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Re: FOREST SERVICE RELEASES DRAFT POLICY ON OFF-HIGHWAY VEHICLE USE

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July 24, 2004 02:54PM
[Federal Register: July 15, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 135)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Page 42381-42395]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr15jy04-20]

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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service

36 CFR Parts 212, 251, 261, and 295

RIN 0596-AC11


Travel Management; Designated Routes and Areas for Motor Vehicle
Use

AGENCY: USDA, Forest Service.

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comment.

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SUMMARY: The Forest Service proposes to amend regulations regarding
travel management on National Forest System lands to clarify policy
related to motor vehicle use, including the use of off-highway
vehicles. The proposed rule would require the establishment of a system
of roads, trails, and areas designated for motor vehicle use. The
proposed rule also would prohibit the use of motor vehicles off the
designated system, as well as motor vehicle use on the system that is
not consistent with the classes of motor vehicles and, if applicable,
the time of year, designated for use. The establishment and clear
identification of a transportation and use system for motor vehicles on
each National Forest would enhance management of National Forest System
lands; sustain natural resource values through more effective
management of motor vehicle use; enhance opportunities for motorized
recreation experiences on National Forest System lands; address needs
for access to National Forest System lands; and preserve areas of
opportunity on each National Forest for nonmotorized travel and
experiences. The proposed rule also would conform agency rules to the
provisions of Executive orders 11644 and 11989 regarding off-road use
of motor vehicles on Federal lands.

DATES: Comments must be received in writing by September 13, 2004.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Proposed Rule for Designated Routes
and Areas for Motor Vehicle Use, c/o Content Analysis Team, P.O. Box
221150, Salt Lake City, UT 84122-1150; by e-mail to trvman@fs.fed.us;
or by facsimile to (801) 517-1014. Comments also may be submitted by
following the instructions at the Federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov
.

All comments, including names and addresses when provided, will be
placed in the rulemaking record and will be available for public
inspection and copying. The public may inspect comments received on
this proposed rule in the office of the Content Analysis Team, 550 West
Amelia Earhart Drive, Building 1, Suite 100, Salt Lake City, UT 84116,
on business days between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Those
wishing to inspect comments are encouraged to call ahead at (801) 517-
1020 to facilitate entry into the building.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sharon Metzler, Recreation and
Heritage Staff, (202) 205-0931, or Glenn Casamassa, Legislative Affairs
Staff, (202) 205-1216.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background and Need for the Rule

Providing for the long-term sustainable use of National Forest
System lands and resources is essential to maintaining the quality of
the recreation experience in the National Forests. Motor vehicle use is
an appropriate way to recreate in the National Forests, access hunting
and fishing opportunities, sightsee, and otherwise enjoy recreational
experiences on National Forest System lands. The growing use of motor
vehicles, however, is prompting the Forest Service to revise its
management of this use so that the agency can continue to provide
opportunities desired by the public, while sustaining National Forest
System lands and resources.
Off-road motor vehicle use for public enjoyment of the National
Forest System has increased in recent years. Motor vehicle use off
roads in the National Forest System may involve any motor vehicle that
can travel off road, such as a sport utility vehicle and an off-highway
vehicle (OHV). An OHV is a motor vehicle that is designed or
retrofitted primarily for recreational use off road, including
minibikes, amphibious vehicles, snowmobiles, off-highway motorcycles,
go-carts, motorized trail bikes, and dune buggies. In the 1960s and
1970s, the opportunities that people enjoyed to hike, camp, and
sightsee on the National Forests expanded to include the opportunities
to operate motor vehicles across National Forest System lands, which
provided access to areas previously accessible only on foot or by
horse. As off-road motor vehicle use increased, questions arose about
the current and potential impacts arising

[[Page 42382]]

