[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 35 (Thursday, February 21, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 11981-11984]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-04047]



National Park Service

36 CFR Part 7

RIN 1024-AE11

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

AGENCY: National Park Service, Interior.

ACTION: Final rule.


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

DATES: The rule is effective March 25, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tom Ulrich, Deputy Superintendent, 
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Telephone: 231-326-5135.


[[Page 11982]]


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

History of Bicycle Use

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

The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail

    The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail (SBHT) will be a hard-surfaced, 
approximately 27-mile-long trail from the southern Leelanau County line 
at Manning Road to County Road 651 at Good Harbor Beach. The trail will 
be separated from the roadway wherever possible, providing a safe, non-
motorized route connecting the Lakeshore's main visitor destinations 
with neighboring communities in Glen Arbor and Empire. Construction of 
the first segment of the trail was completed in June 2012, with the 
remainder to be constructed over a period of approximately 10 years. 
The route will generally parallel state highways M-22 and M-109, but 
will occasionally depart from these rights-of-way to take advantage of 
other existing corridors, such as old logging trails and a narrow gauge 
railbed. By using these and other disturbed areas whenever feasible, 
the location of the SBHT will minimize disturbance to and protect 
Lakeshore resources. The SBHT will be located entirely on public lands 
within the Lakeshore.
    Moving bicycle traffic off roads used by motor vehicles will reduce 
safety hazards and enhance opportunities for non-motorized enjoyment of 
the Lakeshore. It will also encourage the use of alternate means of 
transportation by park employees and park visitors to access these 
extremely popular areas. The SBHT will give bicyclists, walkers, 
runners, wheelchair users, rollerbladers, and cross-country skiers a 
safe, enjoyable, and healthy way to access and explore the Lakeshore.
    Maps depicting the planned trail route including the completed 
first segment are available for review in the office of the 
Superintendent and on the Lakeshore's Web site at http://www.nps.gov/slbe/parkmgmt/planning.htm.

Trail Planning and Environmental Analyses

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

[[Page 11983]]


Final Rule

    The SBHT will generally be constructed in M-22/M-109 and county 
road rights-of-way, and primarily within developed area zones as 
described in the Lakeshore's GMP. However, the trail route will 
occasionally deviate from the highway corridor and outside of developed 
areas to provide access to natural, cultural, and recreation resources, 
and to promote a broader variety of experiences for the trailway user. 
Therefore, a special regulation is required by the NPS general 
regulation pertaining to bicycles found at 36 CFR 4.30.
    Accordingly, this final rule adds a new paragraph to 36 CFR 7.80, 
designating the 27-mile-long SBHT as a route for bicycle use. The rule 
also grants the Superintendent the authority to impose closures or 
restrictions upon bicycle use on designated trails after taking into 
consideration public health and safety, resource protection, and other 
management activities and objectives, provided public notice is given 
under 36 CFR 1.7.

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

    On October 15, 2012, the NPS published a Notice of Proposed 
Rulemaking for the designation of the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail as a 
route for bicycle use (77 FR 62476). The proposed rule was available 
for a 60-day public comment period, from October 15, 2012 through 
December 14, 2012.

Summary of and Responses to Public Comment

    Comments were accepted by email and through the Federal eRulemaking 
Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. The NPS received four public 
comments during the comment period. All of the comments were from 
individuals and expressed clear support for the proposed rule and 
specific goals for the bicycle trail as detailed in the public planning 
documents that led to its construction (GMP/EIS and EA). Commenters 
also cited support for the manner in which the bicycle trail and the 
associated rule will provide for safe enjoyment of the Lakeshore; safe 
travel routes to nearby communities; a new, healthful, recreational 
opportunity in the Lakeshore; and finally, the anticipated reduction in 
vehicle traffic, congestion, and emissions.
    One commenter suggested adding lane designations to the trail to 
separate bicycle and pedestrian traffic.
    NPS Response: The trail has been designed to allow for flexibility 
in management, including the addition of lane delineation in the 
future, if trail use warrants such an action.

