[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 205 (Wednesday, October 23, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 63069-63093]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-24238]


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

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

National Park Service

[NPS-IMR-YELL-13706; 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: Final rule.

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

SUMMARY: The National Park Service is promulgating 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 allowed during the previous four winter 
seasons, reward oversnow vehicle innovations and technologies, and 
allow increases in visitation. It also requires snowmobiles and 
snowcoaches operating in the park to meet air and sound emission 
requirements and be accompanied by a guide.

DATES: This rule is effective November 22, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Wade Vagias, Management Assistant's 
Office, Headquarters Building, Yellowstone National Park, 307-344-2035.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Executive Summary

    This rule establishes 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. In order 
to allow OSV use for the upcoming and future winter seasons, a special 
regulation must be in place. This rule authorizes snowmobile and 
snowcoach use.
    Beginning with the 2014-2015 winter season, this rule replaces 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 transportation events, commercial 
tour operators 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 also requires 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 et seq.), which authorizes the Secretary 
of the Interior to ``promote and regulate'' the use of national parks.
    The new approach 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, 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 key elements of the final rule include:
     A transportation event equals one group of snowmobiles 
(maximum group size of 10, seasonal average of 7 beginning in the 2015-
2016 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 is intended to encourage 
the adoption of improved OSV innovations and technologies.
     Up to 110 total transportation events are authorized each 
day. Commercial tour operators may decide whether to use their daily 
allocation for snowmobiles or snowcoaches, but no more than 50 
transportation events each day may be comprised of snowmobiles.
     OSV use continues to be 100% guided. The rule allows up to 
46 commercially guided snowmobile transportation events per day. Four 
non-commercially guided snowmobile transportation events of up to 5 
snowmobiles per group are also permitted daily, one from each park 
entrance.
     Sound and air emission requirements for new and existing 
snowmobiles continue unchanged until the 2015-2016 winter season, when 
the maximum allowable sound and carbon monoxide (CO) emissions are 
lowered.
     Sound and air emission requirements begin in the 2016-2017 
winter season for existing snowcoaches, and 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 Impact Statement (Plan/SEIS). The Notice of 
Availability for the Plan/SEIS was published in the Federal Register on 
March 15, 2013 (78 FR 16500). The Plan/SEIS 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.'' Additional information about the 
history of winter use at Yellowstone National Park is

[[Page 63070]]

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. 
Due to a number of factors, the NPS extended the interim rule twice, 
through the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 winter seasons, while a Winter Use 
Plan/Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and the Plan/SEIS were 
completed to determine a long-term management strategy for winter use 
in Yellowstone National Park.
    Implementing this long-term winter use rule creates a stable 
regulatory environment for snowmobile and snowcoach commercial tour 
operators, many of which are small businesses in the communities 
surrounding the park. This long-term rule allows these businesses to 
make prudent decisions and capital investments, such as investing in 
new and cleaner-running vehicles for their fleets, offering employment 
to area residents, preparing advertising and marketing materials, and 
purchasing equipment and accessories such as snowmobile suits, helmets, 
and boots. This long-term rule also provides certainty to visitors, 
allowing them to make advance plans to visit the park, and ensures that 
park resources are protected.

Final Plan/SEIS and the Preferred Alternative

    The Plan/SEIS analyzed the issues and environmental impacts of four 
alternatives for the management of winter use in the park. Major issues 
analyzed in the Plan/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 Plan/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 commercially guided 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 Plan/SEIS also 
describes several other alternatives that were considered but 
eliminated from further study.
    The Plan/SEIS identified Alternative 4 as the preferred 
alternative. The NPS Intermountain Regional Director signed a Record of 
Decision on August 21, 2013 and an amended Record of Decision on 
September 27, 2013 identifying Alternative 4 as the Selected 
Alternative, which this rule implements. Alternative 4 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 Selected 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 Plan/SEIS 
are met. This allows for increases in visitation while making the park 
cleaner and quieter than what has been allowed under the interim rule, 
as well as reducing disturbances to wildlife.
     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 during the winter season. The Selected Alternative 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 Plan/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, law enforcement 
incidents, and disruption to wildlife, and offers the best opportunity 
for achieving the goals of protecting park resources and allowing 
balanced use of the park.

Summary of the Final Rule

    Snowmobile and snowcoach use in Yellowstone National Park is 
referred to as oversnow vehicle or OSV use. The final 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 that the final rule manages OSV use by 
transportation events instead of placing fixed limits on the number of 
OSVs allowed in the park on each day of the winter season. 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 allowed during the previous four winter seasons. Under 
the final rule, up to 110 transportation events are allowed in the park 
on any day during the winter season. A transportation event equals one 
group of snowmobiles (maximum group size of 10, seasonal average of 7 
beginning in the 2015-2016 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. 
Commercial tour operators may decide whether to use their allocation of 
transportation events for snowmobiles or snowcoaches, but no more than 
50 transportation events may consist of snowmobiles on any day.

[[Page 63071]]

    The final rule also changes air and sound emission requirements for 
OSVs, to reduce impacts on park resources and help ensure that 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 absolute number of vehicles 
allowed in the park to an approach focused on the impacts of those 
vehicles upon park resources. The NPS believes this will:
     Result in a cleaner and quieter park than what has been 
authorized under the previous four winter seasons, enhance visitor 
experience, and permit growth in the number of visitors able to 
experience the park;
     Give commercial tour operators greater flexibility;
     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 final rule concerns guiding 
requirements for snowmobiles. Although the final 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 must comply with requirements under a 
Non-commercially Guided Snowmobile Access Program to be developed by 
the NPS before the start of the 2014-2015 winter season.

Phased Transition To New Management Paradigm

    The new management paradigm under the final rule will be phased in 
over four 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.

Phase I (2013-2014 Season)

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

Phase II (2014-2015 and 2015-2016 Seasons)

    Starting in the 2014-2015 winter season, the park will manage OSV 
use by transportation events instead of vehicle limits. Sound and air 
emission requirements will apply to all new snowcoaches brought into 
service starting in the 2014-2015 winter season. Commercial tour 
operators who are allocated snowmobile transportation events will be 
able to use their allocated transportation events for snowmobiles, 
snowcoaches, or a mix of both, as long as no more than 50 total 
transportation events come from snowmobiles on a given day. During the 
2014-2015 and 2015-2016 winter seasons, in order to use a snowcoach in 
lieu of a snowmobile transportation event, the snowcoach will need to 
meet the air and sound emission requirements that apply to all 
snowcoaches beginning in the 2016-2017 season.
    The average size of commercially guided snowmobile transportation 
events for the 2014-2015 winter season may not exceed 7 snowmobiles, 
averaged daily (i.e., a maximum of no more than 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, 
for a total of no more than 342 snowmobiles). This limit will apply to 
any snowmobile transportation event that includes a snowmobile that 
does not meet the new air or sound emission requirements that will 
apply to all snowmobiles beginning in the 2015-2016 season. Commercial 
tour operators will be allowed to have up to 10 snowmobiles per single 
event, provided the average daily event size is 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 
snowmobile fleets to meet the new air and sound emission standards (New 
Best Available Technology) during the 2014-2015 winter season (before 
these limits become mandatory in the 2015-2016 season), their group 
sizes will be more flexible. For commercial snowmobile tour operators 
who upgrade at least 10 snowmobiles in their fleets to the New Best 
Available Technology standards for snowmobiles, vehicle numbers will be 
averaged seasonally for transportation events that consist entirely of 
the upgraded snowmobiles. This allows commercial tour operators to have 
events with a maximum of 10 New Best Available Technology snowmobiles 
each, provided their seasonal transportation event size averages 7 or 
less. For example, a commercial tour operator that is allocated 3 
snowmobile transportation events per day may have 3 groups of up 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 incentive encourages voluntary early 
adoption of improved vehicle technologies that meet the New Best 
Available Technology emission requirements, and helps ensure that 
impacts to park resources during the 2014-2015 winter season are 
minimized.
    Starting in the 2015-2016 winter season, all snowmobiles operating 
in the park must meet the new air and sound emission requirements. This 
is one season before air and sound emission requirements apply to all 
existing snowcoaches. This staggered implementation schedule 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. In the 
proposed rule, the NPS requested comments on this accelerated 
implementation schedule. After considering public comments, the NPS 
believes that this accelerated implementation schedule is reasonably 
achievable given existing and demonstrated OSV technology. 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, one manufacturer has already 
certified to the NPS that it produces a model that meets the new air 
and sound emission requirements that will be mandatory beginning in the 
2015-2016 season: The Bombardier Ski Doo GSX LE 900 ACE produces 90 g/
kW-hr of CO, 8 g/kW-hr of HC (both FEL), and 69 dB(A) as measured via 
SAE J192 (forecasted to produce ~67 dB(A) as measured via SAE J1161). 
The NPS also notes that 36 different

[[Page 63072]]

snowmobile models already meet the new air emission standards that will 
be mandatory beginning in the 2015-2016 season.

Phase III (2016-2017 Season and Beyond)

    Starting with the 2016-2017 winter season, the final rule 
implements 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 or be removed from service in the park.

Voluntary Enhanced Best Available Technology Upgrade

    In addition to the above opportunities and requirements, the final 
rule offers commercial tour 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 mandatory 
air and sound emission requirements described below. 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 NPS's Adaptive Management Program for winter use, 
monitoring of winter visitor use and park resources continues under 
this rule. The NPS 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 on wildlife or other park resources that cannot be 
mitigated. A list of adaptive management actions that may be taken by 
the NPS is provided in Appendix D to the Plan/SEIS. The NPS will 
provide public notice under one or more of the methods listed in 36 CFR 
1.7 before any closure is implemented. The Superintendent retains the 
authority under this rule or 36 CFR 1.5 to take emergency actions to 
protect park resources or values.

