[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 71 (Wednesday, April 13, 2016)]
[Page 21836]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-08420]

                                                Federal Register

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Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 71 / Wednesday, April 13, 2016 / 

[[Page 21836]]


Forest Service

Kootenai National Forest; Fortine Ranger District; Montana; Ten 
Lakes Travel Management Project

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement.


SUMMARY: This project includes specific changes to existing over-snow 
motorized and non-snow mechanized transport (including bicycles) on 
public access routes (roads and trails), areas, and prohibitions within 
the Ten Lakes Travel Management Project area.

DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received 
30 days from the date of publication of this notice in the Federal 
Register. The draft environmental impact statement is expected May of 
2016 and the final environmental impact statement is expected August of 

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Project Leader Amanda Villwock, 
Eureka Ranger Station, 949 US Hwy 93 N, Eureka, MT 59917. Comments may 
also be sent via email to [email protected] 
or via facsimile to 406-296-7188.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Amanda Villwock, Project Leader, at 
406-296-7145 or [email protected].
    Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) 
may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 
between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.


Purpose and Need for Action

    The purpose of this project is to develop a travel management plan 
(winter and summer) for the Ten Lakes Wilderness Study Area (WSA) to 
comply with the terms of the 2007 Settlement Agreement with the Montana 
Wilderness Association and to maintain wilderness character and the 
potential for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation system 
that existed in 1977. The project boundary contains the WSA and 
adjacent areas that are common entrance points to the WSA.

Proposed Action

    Alternative 2, the Proposed Action, includes summer and winter 
travel management. This includes over-snow vehicle travel and non-snow 
trail management (mechanized and non-mechanized).
    Over-snow vehicle travel contains two distinct seasons. Season 1 
(December 1-March 31) proposes to allow over-snow vehicle travel on 
36,700 acres and 51.6 miles of designated over-snow motorized routes. 
Approximately 15,840 of those acres are within the WSA, or 46 percent 
of the WSA. Season 2 (April 1-May 31) proposes to allow over-snow 
vehicles on 43.2 miles of designated motorized over-snow vehicle 
routes, with no travel off designated routes. No travel would occur 
within the WSA.
    Northern Region Forest Service Manual Supplement No. 2300-2008-1, 
section 2329 (Management of Wilderness Study Areas) states that 
mountain bikes may be allowed on trails that had established motor bike 
use in 1977, or on other non-motorized trails as long as the aggregate 
amount of mountain bike use maintains the wilderness character of the 
WSA as it existed in 1977 and maintains potential for inclusion in the 
National Wilderness Preservation System. In 1977, 15.9 miles of trail 
in the area that would become the WSA were open to motorized vehicles 
yearlong. Thus, manual direction could allow for some mechanized use in 
the WSA.
    Non-snow trail management proposes 20.3 miles of trail available 
for mechanized use, or 24% of the project area, with 8.7 miles of trail 
within the WSA. All trails will allow non-motorized and non-mechanized 
uses like hiking and horses. No non-snow motorized use is proposed.

Responsible Official

    The Responsible Official is the Fortine District Ranger.

Nature of Decision To Be Made

    The framework for the Decision includes determining the appropriate 
routes and areas of over-snow motorized and non-snow mechanized use in 
the Ten Lakes WSA, that will maintain its wilderness character and the 
potential for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation system 
as they existed in 1977. Decisions made outside of the WSA are relative 
to common access points to the WSA and how they effect levels of use 
and enforcement in the WSA.

Preliminary Issues

    Issues identified by the interdisciplinary team and scoping 
comments include effects to wilderness character as it existed in 1977, 
effects to the local economy, effects to the human environment, and 
effects to wildlife from motorized use.

Scoping Process

    This notice of intent initiates a second scoping process, which 
guides the development of the environmental impact statement. Scoping 
occurred in April of 2015, with a letter and information about the 
Proposed Action sent to interested parties. Comments received led to 
the development of the Alternatives and the decision to analyze the 
project in an environmental impact statement.
    It is important that reviewers provide their comments at such times 
and in such manner that they are useful to the agency's preparation of 
the environmental impact statement. Therefore, comments should be 
provided prior to the close of the comment period and should clearly 
articulate the reviewer's concerns and contentions.
    Comments received in response to this solicitation, including names 
and addresses of those who comment, will be part of the public record 
for this proposed action. Comments submitted anonymously will be 
accepted and considered, however.

    Dated: April 1, 2016.
Bryan L. Donner,
District Ranger.
[FR Doc. 2016-08420 Filed 4-12-16; 8:45 am]