from operation of motor vehicles on soil, water, vegetation, fish and
wildlife, National Forest visitors, and cultural and historic
resources.
Executive Order (E.O.) 11644 (February 8, 1972), ``Use of Off-Road
Vehicles on the Public Lands,'' as amended by E.O. 11989 (May 24,
1977), addresses these concerns. Section 3(a) of E.O. 11644 directs the
Forest Service to promulgate regulations that provide for designation
of trails and areas for off-road motor vehicle use. Pursuant to section
3(a) of E.O. 11644, the regulations must require that designation of
these trails and areas be based upon protection of National Forest
System resources, promotion of public safety, and minimization of
conflicts among uses of National Forest System lands. Specifically,
section 3(a) of E.O. 11644 directs the agency to develop and issue
regulations ``to provide for administrative designation of the specific
areas and trails on public lands on which the use of off-road vehicles
may be permitted, and areas in which the use of off-road vehicles may
not be permitted. * * *'' Section 9(b) was added to E.O. 11644 when it
was amended by E.O. 11989. Section 9(b) specifically authorizes the
Forest Service to adopt the policy to designate those areas or trails
that are suitable for motor vehicle use and to close all other areas
and trails to that use.
Forest Service rules at Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations, part
295 (36 CFR part 295) codify the requirements in E.O. 11644 and E.O.
11989 by providing for administrative designation of areas and trails
on National Forest System lands where motor vehicle use is allowed,
restricted, or prohibited. National Forest managers develop travel
plans that are consistent with the regulations and the intent of E.O.
11644 and E.O. 11989, while meeting public demand for recreation and
resource protection needs. In crafting their travel plans, many
National Forest managers keep the Forests open to motor vehicle use
unless there is a pressing reason to close them. These managers attempt
to maximize the opportunities for recreational choice, while minimizing
resource damage in the most sensitive areas of National Forest System
lands. National Forests where this approach has been adopted are
referred to as ``open unless posted closed.'' This approach has worked
when the amount of off-road motor vehicle use is minimal and occasional
cross-country vehicle tracks are of less concern than other impacts to
National Forest System lands and resources.
However, between 1982 and 2000, the number of people who drive
motor vehicles off road increased over 109 percent in the United States
(``Outdoor Recreation for 21st Century America: A Report to the Nation,
The National Survey on Recreation and the Environment,'' p. 37 (H.
Cordell, 2004)). In many National Forests, the magnitude and intensity
of motor vehicle capability and use increased to the point where the
intent of E.O. 11644 and E.O. 11989 could not be met while still
allowing the full array of opportunities for motor vehicle use. In
these National Forests, the scenario of an occasional cross-country
vehicle track has evolved into situations where areas rutted by motor
vehicle use have become more common. Soil depth, water quality, and
wildlife habitat are being impacted, and motor vehicle use is beginning
to affect the condition of these National Forests.
Studies conducted by the Forest Service have raised these same
issues. For example, the ``Draft Environmental Impact Statement for
Cross-Country Travel for OHVs, Kaibab, Coconino, Prescott, Tonto, and
Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests'' (66 FR 17136, March 29, 2001)
identified environmental impacts associated with cross-country wheeled
motor vehicle use, including the spread of noxious weeds along roads
and trails; erosion at rates that permanently affect the productivity
of National Forest System lands; damage to cultural or historical
sites; conflicts among uses of National Forest System lands; and
disturbance of wildlife and wildlife habitat.
In addition, the Forest Service and the Grand Canyon Trust each
inventoried roads and trails in one area of the Coconino National
Forest. The inventories revealed that National Forest users had created
a large number of roads and trails over a 10-year period. The two
inventories also showed a significant population of noxious weeds
associated with all roads.
Members of the public, the Arizona Game and Fish Department, and
the Arizona Parks and Recreation Department have also shared their
concerns with managers from these five National Forests about sound and
site degradation associated with certain OHV use on National Forest
System lands. Public surveys of Arizona residents conducted by Arizona
State Parks for the preparation of long-range comprehensive plans for
the Arizona State Trails Program and the Arizona State Off-Highway
Vehicle Recreation Program showed that 82 percent of motorized trail
users and 81 percent of non-motorized trail users in Arizona expressed
concerns about conflicts with other uses (``The Arizona Trails 2000:
State Motorized and Nonmotorized Trails Plan,'' Nov. 1999).
In January 2001, the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land
Management completed an environmental impact statement regarding motor
vehicle use on Federal lands the agencies administer in Montana, North
Dakota, and portions of South Dakota. The Forest Service selected
alternative five in this environmental impact statement, which
prohibits cross-country wheeled motor vehicle use throughout the
analysis area. In a summary of the environmental effects of the
selected alternative from the Forest Service's record of decision, the
agency identified benefits associated with restricting cross-country
wheeled motor vehicle use. These benefits included substantial
reduction of use conflicts associated with cross-country travel;
improvement of motorized and non-motorized recreation experiences;
substantial reduction in impairment of visual aesthetics; and enhanced
protection of habitat and aquatic, soil, and air resources in the
analysis area (``Off-Highway Vehicle Environmental Impact Statement and
Proposed Plan Amendment for Montana, North Dakota and Portions of South
Dakota''; the notice of the draft environmental impact statement was
published in 64 FR 57120, October 22, 1999, and the final environmental
impact statement was issued January 4, 2001).
Cross-country wheeled motor vehicle use was also reviewed in an
environmental analysis conducted by the National Forests in Florida on
the Osceola National Forest in 2004 to identify which roads and trails
would be designated for use by motor vehicles and bicycles in certain
restricted areas. Benefits of designated roads and trails included less
interruption of natural processes, such as fire; improvement of the
ecological and hydrological functions in and around riparian areas,
wetlands, and streams; and increased public safety (``Environmental
Assessment for Access Designation in Restricted Areas, Osceola National
Forest, Baker and Columbia Counties, Florida,'' 2004).
Some travel plans, such as the travel plans for the Hoosier, White
Mountain, and Monongahela National Forests, were changed to enhance
management of motor vehicle use within the boundaries of these National
Forests. Some National Forests have a system of motor vehicle use on
established or designated routes and areas, while others do not. As a
result, the Forest Service does not have a clear, consistent, internal
policy regarding