Air Emission Requirements

Snowmobiles

    The final rule retains the requirement from previous winter use 
plans that all snowmobiles operated by guides and park visitors comply 
with air emission standards. While the past seven 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 will further improve air quality in the world's first 
national park (a designated Class I area under the Clean Air Act), and 
will help ensure that a snowmobile transportation event and a snowcoach 
transportation event have comparable impacts to air quality. The NPS 
believes that snowmobile and snowcoach commercial tour operators can 
meet the air emission requirements in the final rule through the 
typical turnover of their fleets,\1\ and that the technology to meet 
the new air emission standards for both types of OSVs is currently 
available in the commercial marketplace.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ According to existing commercial tour operators, snowmobiles 
are replaced every two to three years and the lifespan of a 
converted snowcoach is ten years.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    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 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 not concerning at this time. The final rule maintains the 
existing air emission requirements through the 2014-2015 season, and 
then lowers the emission standard for CO to 90 g/kW-hr beginning with 
the 2015-2016 season. 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 manufacturer to demonstrate that its snowmobiles will meet 
the NPS air emission requirements by submitting to the NPS a copy of 
its EPA application (which includes 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 it submits the application to EPA. The NPS 
will 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 do not meet the NPS requirements, this snowmobile model will no 
longer be considered NPS-compliant and its use in the park will be 
prohibited. 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 an NPS certification is warranted.
    Snowmobiles that have been modified from the manufactured design 
may increase emissions of HC and CO to greater than the emission 
restrictions, and therefore may not enter the park. It is the 
responsibility of the commercial

[[Page 63073]]

tour operator and guide to ensure that a snowmobile complies with all 
applicable restrictions. Any 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 operator and the NPS.
    Snowmobiles operating on the Cave Falls Road, which extends 
approximately one mile into the park from the adjacent Caribou-Targhee 
National Forest, 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 final 
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 final rule requires 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 systems (OBDs), 
sensors, and exhaust aftertreatment 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 must 
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 achieves the best 
results from an emissions perspective. This particular type of 
configuration requires review and approval by the NPS.
    The final rule requires that all gasoline-fueled snowcoaches 
greater than or equal to 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, 
OBDs, sensors, and exhaust aftertreatment equipment that is standard 
OEM equipment included with on-road vehicles or engines. The final rule 
requires 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 apply to all existing 
snowcoaches beginning in the 2016-2017 winter season, and to new 
snowcoaches put into service beginning in the 2014-2015 winter season. 
During Phase II of implementation (2014-2015 and 2015-2016 seasons), in 
order to use a snowcoach in lieu of a snowmobile transportation event, 
the snowcoach will need to meet the air and sound emission requirements 
that apply to all snowcoaches beginning in the 2016-2017 season. 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 EPA's Tier 2 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 is 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 when the snowcoach is not being used 
to support commercial tour operations, or during the snowcoach `testing 
days' held annually in the park prior to the first day of the winter 
season.
    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, 2015, sound restrictions 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 2015-2016 winter season, the maximum decibel level 
allowed for snowmobiles is 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

[[Page 63074]]

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.
    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 has decided 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 will be able to spot-check the sound 
output of snowmobiles as they travel through the park at cruising 
speed. 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 will also be 
measured 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 NPS will initially continue to use the 1985 test 
procedures to demonstrate compliance with the existing sound emission 
requirement of 73 dB(A). The NPS will 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 
2014-2015 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. After March 
15, 2015, all snowmobiles operating in the park must not exceed 67 
dB(A) using the J1161 test procedures.
    The SAE J1161 test procedures are 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 identifies the version of the SAE J1161 test procedures in 
place on November 1, 2013 as the version that applies beginning in the 
2015-2016 season. This gives the NPS and industry sufficient time to 
test snowmobiles that are in development and production well ahead of 
the 2015-2016 winter season. This rule allows the Superintendent to 
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 may not require 
certification under a substantially updated version of J1161 test 
procedures that is adopted by SAE less than two 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 seeking to meet the new sound 
emission requirements, the NPS believes it will be an appropriate time 
to bring all aspects of testing into conformance with the SAE J1161 
procedures.
    Accordingly, for the first two winters of implementation of this 
rule (2013-2014 and 2014-2015), snowmobiles that do not voluntarily 
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 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, 2015, 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 final rule. The final rule does 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.
    Because modifications made to an individual snowmobile may increase 
sound emissions beyond the emission restrictions, individual 
snowmobiles that have been modified will be denied entry to the park. 
It is 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 continue to be 
exempt from the sound emission requirements.

Snowcoaches

    As of December 15, 2016, the final rule requires that the mean 
dB(A) output of snowcoaches in Yellowstone National Park not exceed 75 
dB(A) when measured by operating the snowcoach at 25 mph, or its 
maximum cruising speed if less than 25 mph, 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 
final rule through the typical turnover of their fleets, as opposed to 
prematurely removing vehicles from service. The NPS notes that the 
technology to meet the new sound emission standards for snowcoaches is 
currently available in the commercial marketplace and that at least 17 
of the 78 snowcoaches in the

[[Page 63075]]

commercial fleet already meet the new sound emission requirement.

NPS Will Continue To Certify Snowmobiles and Snowcoaches

    An NPS-certified OSV is a vehicle that has been approved by the NPS 
for use in Yellowstone National Park after demonstrating that it meets 
the air and sound emission requirements in this final rule. The 
Superintendent will maintain and annually publish a list of approved 
snowmobiles by make, model, and year of manufacture that meet the NPS 
requirements. For the winter of 2012-2013, the NPS certified 77 
different snowmobile models (from model years 2008-2013 and from 
various manufacturers) as meeting the requirements. When certifying a 
new snowmobile as meeting NPS requirements, the NPS will also publish 
how long the certification applies, which will be six 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 will also maintain a list of approved snowcoaches that meet 
the air and sound emissions requirements. The NPS will test and certify 
snowcoaches for compliance with air and sound emission requirements at 
locations in the park. 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 degrades due to wear and tear. In consultations with 
the EPA, 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 will cease to be allowed to operate in the park as of March 
15, 2021, if it is not retrofitted with a new engine and emission 
equipment and re-tested. A snowcoach with a model year 2007 engine 
could operate through the 2017-2018 winter season and will cease to be 
allowed to operate in the park as of March 15, 2018, if it is not 
retrofitted with a new engine and emission equipment and re-tested. A 
snowcoach with a model year 2005 or earlier engine manufacture date 
will need to be retrofitted with upgraded engine and emissions control 
equipment prior to the start of the 2016-2017 winter season. Because of 
the large investment in individual snowcoaches, the NPS believes that a 
10-year certification period is appropriate.
    In the future, the Superintendent may establish performance-based 
emission standards for snowcoaches that would enable compliant 
snowcoaches to be operated in the park after the expiration of the 10-
year certification period. The Superintendent will provide public 
notice under one or more of the methods listed in 36 CFR 1.7 before any 
performance-based emission standard is implemented for snowcoaches.
    Once the new air and sound emission requirements apply, all 
snowmobiles and snowcoaches are required to meet them in order to enter 
the park. This includes 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 2015-2016 
season.

Use of Guides Is Required

    To mitigate impacts to wildlife, air quality, natural soundscapes, 
and visitor and employee safety, the NPS continues to require that all 
OSVs operated by park visitors be accompanied by a guide, except for 
those operating on the segment of the Cave Falls Road that extends one 
mile into the park from the adjacent national forest. The NPS continues 
to prohibit unguided snowmobile access.
    Since the winter of 2004-2005, all snowmobiles and snowcoaches have 
been led or operated 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 Are Allowed

    In a change from the provisions that have governed OSV use since 
December 2004, the final rule allows 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 is allocated 1 non-commercially guided transportation 
event per day.
    Non-commercial guides and the snowmobile operators taking part in 
non-commercially guided transportation events are required to comply 
with certification requirements under a Non-commercially Guided 
Snowmobile Access Program to be developed and implemented by the NPS. 
The certification process will emphasize park rules and regulations, 
park values and environmental education, required documentation (i.e., 
documentation of course completion, a special use 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 will be reinforced during 
an onsite orientation session on the day of the trip.
    To participate in this program, non-commercial guides must obtain 
and possess a special use permit authorizing a non-commercial 
snowmobile transportation event. These permits will be issued through 
the Non-commercially Guided Snowmobile Access Program, which will allow 
non-commercially guided groups to enter the park for a specific date 
range. The maximum length of a non-commercially guided snowmobile trip 
is three days and two nights. These permits will be awarded through an 
annual lottery system. Persons interested in becoming a non-commercial 
guide will be required to join the lottery by submitting basic 
information on recreation.gov (name, email, mailing address). 
Successful lottery applicants will be notified by email that they are 
pre-approved for a special use permit. Successful lottery applicants 
will then complete the special use permit application that requires 
additional information (e.g. driver's license numbers, names of group 
participants, number and type of snowmobiles, insurance information, 
area or route of trip). In order to enter the park, non-commercial 
guides must demonstrate to

