snowmobiles between the North
  Entrance and Old Faithful as necessary, so long as the total daily
  number of snowmobiles originating from the two locations does not
  exceed 24. For example, the concessioner could operate 6 snowmobiles
  at Old Faithful and 18 at the North Entrance if visitor demand
  warranted it. This will allow the concessioner to respond to changing
  visitor demand for commercially guided snowmobile tours, thus
  enhancing the availability of visitor services in Yellowstone.

    (xv) Paragraph (l)(10)(xiii) remains in effect until March 15, 
2014.
    (11) How will the park monitor compliance with the required average 
and maximum size of transportation events? As of December 15, 2014: (i) 
Each commercial tour operator must maintain accurate and complete 
records of the number of snowmobiles and snowcoaches it has brought 
into the park on a daily basis.
    (ii) The records kept by commercial tour operators under paragraph 
(l)(11)(i) of this section must be made available for inspection by the 
park upon request.
    (iii) Each commercial tour operator must submit a monthly report to 
the park that includes the following information about snowmobile and 
snowcoach use:
    (A) Average group size for allocated transportation events during 
the previous month and for the winter season to date. Any 
transportation events that have been exchanged among commercial tour 
operators must be noted and the receiving party must include these 
transportation events in its reports.
    (B) For each transportation event; the departure date, the duration 
of the trip (in days), the event type (snowmobile or snowcoach), the 
number of snowmobiles or snowcoaches, the number of visitors and 
guides, the entrance used, route, and primary destination(s), and if 
the transportation event allocation was from another commercial tour 
operator.
    (iv) To qualify for the increased average size of snowmobile 
transportation events or increased maximum size of snowcoach 
transportation events, a commercial tour operator must:
    (A) Demonstrate before the start of a winter season, by means 
acceptable to the Superintendent, that his or her snowmobiles or 
snowcoaches meet the enhanced emission standards; and
    (B) Maintain separate records for snowmobiles and snowcoaches that 
meet enhanced emission standards and those that do not to allow the 
park to measure compliance with required average and maximum sizes of 
transportation events.
    (12) 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) Notify the public 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; and
    (iii) Except for emergency situations, announce annually any 
changes to the operating hours, dates, and use levels.
    (13) What other conditions apply to the operation of oversnow 
vehicles? (i) The following are prohibited:
    (A) Idling an oversnow vehicle for more than 3 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 with 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 for emergency situations or administrative 
use of a trailer or other mode of conveyance specifically designed for 
carrying passengers while being towed; and
    (H) Racing snowmobiles, or operating a snowmobile in excess of 35 
mph, or operating a snowmobile in excess of any lower speed limit in 
effect under Sec.  4.21(a)(1) or (2) of this chapter or that has been 
otherwise designated.
    (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. Oversnow 
vehicle may not be operated so slowly as to interfere with the normal 
flow of traffic.
    (B) Oversnow vehicle drivers must possess and carry at all times a 
valid state-issued motor vehicle driver's license. A learner's permit 
does not satisfy this requirement.
    (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.
    (E) The only motor vehicles permitted on oversnow routes are 
oversnow vehicles.
    (F) An oversnow vehicle that does not meet the definition of a 
snowcoach must comply with all requirements applicable to snowmobiles.
    (iii) The Superintendent may impose other terms and conditions as 
necessary to protect park resources, visitors, or employees. The 
Superintendent will

[[Page 22490]]

notify the public of any changes through one or more methods listed in 
Sec.  1.7(a) of this chapter.
    (iv) This paragraph (l)(13) also applies to non-administrative 
oversnow vehicle use by NPS employees, contractors, or concessioner 
employees, or other non-administrative users authorized by the 
Superintendent.
    (14) 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 operator is under 21 years of age and 
the alcohol concentration in the operator'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 operator 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)(14) also applies to non-administrative 
oversnow vehicle use by NPS employees, contractors, or concessioner 
employees, or other non-administrative users authorized by the 
Superintendent.
    (15) 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)(15) also applies to non-administrative 
oversnow vehicle use by NPS employees, contractors, concessioner 
employees, or other non-administrative users authorized by the 
Superintendent.
    (16) What forms of non-motorized oversnow transportation are 
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. The Superintendent will notify the public 
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.
    (17) May I operate a snowplane in Yellowstone National Park? The 
operation of a snowplane in Yellowstone is prohibited.
    (18) Is violating a provision of this section prohibited? (i) 
Violating a term, condition, or requirement of paragraph (l) of this 
section is prohibited.
    (ii) Violation of a term, condition, or requirement of paragraph 
(l) of this section by a guide may also result in the administrative 
revocation of guiding privileges.
    (19) Have the information collection requirements been approved? 
The Office of Management and Budget has reviewed and approved the 
information collection requirements in paragraph (l) and assigned OMB 
Control No. 1024-XXXX. We will use this information to monitor 
compliance with the required average and maximum size of transportation 
events. We may not conduct or sponsor and you are not required to 
respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently 
valid OMB control number. You may send comments on any aspect of this 
information collection to the Information Collection Clearance Officer, 
National Park Service, 1849 C Street NW., Washington, DC 20240.
* * * * *

    Dated: February 21, 2013.
Rachel Jacobson,
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 2013-08893 Filed 4-15-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4312-EJ-P