Changes From the Proposed Rule

    After consideration of the public comments, the park has decided 
that no changes are necessary in the final rule.

Compliance With Other Laws and Executive Orders

Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Orders 12866 and 13563)

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

Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA)

    This rule will not have a significant economic effect on a 
substantial number of small entities under the RFA (5 U.S.C. 601 et 
seq.). This certification is based on information contained in the 
report entitled ``Cost-Benefit and Regulatory Flexibility Analyses 
Leelanau Scenic Heritage Route Trailway, Sleeping Bear Dunes National 
Lakeshore'' (NPS Environmental Quality Division--May 2012), available 
for review at http://www.nps.gov/slbe/parkmgmt/planning.htm.

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 
    b. Will not cause a major increase in costs or prices for 
consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, or local government 
agencies, or geographic regions.
    c. Does not have significant adverse effects on competition, 
employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of 
U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises. The 
rule would not require fees, or involve other measures that would 
increase costs to visitors or, businesses. Rather, this rule would 
reasonably increase Lakeshore visitation and thereby generate benefits 
for businesses through increased visitor spending.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA)

    This rule does not impose an unfunded mandate on State, local, or 
tribal governments or the private sector of more than $100 million per 
year. The rule does not have a significant or unique effect on State, 
local or tribal governments or the private sector. It addresses public 
use of national park lands, and imposes no requirements on other 
agencies or governments. A statement containing the information 
required by the UMRA (2 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) is not required.

Takings (Executive Order 12630)

    Under the criteria in section 2 of Executive Order 12630, this rule 
does not have significant takings implications. The rule will not deny 
any property owner beneficial uses, or reduce the value, of their land. 
No taking of property will occur as a result of this rule. A takings 
implication assessment is not required.

Federalism (Executive Order 13132)

    Under the criteria in section 1 of Executive Order 13132, the rule 
does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the 
preparation of a Federalism summary impact statement. This rule only 
affects use of NPS administered lands and waters. It has no outside 
effects on other areas. A Federalism summary impact statement is not 

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 

[[Page 11984]]

Consultation With Indian Tribes (Executive Order 13175 and Department 

    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 
    Representatives of the five Indian tribes affiliated with SLBE were 
consulted during the evaluation of the trail concept and route in the 
preparation of the GMP/EIS. Representatives of the nearest affiliated 
tribe, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, are 
members of the LSHR that proposed the trail and helped to prepare the 

Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)

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

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

    This rule does not constitute a major Federal action significantly 
affecting the quality of the human environment. A detailed statement 
under the NEPA is not required because we reached a FONSI. The GMP/EIS, 
EA, FONSI, and related documents may be viewed on the Lakeshore's 
planning Web site http://www.nps.gov/slbe/parkmgmt/planning.htm.

Effects on the Energy Supply (Executive Order 13211)

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

Drafting Information

    The primary authors of this regulation were Tom Ulrich, Deputy 
Superintendent, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michael 
Tiernan, Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of the Interior, 
Washington, DC, A.J. North, Jay P. Calhoun, and Rose Wilkinson, NPS 
Regulations and Special Park Uses, Washington, DC.

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 set forth below:


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

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1, 3, 9a, 462(k); Sec. 7.96 also issued 
under 36 U.S.C. 501-511, D.C. Code 10-137 (2001) and D.C. Code 50-
2201 (2001).

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

Sec.  7.80  Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

* * * * *
    (c) Bicycling. (1) The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, approximately 
27 miles in length from the southern Leelanau County line at Manning 
Road to County Road 651 at Good Harbor Beach, is designated as a route 
for bicycle use.
    (2) The Superintendent may open or close designated routes, or 
portions thereof, or impose conditions or restrictions for bicycle use 
after taking into consideration public health and safety, natural and 
cultural resource protection, and other management activities and 
objectives. (i) The Superintendent will provide public notice of all 
such actions through one or more of the methods listed in Sec.  1.7 of 
this chapter.
    (ii) Violating a closure, condition, or restriction is prohibited.

    Dated: February 11, 2013.
Rachel Jacobson,
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 2013-04047 Filed 2-20-13; 8:45 am]