[[Page 63076]]

park officials at the gate that the necessary paperwork is complete and 
that they and their group members have complied with all other 
requirements of the Non-commercially Guided Snowmobile Access Program, 
including educational components. To the extent practicable, the NPS 
intends to recover the costs of administering this special use permit 
program pursuant to 16 U.S.C. 3a.
    Non-commercial snowmobile guides are directly responsible for the 
actions of their group. Each non-commercial guide may lead no more than 
two trips per winter season, and must be at least 18 years of age by 
the first day of the trip. Non-commercial guides must have working 
knowledge of snowmobile safety, general first aid, snowmobile repair, 
and navigational techniques. It is preferable that the non-commercial 
guide, or another member of the trip, be familiar with Yellowstone 
National Park. Non-commercial snowmobile guides may not advertise 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 is prohibited (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 ensure that the Non-commercially Guided 
Snowmobile Access Program results in impacts to park resources and 
management that are comparable to those resulting from the use of 
commercial guides.
    Further details about the Non-commercially Guided Snowmobile Access 
Program can be found in Appendix C to the Plan/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, utilization rates, 
visitor experiences, or other factors after providing notice in 
accordance with one or more methods listed in 36 CFR 1.7.
    For both commercially and non-commercially guided groups, an 
individual snowmobile may not be operated separately from a group 
within the park. Except in emergency situations, guided parties must 
travel together and all snowmobiles must remain within one-third of a 
mile of the first snowmobile in the transportation event. This ensures 
that groups of snowmobiles do not become separated. Past experience has 
demonstrated that one-third of a mile allows for sufficient and safe 
spacing between individual snowmobiles within the group, and allows 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 continues to be allowed only on 
designated routes. All main road segments will generally remain open 
for OSV use, but certain side roads will be reserved for ski and 
snowshoe use only. Certain main road segments may 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 final rule allows the 
Superintendent to open or close oversnow routes after taking into 
consideration the location of wintering wildlife, appropriate snow 
cover, public safety, avalanche conditions, resource protection, park 
operations, use patterns, or other factors.

What are transportation events?

Size of Transportation Events

    The final 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 1 snowcoach. The NPS will 
implement OSV management by transportation events starting with the 
2014-2015 winter season (Phase II). In the 2014-2015 season, the 
average size of a commercially guided snowmobile transportation event 
may not exceed 7 snowmobiles (including the guide's snowmobile), 
averaged daily. However, if commercial tour operators voluntarily 
upgrade their fleets to meet the new air and sound emission standards 
during the 2014-2015 winter season (before these standards become 
mandatory in the 2015-2016 season), their group sizes will be more 
flexible. For commercial snowmobile tour operators who upgrade at least 
10 snowmobiles in their fleets to the New Best Available Technology 
standards for snowmobiles, vehicle numbers will be averaged seasonally 
for transportation events that consist entirely of upgraded 
snowmobiles. This would allow commercial tour operators to have days 
with up to 10 snowmobiles per transportation event, provided their 
seasonal transportation event size averages 7 or less. As discussed 
below, this average may increase to 8 if voluntary enhanced emission 
standards are met. Each group still could not exceed the maximum group 
size of 10 snowmobiles.
    Beginning with the 2015-2016 winter season, 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 or 8 snowmobiles 
per transportation event allows 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 will 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 NPS to monitor compliance with this rule, each 
commercial tour operator is responsible for keeping track of its daily 
use on an NPS form, including group size and other variables of 
interest to the NPS, and reporting these numbers to the NPS on a 
monthly basis. The NPS may require reports to be submitted more 
frequently than monthly if it becomes necessary to more closely monitor 
activities to protect natural or cultural resources in the park. For 
each transportation event, commercial tour operators are 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 whether the transportation event allocation was from 
another commercial tour operator. Operators are also 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 will 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 final rule,

[[Page 63077]]

commercial tour operators are also subject to reporting requirements 
contained in their concession contracts or commercial use 
authorizations. The NPS 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 unsatisfactory ratings or 
suspension of their contracts. By closely monitoring this information 
the NPS 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.
    The 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, constitutes 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 may increase above the sizes 
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 provides a strong incentive for 
commercial tour operators to meet these voluntary standards. These 
incentives 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 may 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 sound emission requirements. To be 
considered 1 transportation event, the 2 snowcoaches must 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 the 2014-2015 season, the average size of a commercial 
tour operator's snowmobile transportation events over the course of a 
winter season may 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 2015-2016 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 HC 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.
    Commercial tour operators must 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.

Number of Transportation Events Allowed in the Park

    Up to 110 transportation events are allowed in the park on any 
given day during the winter season. Four transportation events are 
reserved for non-commercially guided tours of no more than 5 
snowmobiles, and up to 106 transportation events are 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 is 
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, utilization rates, visitor experiences, or other factors 
after providing public notice in accordance with one or more methods 
listed in 36 CFR 1.7. 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 will 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 will be fewer snowmobiles allowed in the 
park. If the maximum number of snowmobile transportation events is 
used, the result will be only 60 snowcoaches allowed in the park, or 
120 snowcoaches that meet the voluntary, enhanced sound emission 
standards.
    The final 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 two 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.

[[Page 63078]]



                                 Table 1
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                     Daily number of    Daily number of
                                      transportation     transportation
                                        events for      events for non-
      Park entrance/location           commercially       commercially
                                          guided             guided
                                       snowmobiles        snowmobiles
------------------------------------------------------------------------
West Entrance.....................                 23                  1
South Entrance....................                 17                  1
East Entrance.....................                  2                  1
North Entrance....................                  2                  1
Old Faithful......................                  2                  0
                                   -------------------------------------
    Total.........................                 46                  4
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    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. The average number per day would be no 
higher than 342 snowmobiles (46 commercially guided groups of 7 
snowmobiles each, plus 4 non-commercially guided groups of 5 
snowmobiles each). If all snowmobiles meet the voluntary enhanced 
emission standards described above, then 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 no 
higher than 388 snowmobiles per day (46 commercially guided groups of 8 
snowmobiles each, plus 4 non-commercially guided groups of 5 
snowmobiles each).
    Table 2 below shows these potential daily maximum numbers of 
snowmobiles in the park if all snowmobile transportation events are 
used.

                                                     Table 2
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                         46 Transportation   4 Transportation
                                                            events from      events from non-  Total snowmobiles
                                                            commercially       commercially       in the park
                                                           guided groups      guided groups
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Peak Day (10 snowmobiles per commercially guided group;                460                 20                480
 5 per non-commercially guided group)..................
Average Day (7 snowmobiles per commercially guided                     322                 20                342
 group; 5 per non-commercially guided group)...........
Average Day if all Snowmobiles meet Enhanced Standards                 368                 20                388
 (8 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, if all 106 transportation 
events are used by snowcoaches in a single day, there will 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 will end up somewhere in 
between these scenarios.
    Table 3 below shows the daily allocations and entrance 
distributions for snowcoach transportation events.

                                 Table 3
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                        Daily number of
                                     Daily number of       snowcoach
                                        snowcoach        transportation
                                      transportation     events if zero
      Park entrance/location         events if all 50     commercially
                                        snowmobile     guided snowmobile
                                      transportation     transportation
                                     events are used   events are used *
------------------------------------------------------------------------
West Entrance.....................                 26                 49
South Entrance....................                  8                 25
East Entrance.....................                  1                  3

[[Page 63079]]

 
North Entrance....................                 13                 15
Old Faithful......................                 12                 14
                                   -------------------------------------
    Total.........................                 60                106
------------------------------------------------------------------------
* The remaining 4 transportation events are reserved for non-
  commercially guided snowmobiles.

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 
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 will be created and controlled by those 
commercial tour operators who receive transportation event entrance 
allocations under this plan. Commercial tour operators must notify the 
NPS when transportation event allocations are exchanged.

Avalanche Management--Sylvan Pass

    The final 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, park operations, use patterns, or other factors. 
This authority will be used to manage Sylvan Pass in the manner 
described in the preferred alternative in the Plan/SEIS.

Summary of and Responses to Public Comments

    The NPS published the proposed rule at 78 FR 22470 (April 16, 
2013). We accepted comments through the mail, hand delivery, and 
through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. 
Comments were accepted through May 16, 2013, and we received over 6,000 
comments. A summary of comments and NPS responses is provided below, 
followed by a table that sets out changes we have made from the 
proposed rule in this final rule based on the analysis of the comments 
and other considerations.

Non-Motorized and Non-OSV Access to the Park

    1. Comment: Some comments stated that the NPS should provide 
additional opportunities for non-motorized access, including additional 
groomed trails and a temporary hut system.
    NPS Response: The final rule generally permits non-motorized 
travel. Approximately 35 miles of road would continue to be groomed for 
cross-country skiing and other non-motorized use in the park. In the 
future, the NPS may explore additional opportunities for non-motorized 
winter recreation, including the potential for a temporary hut system, 
which probably would not require further rulemaking.
    2. Comment: Several comments urged the NPS to allow snow bikes in 
the final regulation, while one comment urged the NPS not to allow snow 
bikes because they would present a safety hazard.
    NPS Response: The final rule continues to prohibit snow bikes in 
the park. The NPS believes that the use of snow bikes could create 
safety hazards along routes on which substantial numbers of snowmobiles 
and snowcoaches operate, such as the groomed roads in the park. Snow 
bikes may create conflicts with visitors and would have unknown impacts 
to park wildlife. Opportunities for snow bike use exist in the area, 
outside of the park. The NPS may reconsider the use of snow bikes 
through a separate planning process in the future.
    3. Comment: Some comments suggested allowing alternative ways to 
access the park, such as electric snowmobiles, trains, buses, or horse-
drawn carriages.
    NPS Response: In the Plan/SEIS, the NPS considered but dismissed 
the use of mass transit systems such as a train or monorail, as well as 
plowing park roads and allowing buses to bring visitors into the park. 
Reasons for dismissal can be found in Chapter 2 of the Plan/SEIS. At 
this time, there are no electric snowmobiles on the market, and 
therefore such technology could not be evaluated. The NPS believes that 
due to the harsh weather conditions and a number of other factors, it 
is not feasible to implement a horse-drawn carriage transportation 
system.