[[Page 42383]]

motor vehicle use on National Forest System lands.
Since E.O. 11644 and E.O. 11989 were issued, impressive advances in
motor vehicle technology have been made. The capability of motor
vehicles to travel off flat, firm roads has significantly increased.
Whole new classes of vehicles that can travel off road, such as all-
terrain vehicles (ATVs) and sport utility vehicles (SUVs), are widely
used and growing in popularity. For example, from 1997 to 2001, the
number of ATVs in use increased by almost 40 percent, the number of ATV
drivers grew by almost 36 percent, and the number of ATV driving hours
increased by 50 percent (statement made by Dr. Edward J. Heiden of
Heiden Associates, at a Consumer Product Safety Commission Public Field
Hearing, June 5, 2003).
The line between street vehicle and OHV has blurred. Vehicles
created for specialized uses off road, such as military vehicles, are
now marketed and purchased as family cars. An increasing number of
States have statutes governing OHV use, including vehicle registration
requirements, limits on operator age, training and licensing
requirements, equipment requirements, sound restrictions, and safety
requirements.
While motor vehicle recreation is increasing on National Forests,
so are many other recreational activities. From 1982 to 2000, the
number of people in the United States participating in fishing
increased 24 percent, and the number of people participating in hunting
increased 21 percent (``Outdoor Recreation for 21st Century America: A
Report to the Nation, The National Survey on Recreation and the
Environment,'' p. 41 (H. Cordell, 2004)). Many recreationists have
found that motor vehicle use enhances their enjoyment of these other
activities. For example, motor vehicles help hunters and anglers access
remote areas and lakes in National Forests, and enable the public after
a short ride to enjoy rare vistas that formerly could be reached only
after a long hike or horseback ride. In many National Forests, most
off-road motor vehicle use is conducted in support of other
recreational activities, rather than as the central part of a
recreational experience. A recent survey conducted in Idaho showed that
more than half (53.1 percent) of resident hunters surveyed owned an ATV
or off-highway motorcycle (OHM), and that 47.5 percent of hunters
surveyed used an ATV or OHM for hunting; the percentage of hunters
never using an ATV decreased from 83 percent in 1988 to 35 percent in
2000 (``Understanding ATV/OHM and Hunting Interactions in Idaho: A
Survey of ATV/OHM Registrants and Licensed Hunters'' (2002), as
discussed in ``Idaho 2003-2007 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor
Recreation and Tourism Plan, Idaho Department of Recreation,'' p. 156
(2003)). OHV use is a growing and important recreational activity on
National Forest System lands.
Recreational use not associated with motor vehicle travel has
increased as well in the United States. The number of people viewing or
photographing birds has increased over 231 percent, the number of
people day hiking has increased 193 percent, and the number of people
backpacking has increased 182 percent since the early 1980s (``Outdoor
Recreation for 21st Century America: A Report to the Nation, The
National Survey on Recreation and the Environment,'' p. 37 (H. Cordell,
2004)). The challenge for recreation management is to address the needs
and conflicting expectations of millions of people who use and enjoy
the National Forests, while providing for the long-term sustainability
of National Forest System lands. Increased pressure from growing
numbers of people, coupled with advances in recreation technology, will
continue to challenge Federal land management agencies, State and local
governments, and private landowners. As demand for a greater variety of
recreation uses increases, managing an appropriate balance between
motor vehicle use and nonmotorized recreational activities has become
an important priority.
Americans cherish the National Forests and National Grasslands for
the values they provide: opportunities for healthy recreation and
exercise, natural scenic beauty, important natural resources,
protection of rare species, wilderness, a connection with their
history, and opportunities for unparalleled outdoor adventure.
Recreation visitors have high expectations for National Forest System
lands in terms of access, settings, experiences, facilities, and
services, and they are likely to expect even more in the future.
Recreation is one of the fastest growing uses on the National Forests
and National Grasslands. Accordingly, the agency needs to strike an
appropriate balance in managing all types of recreational activities.
As part of this effort, the Forest Service is proposing revisions to 36
CFR parts 212, 251, 261, and 295 to provide for a system of National
Forest System roads, National Forest System trails, and areas on
National Forest System lands designated for motor vehicle use. A
designated system established with public involvement would enhance
public enjoyment of the National Forests, while maintaining other
important values and uses on National Forest System lands.
The designated system would be broader in scope than E.O. 11644 and
E.O. 11989 and 36 CFR part 295 because the system would apply to motor
vehicle use on National Forest System roads, as well as off National
Forest System roads. The designated system also would apply to all
classes of motor vehicles, including OHVs, unless exempted. This
approach would allow the agency to address different types of uses on
National Forest System roads. In addition, this approach would allow
the agency to include in the designations for National Forest System
trails and areas on National Forest System lands any classes of motor
vehicles that can travel off road.