Numbers of OSVs Allowed in the Park

    4. Comment: One comment urged the NPS to be more flexible with the 
daily and monthly quotas in order to allow commercial tour operators to 
take advantage of peak demand periods.
    NPS Response: The NPS believes the final rule provides an 
appropriate amount of flexibility to commercial tour operators. The 
final rule authorizes up to 10 snowmobiles per transportation event 
while maintaining a seasonal average of 7 snowmobiles per 
transportation event or less (the eight-year historic average is 6.6 
snowmobiles per event). Furthermore, commercial tour operators who run 
transportation events consisting entirely of snowmobiles that meet 
voluntary, enhanced emission standards are allowed to average 8 
vehicles per event over the season. Similarly, transportation events 
that consist of snowcoaches that meet voluntary, enhanced emission 
standards could have up to 2 snowcoaches per transportation event, as 
long as the commercial tour operators running those events average no 
more than 1.5 snowcoaches per event over the season.

[[Page 63080]]

The final rule does not impose any monthly limits or quotas on OSV use.
    5. Comment: Some comments stated that the number of snowmobiles 
allowed under the proposed rule is too high. Other comments opposed 
increasing snowmobile use over levels authorized under the interim 
regulations, and some urged the NPS to extend the interim regulation 
and implement it on a permanent basis.
    NPS Response: The NPS acknowledges that this rule would allow more 
snowmobiles in the park per day than have been allowed since the 2008-
2009 season. However, the impact analysis in the Plan/SEIS demonstrates 
that by managing OSV use by transportation events and by imposing new 
air and sound emission requirements for both snowmobiles and 
snowcoaches, this higher number of vehicles would result in less 
overall impact to park resources while allowing more visitors to access 
the park than have been allowed in recent years. In the past, the NPS 
and interested parties have focused on the total number of vehicles 
authorized to access the park. However, this emphasis is misleading 
because impacts to wildlife and soundscapes stem primarily from groups 
of vehicles, not individual vehicles, and can be mitigated through 
vehicle management. By packaging traffic into transportation events and 
capping the total daily and seasonal number of transportation events, 
the park proactively reduces the amount of time vehicles are audible, 
therefore reducing impacts to natural soundscapes. By limiting the 
number of daily transportation events in the park, wildlife would be 
disrupted fewer times. These steps, in combination with continued 100% 
guiding requirements, will limit impacts on the park's flora, fauna, 
soundscape, and air quality into the future.
    6. Comment: Some comments opposed the use of snowmobiles at any 
level in the park, urging the NPS to reduce or eliminate snowmobile use 
and rely instead on snowcoaches only.
    NPS Response: The Plan/SEIS considered an alternative (3) 
that would have phased out snowmobile use in favor of snowcoaches that 
meet air and sound emission requirements. This alternative was not 
selected because it would limit visitors' choices regarding how to 
access and experience the park, it would not allow as many visitors to 
experience the park as the final rule does, and it would have greater 
overall adverse impacts to park resources than the final rule. The 
impact analysis in the Plan/SEIS demonstrates that with implementation 
of New Best Available Technology standards and transportation event 
management, the impacts of snowmobile use will be comparable to the 
impacts of snowcoach use.
    7. Comment: Some comments urged the NPS to allow greater numbers of 
OSVs than are allowed in the proposed rule.
    NPS Response: In the Final 2011 EIS and the Plan/SEIS, the NPS 
considered several alternatives that would have allowed greater numbers 
of OSVs than are allowed in the final rule. The NPS dismissed these 
alternatives for a number of reasons, including that higher OSV use 
numbers would have too great of an environmental impact on park 
resources.
    8. Comment: Some comments advocated closing the park to visitors 
completely during the winter.
    NPS Response: The NPS believes that visitors should be afforded the 
opportunity to experience the unique resources and values of 
Yellowstone during the winter. Some form of OSV travel is necessary to 
allow visitors to access areas of the park that cannot reasonably be 
reached using non-motorized means of transportation.
    9. Comment: Some comments suggested that transportation events that 
are allocated to a specific entrance that are not bid on by commercial 
tour operators should be reallocated to a different entrance.
    NPS Response: The final rule allows the Superintendent to make 
minor changes to the number of transportation events allocated to each 
entrance for a number of reasons, including utilization rates.

Air and Sound Emission Requirements

    10. Comment: In response to a question posed in the proposed rule, 
a number of comments opposed implementing the new air and sound 
emission requirements for snowmobiles before the 2017-2018 season, 
stating that it will take time for manufacturers to develop snowmobiles 
that can meet the New Best Available Technology standards and that the 
typical time it takes to phase in new technology is three years. Other 
comments supported the implementation schedule in the proposed rule, 
stating that imposing the new air and sound emission requirements in 
the 2017-2018 season will give commercial tour operators enough time to 
turn over their OSV fleets, as opposed to forcing them to purchase new 
machines before they are financially capable of doing so. Other 
comments stated that even if one snowmobile manufacturer can meet the 
New Best Available Technology standards earlier than the 2017-2018 
season, the NPS should allow enough time for all of the companies that 
currently produce compliant snowmobiles to develop New Best Available 
Technology snowmobiles and asked the NPS to consider the long-standing 
relationship between snowmobile manufacturers and commercial tour 
operators. One comment stated that due to the New Best Available 
Technology standards, there will likely be fewer snowmobile models 
certified for use in the park, and that snowmobiles meeting the 
voluntary, enhanced emission standards are not likely to be produced in 
the near future.
    NPS Response: The NPS acknowledges the concerns about whether all 
manufacturers can produce snowmobiles that meet New Best Available 
Technology standards prior to the 2017-2018 season, and recognizes that 
there are concerns about impacts to commercial tour operators that 
would result from accelerating the New Best Available Technology 
implementation dates. The NPS notes, however, that one manufacturer has 
already certified to the NPS that it produces a model that meets the 
new air and sound emission requirements that will be mandatory 
beginning in the 2015-2016 season: the Bombardier Ski Doo GSX LE 900 
ACE produces 90 g/kW-hr of CO, 8 g/kW-hr of HC (both FEL), and 69 dB(A) 
as measured via SAE J192 (forecasted to produce ~67 dB(A) as measured 
via SAE J1161). In addition, accelerating implementation of New Best 
Available Technology standards for snowmobiles to December 2015 will 
not impact snowmobile commercial tour operators who turn their fleets 
over biennially because model year 2014 snowmobiles purchased for use 
in 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 will be resold on the secondary market prior 
to implementation of New Best Available Technology in December 2015. 
Further, the NPS has conducted additional economic analyses that show 
the effect on concessioners for advancing New Best Available Technology 
two years (from December 2017 to December 2015) would be +$220,956 at 
the 3% discount rate (+$197,091 at 7% discount rate). Lastly, the NPS 
will be better able to protect its resources and minimize adverse 
impacts related to OSV use sooner by advancing the implementation date 
for New Best Available Technology for snowmobiles to December 2015.
    11. Comment: In response to a question posed in the proposed rule, 
many comments urged the NPS to require snowmobiles to meet the New

[[Page 63081]]

Best Available Technology requirements in the 2015-2016 season instead 
of the 2017-2018 season, stating that snowmobiles that meet the New 
Best Available Technology standards already exist and therefore there 
is no reason to wait until the 2017-2018 season to require these 
machines. Comments also supported requiring that all existing 
snowcoaches meet air and sound emission requirements in the 2016-2017 
season instead of the 2017-2018 season.
    NPS Response: The NPS agrees that snowmobiles and snowcoaches that 
meet the new air and sound emission standards are currently available. 
As a result, the final rule requires New Best Available Technology 
standards for snowmobiles be implemented in the 2015-2016 season, and 
air and sound emission standards for snowcoaches be implemented in the 
2016-2017 season.
    12. Comment: In response to a question posed in the proposed rule, 
many commenters stated the NPS should not abandon the proposal to 
reduce CO emissions as part of the New Best Available Technology 
standards.
    NPS Response: The NPS agrees that the mandated reductions to CO 
emissions are necessary in order to minimize impacts to park resources, 
and that the New Best Available Technology standards can be met with 
existing technology. The NPS notes that 36 different snowmobile models 
already meet the new air emission standards that will be mandatory 
beginning in the 2015-2016 season. Accordingly, the CO emission 
reductions remain part of the New Best Available Technology standards 
for snowmobiles in the final rule.
    13. Comment: In response to a question posed in the proposed rule, 
many comments urged the NPS not to abandon the New Best Available 
Technology requirements included in the proposed rule. Some comments 
urged the NPS to adopt even more stringent Best Available Technology 
requirements than were included in the proposed rule. Several comments 
urged the NPS to continue to evolve air and sound emission standards 
over time.
    NPS Response: The New Best Available Technology requirements for 
snowmobiles and the air and sound emission requirements for snowcoaches 
that are included in the final rule are stricter than those that have 
been in place since the 2004-2005 season. The NPS believes that the air 
and sound emissions standards in the final rule will better protect 
park resources and values than has been the case in the past, and can 
be met by OSV manufacturers. In addition to the new air and sound 
emission standards for snowmobiles and snowcoaches, the final rule 
includes voluntary, enhanced standards that would reward innovations in 
OSV technology and would further reduce impacts to air and soundscapes. 
The NPS will continue to evaluate the impacts of OSV use through the 
Adaptive Management Program, and if necessary, make changes to the air 
and sound emission standards. For instance, the final rule allows the 
Superintendent to establish performance-based standards for snowcoaches 
that would enable compliant snowcoaches to be operated in the park 
after the expiration of the 10-year certification period. The NPS 
recognizes that any other changes to air and sound emission standards, 
such as the implementation of requirements for nitrogen oxide 
emissions, would require changes to the rule, and could also require 
additional National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review prior to 
implementation.
    14. Comment: One comment urged the NPS to investigate the 
feasibility of limiting nitrogen oxide emissions from oversnow 
vehicles.
    NPS Response: The NPS has begun collecting data on nitrogen oxide 
emissions from OSVs in the past few years, and has begun monitoring for 
nitrogen oxides over the past two winter seasons. The NPS expects to 
conduct additional research regarding nitrogen oxides in the future, 
and where possible, will correlate new data to individual vehicle types 
in order to better understand the issues and impacts related to 
emission of nitrogen oxide from OSVs. If necessary, the NPS could limit 
nitrogen oxide emissions in the future, through the Adaptive Management 
Program.
    15. Comment: One comment urged the NPS to test snowmobiles under 
the same conditions and in the same manner that they are used in the 
park.
    NPS Response: Under the final rule, snowmobiles will be tested for 
noise emissions at their typical cruising speed of 35 mph in accordance 
with the SAE J1161 test procedures. This is a deviation from past 
snowmobile noise emission measurements which were conducted following 
SAE J192 procedures, a full-throttle maximum sound output test. 
Snowmobiles will continue to be tested for air emissions by individual 
manufacturers following the procedures detailed in 40 CFR 1051.505. The 
NPS has determined that it would cause undue hardship and expense to 
require testing in conditions that are encountered in the park outside 
of a laboratory environment.
    16. Comment: One comment urged the NPS not to adopt new methods for 
testing snowmobile noise emissions.
    NPS Response: The NPS believes that adopting the J1161 test 
procedures will more accurately measure noise emissions in a manner 
that reflects how snowmobiles are used in the park. Additionally, while 
the new method requires testing and certifying snowmobiles at their 
typical cruising speed of 35 mph, the NPS is able to correlate the new 
testing procedures with the previous, full-throttle tests.
    17. Comment: In response to a question posed in the proposed rule, 
many comments stated that snowmobiles used for non-commercially guided 
trips should be required to meet New Best Available Technology 
standards.
    NPS Response: The NPS agrees that New Best Available Technology 
standards are needed to protect park resources and values and that 
exempting snowmobiles used in non-commercially guided groups would 
unnecessarily allow greater impacts to park resources than the use of 
vehicles compliant with New Best Available Technology standards. This 
would also create a double-standard for snowmobiles used in the park. 
Under the final rule, all snowmobiles entering the park, including 
those used in non-commercially guided groups, are required to meet New 
Best Available Technology standards.
    18. Comment: One comment stated that only snowmobiles with four-
stroke engines and fuel injection should be allowed in the park.
    NPS Response: The final rule contains performance-based sound and 
air emission standards for snowmobiles. As long as a snowmobile can 
meet those standards, that snowmobile can have a two-stroke or a four-
stroke engine.
    19. Comment: One comment urged the NPS to adopt a performance-based 
standard for historic Bombardier snowcoaches and urged the NPS to allow 
engines in historic Bombardier snowcoaches to be used for more than ten 
years. Several comments further urged the NPS to develop performance-
based emissions requirements for all snowcoaches, not just Bombardiers, 
rather than requiring design specifications (technology-based 
standards). Other commenters stated that if performance-based standards 
are developed, they would need to be subjected to additional review 
under NEPA.
    NPS Response: The 10-year requirement ensures that the least 
polluting snowcoaches are used in the park and reflects the concept 
that over

[[Page 63082]]

time, the efficiency of engines and exhaust emission control systems 
degrades due to wear and tear. In consultations with the EPA, 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. The NPS acknowledges that the technology-based air 
and sound emission standards for snowcoaches could result in some 
vehicles entering the park emitting higher levels of air emissions than 
might be desirable. Because the majority of snowcoaches are typically 
converted from street vehicles designed to operate on roads, it is 
difficult to predict the actual emissions of each vehicle after it is 
converted to tracks and operated on snow at high elevations. Due to the 
limited amount of data on actual snowcoach emissions, a performance-
based standard could not be implemented at this time. The NPS will 
continue to collect data on snowcoach emissions and, if necessary, will 
investigate the possibility of implementing a performance-based or 
quasi-technology/performance-based standard through the Adaptive 
Management Program. The final rule allows the Superintendent to 
establish performance-based emission standards for snowcoaches that 
would enable compliant snowcoaches to be operated in the park after the 
expiration of the 10-year certification period. The NPS recognizes that 
any other changes to air and sound emission standards, such as the 
implementation of requirements for nitrogen oxide emissions, would 
require changes to the rule, and could also require additional NEPA 
review prior to implementation.
    20. Comment: One comment stated that the impacts of increased OSV 
use during Phase II of implementation are not evaluated in the Plan/
SEIS.
    NPS Response: During Phase II of implementation (2014-2015 and 
2015-2016 seasons), depending on how commercial tour operators use 
their transportation events, the impacts of OSV use would fall 
generally within the impacts predicted for Alternatives 2A and 4A-D in 
the Plan/SEIS. For example, if zero commercial tour operators 
voluntarily upgrade their OSVs to meet the new air and sound emission 
standards during Phase II, before these requirements become mandatory, 
impacts to resources would be similar to those forecasted for 
Alternative 2A in the Plan/SEIS. This is because the additional air and 
noise impacts created by an increase of 24 snowmobiles (from 318 to 342 
snowmobiles) would largely be offset by a reduction of 18 snowcoaches 
(from 78 to 60 snowcoaches). If, however, all commercial tour operators 
voluntarily upgrade their OSVs to meet the new air and sound emission 
standards during Phase II, impacts would be identical to those 
forecasted in the Plan/SEIS for Alternatives 4A-D (depending on how 
commercial tour operators choose to allocate their snowmobile and 
snowcoach transportation events). In addition, as a mechanism to help 
ensure the impacts of OSV use do not exceed the forecasted level of 
impacts disclosed in the Plan/SEIS, the NPS made a change to the final 
rule clarifying that in order to use a snowcoach in lieu of a 
snowmobile transportation event during Phase II, the snowcoach will 
need to meet the air and sound emission requirements that apply to all 
snowcoaches beginning in the 2016-2017 season.

Non-Commercially Guided Groups

    21. Comment: Some comments opposed allowing non-commercially guided 
use, stating that the requirement in recent regulations that all 
snowmobiles be accompanied by a professional guide has been 
instrumental in reducing impacts to park resources. Other comments 
supported non-commercially guided access, claiming that it is an 
essential aspect of the proposed rule.
    NPS Response: Best available data demonstrates that unguided use 
could have greater adverse impacts to park resources than guided use, 
but this data does not distinguish between commercial and non-
commercial guides. The NPS believes that with appropriate training and 
enforcement, there will be no difference in impacts from similarly 
sized commercially guided groups versus non-commercially guided groups. 
The NPS will develop a Non-commercially Guided Snowmobile Access 
Program and will monitor non-commercially guided groups through the 
Adaptive Management Program. If non-commercially guided groups are 
determined to have a relatively greater impact to park resources and 
values than commercially guided groups, non-commercially guided use may 
be reduced or discontinued.
    22. Comment: Some comments urged the NPS to allow more than 4 
transportation events each day for non-commercially guided groups. 
Other comments suggested that an increase to the number of non-
commercially guided transportation events be allowed through the 
adaptive management process.
    NPS Response: The NPS notes that non-commercially guided access has 
not been allowed in the park before and believes the level of non-
commercially guided access in the final rule is appropriate. The NPS 
further notes that the number of snowmobile transportation events is 
capped at 50 (46 for commercial tour operators and 4 for non-
commercially guided trips) and any increases to the number of non-
commercially guided transportation events through the adaptive 
management process would come at the expense of transportation events 
allocated to commercial tour operators.
    23. Comment: Some comments offered suggestions regarding the Non-
commercially Guided Snowmobile Access Program. Several commenters 
offered to participate in the development of the Non-commercially 
Guided Snowmobile Access Program, or identified persons or 
organizations that they believe should assist with development of the 
program.
    NPS Response: The NPS is committed to developing a Non-commercially 
Guided Snowmobile Access Program with input from the public and 
stakeholders. The NPS will notify the public regarding this effort when 
it begins, and will consider the comments submitted on the proposed 
rule relating to this program at that time.
    24. Comment: Some commenters urged the NPS to require non-
commercially guided tour operators to carry the same insurance as 
commercial tour operators.
    NPS Response: Under the final rule, each non-commercial guide may 
lead no more than two trips per winter season and may not charge a fee 
or accept any compensation for guiding services. As a result, the NPS 
does not believe it is appropriate to require non-commercial guides to 
carry the same insurance as commercial tour operators.
    25. Comment: Several comments stated concerns that non-commercially 
guided access may adversely affect the number of transportation events 
available for commercial tour operators, and stated there should be a 
separate allocation for non-commercially guided transportation events.
    NPS Response: Under the final rule, 50 of the 110 total 
transportation events allowed in the park per day are reserved for 
snowmobiles. Of these 50 snowmobile transportation events, 46 will be 
allocated to commercial tour operators and 4 will be reserved for non-
commercially guided groups.
    26. Comment: One comment urged the NPS to consider allowing non-
commercially guided groups to stay in the park for longer than two days 
and one night at a time.

[[Page 63083]]

    NPS Response: The NPS recognizes that some visitors who enter the 
park as part of a non-commercially guided group may wish to stay for 
several days. The preamble of the final rule has been changed to state 
that the maximum length of a non-commercially guided snowmobile trip is 
three days and two nights.

Management of Sylvan Pass

    27. Comment: Some comments opposed keeping Sylvan Pass open, 
stating that avalanche control activities are unsafe, that the area 
contains lynx and wolverine habitat, and that the costs of keeping it 
open are too high. Other comments supported keeping access to the park 
open through the East Entrance, citing the importance of access to the 
park for Northwest Wyoming and its visitors.
    NPS Response: The NPS conducted Operational Risk Management 
Assessments (ORMAs) in 2007 and 2010 focused on issues relating to 
keeping Sylvan Pass open in the winter. The results of these ORMAs 
indicated that appropriate procedures are in place to operate the Pass 
safely. Best available data indicates that the Pass is not frequently 
used by lynx or wolverines, and the potential for impacts on these 
species is minimal. Furthermore, avalanche mitigation in Sylvan Pass 
affects less than 0.1% of wolverine habitat within Yellowstone. The NPS 
completed an informal consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, which concurred with the NPS determination that impacts from 
OSV use may affect, but are not likely to adversely affect, Canada 
lynx, designated critical habitat for lynx, and wolverines. Additional 
details regarding the impacts of avalanche mitigation on Sylvan Pass 
can be found in Chapter 4 of the Plan/SEIS. The NPS understands that 
the public is concerned with the cost of Sylvan Pass operations and the 
cost of winter operations as a whole. However, the NPS must balance 
cost with other factors, including visitor access and enjoyment of the 
park, when determining a long-term winter use plan.

Snowcoach Requirements

    28. Comment: One comment suggested that there should be size and 
weight restrictions on snowcoaches to reduce rutting.
    NPS Response: Neither maximum vehicle weight, gross vehicle weight 
rating, nor width for snowcoaches is included in the final rule. In the 
past, the NPS proposed specifying a maximum size and pounds per square 
inch weight limit for snowcoaches in order to address issues related to 
rutting. Without detailed study that evaluates variables, including 
pounds per square inch, snow conditions and environmental 
considerations such as density, snow-water equivalency, hardness, 
aspect, and other factors such as grooming practices and equipment, and 
snowcoach track design and configuration, it is difficult to determine 
what specific requirements would lessen the potential for rutting of 
snow roads. The NPS acknowledges that some snowcoaches leave ruts on 
the roads and that these ruts negatively affect the visitor experience 
and present a potential safety hazard to other users. To address this 
concern, the NPS is currently studying this issue and is working to 
develop mitigation strategies once the determinants of rutting are 
positively identified. After further study, should any size, weight, or 
weight displacement restrictions for snowcoaches be necessary, these 
restrictions will be incorporated in commercial tour operators' annual 
operating plans.
    29. Comment: One comment urged the NPS to allow snowcoaches to be 
equipped with tires in addition to tracks.
    NPS Response: The NPS recognizes that there may be snowcoaches 
developed in the future that use tires specifically designed for 
operation in oversnow conditions instead of tracks. While the impact 
analysis in the Plan/SEIS only includes analysis of snowcoaches with 
tracks, the NPS wishes to retain flexibility to allow wheeled 
snowcoaches in the future. Therefore, the definition of a snowcoach has 
been changed in the final rule to allow the possibility for wheeled 
snowcoach use. The NPS could examine wheeled snowcoach use through the 
adaptive management and monitoring process.

Adaptive Management

    30. Comment: Some comments asked for the adaptive management 
program to be more clearly defined and incorporated into the final 
rule.
    NPS Response: As stated in the Plan/SEIS, in order to be most 
effective adaptive management processes must include stakeholder input. 
The NPS has committed to an Adaptive Management Program that will 
provide for this stakeholder involvement, but due to the time it takes 
to fully develop an adaptive management plan, this could not be 
completed prior to the promulgation of the final rule.

Impacts to Park Resources

    31. Comment: Some comments urged the NPS to keep impacts under the 
final rule similar to impacts seen during the past four years under the 
interim rule. Other comments urged the NPS to ensure the park is 
cleaner and quieter than has been the case over the past four years 
under the interim rule.
    NPS Response: The NPS notes that the level of average use seen over 
the past four seasons under the interim rule represents less than 60% 
of the use levels authorized during that time. In the Plan/SEIS, the 
NPS considered but dismissed from detailed analysis an alternative that 
would have allowed a maximum of 191 snowmobiles and 36 snowcoaches per 
day, which are the average use levels seen during the 2009-2010 through 
2011-2012 seasons. While there are a number of factors that resulted in 
less than 100% of the authorized use being seen over the past few 
seasons, for its impact analysis in the Plan/SEIS, the NPS assumed that 
100% of the allowable OSV use will take place under each alternative 
analyzed. Under this assumption, the impacts of OSV use under the final 
rule would have less adverse impact to park resources than the level of 
use authorized under the interim rule. The NPS notes, however, that 
even at the same levels as the average use seen under the interim rule, 
OSV use under the final rule would result in less impact to park 
resources than have been seen over the past four seasons, due to the 
new air and sound emission requirements and management of OSVs by 
transportation events.

Snowmobile Speed Limits

    32. Comment: One comment opposed lowering the speed limit for 
snowmobiles to 35 mph, stating that this will limit the time visitors 
will be able to spend enjoying park resources because it will take more 
time to enter and exit the park.
    NPS Response: 35 mph represents the typical cruising speed for 
snowmobiles in the park. Therefore, the NPS believes that visitors will 
have a similar amount of time to experience park resources as they had 
under previous winter use rules. The NPS believes this speed limit is 
appropriate to protect visitor safety and to limit impacts to park 
resources from OSV use, including minimization of OSV-caused noise.

Changes From the Proposed Rule

    After taking the public comments into consideration and after 
additional review, the NPS made the following changes in the final 
rule:

[[Page 63084]]



------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sec.   7.13(l)(2)...................  In the definition of
                                       ``snowcoach,'' removed the
                                       requirement that snowcoaches be
                                       driven by a track or tracks and
                                       steered by skis or tracks.
Sec.   7.13(l)(4)(i)................  Clarified that the Superintendent
                                       may establish additional
                                       operating conditions, including
                                       performance-based emission
                                       standards for snowcoaches, after
                                       providing public notice.
Sec.   7.13(l)(4)(ii)...............  Changed the dates that air and
                                       sound emission requirements apply
                                       to new and existing snowcoaches.
Sec.   7.13(l)(4)(iv)...............  Clarified that snowcoach sound
                                       emissions are measured when
                                       operating the snowcoach at 25 mph
                                       or its maximum cruising speed if
                                       less than 25 mph. Testing at
                                       these speeds is representative of
                                       how snowcoaches are operated in
                                       the park and allows the NPS to
                                       better understand impacts to
                                       resources.
Sec.   7.13(l)(4)(vii)..............  Clarified that the NPS will test
                                       and certify snowcoaches for air
                                       and sound emissions in the park.
                                       Testing in the park allows the
                                       NPS to measure impacts under
                                       reasonable operating conditions.
Sec.   7.13(l)(6)(i)................  Changed the dates that new air and
                                       sound emission requirements apply
                                       to snowmobiles.
Sec.   7.13(l)(8)(i)................  Provided more detail about routes
                                       where snowcoaches may be operated
                                       in the park.
Sec.   7.13(l)(9)(v)................  Added a requirement that
                                       snowmobiles operated by non-
                                       commercial guides be clearly
                                       marked. Concession contracts
                                       require commercial guides to be
                                       marked so this change imposes the
                                       same requirement on non-
                                       commercial guides. Marking
                                       assists the NPS with enforcement
                                       of the rules.
Sec.   7.13(l)(9)(vi)...............  Clarified that non-commercial
                                       guides must obtain a special use
                                       permit from the NPS prior to
                                       entering the park with a non-
                                       commercially guided group.
Sec.   7.13(l)(10)(xii).............  Adjusted the chart of daily
                                       transportation event entry limits
                                       by park entrance/location to be
                                       consistent with modeling
                                       conducted as part of the Plan/
                                       SEIS.
Sec.   7.13(l)(11)(iii).............  Clarified that commercial tour
                                       operator reports may be required
                                       more than once per month if it
                                       becomes necessary to more closely
                                       monitor activities to protect
                                       natural or cultural resources in
                                       the park. This would allow the
                                       NPS to better measure compliance
                                       with the season average limits on
                                       transportation events and give
                                       commercial tour operators better
                                       information to make informed
                                       business decisions.
Sec.   7.13(l)(12)(i)...............  Clarified that the Superintendent
                                       may determine the start and end
                                       dates of a winter season, and
                                       decide to close all or certain
                                       areas of the park to OSV use
                                       after considering appropriate
                                       factors.
Sec.   7.13(l)(13)(i)(I)............  Added a 25 mph speed limit for
                                       snowcoaches. This ensures that
                                       snowcoach use will be consistent
                                       with environmental impact models
                                       in the Plan/SEIS. This limit is
                                       consistent with the performance
                                       capabilities of snowcoaches.
Sec.   7.13(l)(13)(ii)(D)...........  Added a requirement that
                                       snowmobiles be registered in the
                                       U.S. State or Canadian Province
                                       of principal use.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Section-by-Section Analysis

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

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

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

    The NPS has included definitions for a variety of terms, including 
commercial guide, commercial tour operator, non-commercially guided 
group, oversnow vehicle, oversnow route, and transportation event.
    For snowmobiles, the NPS is continuing to use the definition found 
at 36 CFR 1.4. The final rule also includes 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.
    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) are 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 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.

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

    The final rule continues to authorize operation of a snowmobile 
within the park 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 is subject to the terms 
and conditions of this final rule.

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

    The final rule continues to authorize operation of snowcoaches in 
the park each winter season, subject to the conditions in this final 
rule. Snowcoaches must be 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 25 mph, or its maximum cruising 
speed if less than 25 mph, using the SAE J1161 test procedures. 
Existing snowcoaches must meet these requirements beginning in the 
2016-2017 winter season, while new snowcoaches must meet these 
requirements upon being put into service beginning in the 2014-2015 
winter season.

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

    Except for some exemptions that apply to the Cave Falls Road and 
use by persons affiliated with the park, the final rule continues to 
require that only snowmobiles that meet NPS air and sound emissions 
requirements may be operated in the park.

[[Page 63085]]

Section 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 the existing air and sound 
emission requirements through the 2014-2015 winter season. As of 
December 15, 2015, snowmobiles must operate at or below 67 dB(A) as 
measured at cruising speed and must be certified under 40 CFR part 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.

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

    Specific routes are listed where snowmobiles may be operated, but 
the final rule also provides latitude for the Superintendent to close 
and reopen routes when necessary. When determining what routes are 
available for use, the Superintendent will consider weather and snow 
conditions, public safety, protection of park resources, park 
operations, use patterns, and other factors.

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

    Snowcoaches may be operated on the specific routes open to 
snowmobile use. In addition, rubber-tracked snowcoaches may be operated 
from the park entrance at Gardiner, MT, to the parking lot of Upper 
Terrace Drive and in the Mammoth Hot Springs developed area. This final 
rule also provides latitude for the Superintendent to close and reopen 
routes when necessary. When determining what routes are available for 
use, the Superintendent will consider weather and snow conditions, 
public safety, protection of park resources, park operations, use 
patterns, and other factors.

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

    The final rule retains the requirement that, except on the Cave 
Falls Road, all visitors operating snowmobiles in the park must be 
accompanied by a guide. In addition to commercially guided trips, the 
final 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 final rule requires 
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.

Section 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 NPS 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 are allowed in 
the park on any day. Four transportation events are reserved for non-
commercially guided groups, and up to 106 transportation events are 
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 is 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 transportation event, if the vehicles 
meet voluntary, enhanced emission standards.

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

    In order for the NPS to monitor compliance with this rule, each 
commercial tour operator is responsible for keeping track of its daily 
use on an NPS form, including group size and other variables of 
interest to the NPS, and reporting these numbers to the NPS on a 
monthly basis. The NPS may require reports to be submitted more 
frequently than monthly if it becomes necessary to more closely monitor 
activities to protect natural or cultural resources in the park. For 
each transportation event, commercial tour operators are 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 whether the transportation event allocation was from 
another commercial tour operator. Operators are required to report 
their transportation event size averages for the previous month and for 
the season to-date. In addition to the reporting requirements in the 
final rule, commercial tour operators are also subject to reporting 
requirements contained in their concession contracts or commercial use 
authorizations.

Section 7.13(l)(12) How will I know when I can operate a snowmobile or 
snowcoach in the park?

    The Superintendent will determine the start and end dates of each 
winter season, which will begin no earlier than December 15 and end no 
later than March 15 each winter season. The Superintendent will 
consider appropriate factors when determining the length of the winter 
season, including adequate snow cover, the location of wintering 
wildlife, public safety, resource protection, park operations, and use 
patterns. Based upon these factors, the Superintendent may determine 
that there will be no winter season for oversnow vehicles or that 
certain areas of the park may be closed to public OSV use. The final 
rule does not change the methods the Superintendent will 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 final 
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. 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, non-administrative 
travel by affiliated persons, and emergencies.

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

    The final rule maintains 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 five to three minutes), maximum speed limit (35 mph 
for snowmobiles and 25 mph for

[[Page 63086]]

snowcoaches), towing of sleds, and other requirements related to safety 
and impacts to resources. Towing people 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.

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

    The final 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 final rule maintains the 
additional regulations that address under-age drinking while operating 
a snowmobile, and operation under the influence by snowcoach 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 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 should not be allowed.
    In the case of snowcoach or snowmobile guides, a low BAC limit is 
also necessary. Persons operating a snowcoach are likely to be carrying 
eight or more passengers in a vehicle. Vehicles on tracks or skis are 
more challenging to operate than wheeled vehicles, and travel on 
oversnow routes 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 
final rule continues to require that all guides be held to a stricter 
than normal standard for alcohol consumption. Therefore, the final rule 
continues a BAC limit of .04 for snowcoach 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.

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

    The final 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 this final rule. 
Some portions of 36 CFR 2.18 and 2.19 are superseded by the final 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, does not apply in Yellowstone. The 
final rule also supersedes 36 CFR 2.19(b). Other provisions of 36 CFR 
Chapter I continue to apply to the operation of OSVs unless 
specifically superseded by the final rule.

Section 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, bicycle use, 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 are reaffirmed by 
this rule.

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

    Snowplanes may not be used in Yellowstone National Park.

Section 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 in the Office of Management and Budget 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 (March 2013)'' 
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 will 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 will 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

[[Page 63087]]

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 (March 2013)'' 
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)

    This rule does not affect a taking of private property or otherwise 
have taking implications under Executive Order 12630. 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 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 Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number. 
OMB has previously approved the information collection requirements 
associated with NPS special park use permits and assigned OMB Control 
Number 1024-0026, which expires August 31, 2016. When requirements for 
the Non-commercially Guided Snowmobile Access Program are developed, we 
will seek OMB approval, if necessary, for any new information 
collection requirements. OMB has reviewed and approved the following 
new reporting and recordkeeping requirements contained in this rule, 
and assigned OMB Control Number 1024-0266:
    (1) To ensure that snowcoaches and snowmobiles meet NPS emission 
and sound standards, 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, as of December 15, 2014, each 
commercial tour operator must:
    (a) Maintain accurate and complete records of the number of 
snowmobile and snowcoach transportation events 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 
information below about snowmobile and snowcoach use. We may require 
the report to be submitted more frequently than monthly if it becomes 
necessary to more closely monitor activities to protect natural or 
cultural resources in the park.
     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 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.
    During the proposed rule stage, we solicited comments on the above 
information collection requirements. We did not receive any comments 
pertaining to the information collection. We have discussed other 
comments received in the preamble above.
    Title: Reporting and Recordkeeping for Snowcoaches and Snowmobiles, 
Yellowstone National Park, 36 CFR 7.13(l).
    OMB Control Number: 1024-0266.
    Service Form Number: None.
    Description of Respondents: Commercial businesses operating OSVs

[[Page 63088]]

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 of    Completion time     Estimated
                            Activity                                 annual        per response    total annual
                                                                   nresponses        (hours)      burden hours *
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Meet Emission/Sound Standards--Snowcoaches (7.13(l)(4)(vii))...              12               .5               6
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.

    You may send comments on any aspect of this information collection 
to the Information Collection Clearance Officer, National Park Service, 
1849 C Street NW. (2601), Washington, DC 20240.

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 Plan/SEIS under the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969. The Plan/SEIS is available by contacting the Yellowstone National 
Park Management Assistant's Office and 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.''

Effects on the Energy Supply (Executive Order 13211)

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

Drafting Information

    The primary authors of this regulation are: Jay P. Calhoun, 
Regulations Program Specialist; 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 M. Vagias, Management 
Assistant, Yellowstone National Park.

List of Subjects in 36 CFR Part 7

    National parks, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    In consideration of the foregoing, the National Park Service amends 
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, DC Code 10-137 (2001) and DC 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 (l)(15) and (l)(18) of this 
section apply to the use of snowcoaches and snowmobiles by guides and 
park visitors. Except where indicated, paragraphs (l)(2) through 
(l)(15) do not apply to non-administrative oversnow vehicle use by 
affiliated persons.
    (2) What terms do I need to know? The definitions in this paragraph 
(l)(2) also apply to non-administrative oversnow vehicle use by 
affiliated persons.
    Affiliated persons means persons other than guides or park 
visitors. Affiliated persons include NPS employees, contractors, 
concessioner employees, their families and guests, or other persons 
designated 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 
training and certification requirements established by the 
Superintendent that demonstrate the requisite knowledge and skills to 
operate a snowmobile in Yellowstone National Park. In order to be 
certified and receive a special use permit, a non-commercial guide 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.
    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

[[Page 63089]]

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), having a capacity of at least eight 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 
kilograms), 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? 
You may operate a snowmobile in Yellowstone National Park 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.
    (4) When may I operate a snowcoach in Yellowstone National Park? 
(i) A snowcoach may be operated in Yellowstone National Park only under 
a concessions contract or commercial use authorization 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 Superintendent may establish 
additional operating conditions, including performance-based emission 
standards for snowcoaches, after providing notice of those conditions 
in accordance with one or more methods listed in 36 CFR 1.7.
    (ii) The requirements in paragraphs (l)(4)(iii) through (iv) of 
this section apply to:
    (A) new snowcoaches put into service on or after December 15, 2014;
    (B) snowcoaches used in lieu of snowmobile transportation events 
during the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 winter seasons; and
    (C) all existing snowcoaches as of December 15, 2016.
    (iii) The following air emission requirements apply to snowcoaches:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                        must meet the
            A snowcoach that is a . . .             following standard .
                                                             . .
------------------------------------------------------------------------
(A) Diesel-fueled snowcoach with a gross vehicle    The functional
 weight rating (GVWR) less than 8,500 pounds.        equivalent of 2010
                                                     (or newer) EPA Tier
                                                     2 model year engine
                                                     and emission
                                                     control technology
                                                     requirements.
(B) Diesel-fueled snowcoach with a GVWR greater     The EPA model year
 than or equal to 8,500 pounds.                      2010 ``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
                                                    (2) Would achieve
                                                     better emission
                                                     results with a
                                                     configuration that
                                                     meets the Tier 2
                                                     requirements.
(C) Gasoline-fueled snowcoach greater than or       The functional
 equal to 10,000 GVWR.                               equivalent of 2008
                                                     (or newer) EPA Tier
                                                     2 model year engine
                                                     and emission
                                                     control technology
                                                     requirements.
(D) Gasoline-fueled snowcoach less than 10,000      The functional
 GVWR.                                               equivalent of 2007
                                                     (or newer) EPA Tier
                                                     2 model year engine
                                                     and emission
                                                     control technology
                                                     requirements.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (iv) A snowcoach may not exceed a sound level of 75 dB(A) when 
measured by operating the snowcoach at 25 mph, or at its maximum 
cruising speed if that is less than 25 mph, for the test cycle in 
accordance with the SAE J1161 test procedures.
    (v) All emission-related exhaust components (as listed in the 
applicable portion of 40 CFR 86.004-25) 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.
    (vi) Operating a snowcoach with the original pollution control 
equipment disabled or modified is prohibited.
    (vii) Before the start of a winter season, a snowcoach manufacturer 
or a commercial tour operator must demonstrate, by means acceptable to 
the Superintendent, that a snowcoach meets the air and sound emission 
standards. The NPS will test and certify snowcoaches for compliance 
with air and sound emission requirements at locations in the park. 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, or longer if the snowcoach 
is certified to meet performance-based emission standards established 
by the Superintendent under paragraph (l)(4)(i) of this section.
    (viii) Snowcoaches are subject to periodic and unannounced 
inspections to determine compliance with the requirements of paragraph 
(l)(4) of this section.
    (ix) This paragraph (l)(4) also applies to non-administrative 
oversnow vehicle use by affiliated persons.
    (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

[[Page 63090]]

manufacturer must demonstrate, by means acceptable to the 
Superintendent, that a snowmobile meets 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, 2015, 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, 2015, 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, 2015, 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, 2015, 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. 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). 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 six 
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 affiliated persons.
    (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) Entrance roads: from the parking lot at Upper Terrace Drive 
south of Mammoth Hot Springs to Norris Junction, from the park boundary 
at West Yellowstone to Madison Junction, from the South Entrance to 
West Thumb, and from the East Entrance to junction with the Grand Loop 
Road.
    (B) Grand Loop Road segments: from Norris Junction to Madison 
Junction, from Madison Junction to West Thumb, from West Thumb to the 
junction with the East Entrance Road, from Norris Junction to Canyon 
Junction, and from Canyon Junction to the junction with the East 
Entrance Road.
    (C) Side roads: South Canyon Rim Drive, Lake Butte Road, Firehole 
Canyon Drive, North Canyon Rim Drive, and Riverside Drive.
    (D) Developed area roads in the areas of Madison Junction, Old 
Faithful, Grant Village, West Thumb, Lake, East Entrance, Fishing 
Bridge, Canyon, Indian Creek, and Norris.
    (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, resource protection, park operations, use 
patterns, and other factors. The Superintendent will provide public 
notice of any opening or closing by one or more of the methods listed 
in 36 CFR 1.7.
    (iii) This paragraph (l)(7) also applies to non-administrative 
oversnow vehicle use by affiliated persons.
    (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. Snowcoaches may be operated on 
the Grand Loop Road from Canyon Junction to the Washburn Hot Springs 
Overlook. In addition, rubber-tracked snowcoaches may be operated from 
the park entrance at Gardiner, MT, to the parking lot of Upper Terrace 
Drive and in 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, resource protection, park operations, use patterns, 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.
    (iii) This paragraph (l)(8) also applies to non-administrative 
snowcoach use by affiliated persons.
    (9) Must I travel with a guide while snowmobiling in Yellowstone 
and what other guiding requirements apply? (i) All visitors operating 
snowmobiles in the park 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) Snowmobiles operated by non-commercial guides must be clearly 
marked so that park personnel can easily ascertain which snowmobiles in 
the park are part of a non-commercially guided group.
    (vi) Non-commercial guides must obtain a special use permit from 
the Non-commercially Guided Snowmobile Access Program prior to entering 
the park with a non-commercially guided group.
    (vii) 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 snowmobile operated by the guide) or 1 
snowcoach (unless enhanced emission standards allow for 2).

[[Page 63091]]

    (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 per 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, park operations, utilization rates, visitor 
experiences, or other factors, after providing public notice in 
accordance with one or more methods listed in 36 CFR 1.7.
    (v) Transportation events allocated to commercial tour operators 
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 winter 
season only, snowmobile transportation events conducted by a commercial 
tour operator that consist of any snowmobile that does not meet the air 
emission requirements in paragraph (l)(6)(i)(B) of this section or the 
sound emission requirements in paragraph (l)(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 commercial tour operator that is allocated a transportation 
event, but does not use it or exchange it can count that event as ``0'' 
against that commercial tour operator's daily and seasonal averages. A 
commercial tour operator 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:

                        Daily Transportation Event Entry Limits by Park Entrance/Location
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                   Snowcoach
                                                                                Snowcoach        transportation
                                         Commercially     Non-commercially    transportation     events if zero
                                            guided             guided        events if all 50     commercially
       Park entrance/location             snowmobile         snowmobile         snowmobile           guided
                                        transportation     transportation     transportation       snowmobile
                                            events             events        events are used     transportation
                                                                                                events are used*
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
West Entrance.......................                 23                  1                 26                 49
South Entrance......................                 17                  1                  8                 25
East Entrance.......................                  2                  1                  1                  3
North Entrance......................                  2                  1                 13                 15
Old Faithful........................                  2                  0                 12                 14
                                     ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total...........................                 46                  4                 60                106
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* The remaining 4 transportation events are reserved for non-commercially guided snowmobiles.

    (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, park 
operations, utilization rates, visitor experiences, or other factors. 
The Superintendent will provide public notice of changes by one or more 
of the methods listed in 36 CFR 1.7.
    (xiv) For the 2013-2014 winter season only, the number of 
snowmobiles and 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 snowmobiles operated by 
park visitors must be accompanied by a commercial guide. Snowmobile 
parties must travel in a group of no more than 11 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

[[Page 63092]]

 
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)(xiv) 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 transportation events 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 information below about snowmobile and 
snowcoach use. We may require the report to be submitted more 
frequently than monthly if it becomes necessary to more closely monitor 
activities to protect natural or cultural resources in the park.
    (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 destinations, 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 the start and end dates of the winter season, which 
will begin no earlier than December 15 and end no later than March 15 
each year. The Superintendent will consider appropriate factors when 
determining the length of the winter season, including adequate snow 
cover, the location of wintering wildlife, public safety, resource 
protection, park operations, and use patterns. Based upon these 
factors, the Superintendent may determine that there will be no winter 
season for oversnow vehicles or that certain areas of the park may be 
closed to public OSV use.
    (ii) Determine operating hours, dates, and use levels.
    (iii) Notify the public of the start and end dates of the winter 
season, operating hours, dates, use levels, and any applicable changes 
through one or more of the methods listed in Sec.  1.7 of this chapter.
    (iv) 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 three 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.
    (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.
    (I) Operating a snowcoach in excess of 25 mph, or operating a 
snowcoach 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 
vehicles 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 government-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 in the U.S. State or 
Canadian Province of principal use and must display a valid 
registration.
    (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

[[Page 63093]]

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 notify the public of any changes through one or 
more methods listed in Sec.  1.7 of this chapter.
    (iv) This paragraph (l)(13) also applies to non-administrative 
oversnow vehicle use by affiliated persons.
    (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 guide 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 affiliated persons.
    (15) Do other NPS regulations apply to the use of oversnow 
vehicles? (i) The use of oversnow vehicles in Yellowstone National Park 
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 affiliated persons.
    (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 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 prohibited on oversnow routes in 
Yellowstone National Park.
    (17) May I operate a snowplane in Yellowstone National Park? The 
operation of a snowplane in Yellowstone National Park 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. 1024-0266. We will use this information to monitor 
compliance with the required average and maximum size of transportation 
events. The obligation to respond is required in order to obtain or 
retain a benefit.
* * * * *

Rachel Jacobson,
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 2013-24238 Filed 10-22-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4312-EJ-P