Section-by-Section Analysis of Proposed Rule Changes

Revisions to Part 212--Travel Management

The provisions governing designation of roads, trails, and areas
would be included in part 212 as a component of travel management. The
current heading of part 212, ``Administration of the Forest
Transportation System,'' would be changed to ``Travel Management.''
Part 212 would be divided: subpart A would contain the provisions
currently in part 212 governing administration of the forest
transportation system; subpart B would contain new provisions governing
designation of National Forest System roads, National Forest System
trails, and areas on National Forest System lands for motor vehicle use
and also incorporating provisions previously found at part 295; and
subpart C would contain the provisions governing snowmobile use on
National Forest System roads and National Forest System trails and in
areas on National Forest System lands. The proposed rule would remove
the current part 295, as its provisions, with the exception of Sec.
295.6, requiring annual review of motor vehicle management plans and
temporary designations, would be integrated into part 212, subpart B,
of the proposed rule.
This approach would allow the agency to create a more comprehensive
system of travel management without compromising the provisions of the
regulations governing the forest transportation system, which address
facilities, but not areas, and which are more concerned with
construction, maintenance, and management of the forest transportation
system than management of uses on National Forest

[[Page 42384]]

System roads, National Forest System trails, and areas on National
Forest System lands. The agency is also proposing minor, nonsubstantive
revisions to part 212.
Part 212, New Subpart A--Administration of the Forest Transportation
System
Table of contents for part 212. The table of contents for part 212
would be revised to set out the sections in the new subparts A, B, and
C. A technical revision also would be made to change the heading of
Sec. 212.2 from ``Forest development transportation program'' to
``Forest transportation program.''
Section 212.1 Definitions. This section contains definitions
applicable to subparts A, B, and C. Some of the provisions from Sec.
212.2(a) would be incorporated into a new definition for forest
transportation atlas. ``Forest transportation atlas'' would be defined
as a display of the system of roads, trails, and airfields of an
administrative unit of the National Forest System that consists of the
geospatial, tabular, and other data that support resource management
activities and analysis associated with resource management goals in
the applicable land management plan.
To accommodate the new system of designated routes and areas, the
proposed rule would add definitions for the following terms:
administrative unit; area; designated road, trail, or area; forest road
or trail; forest transportation system; motor vehicle; National Forest
System road; National Forest System trail; road or trail under Forest
Service jurisdiction, snowmobile; temporary road or trail; trail;
travel management atlas; unauthorized or unclassified road or trail;
and use map.
Definitions for trail and categories of trails are needed to
integrate designation of roads, trails, and areas for motor vehicle use
into travel management in part 212. The definition for a trail in the
proposed rule would complement the definition for a road in the current
part 212. Since a road is defined as a motor vehicle route over 50
inches wide, unless identified and managed as a trail, a trail would be
defined as a route 50 inches or less in width, or a route over 50
inches wide that is identified and managed as a trail.
The same categories of roads are also used for trails, and they are
combined in the same definition, i.e., forest road or trail, temporary
road or trail, and unauthorized or unclassified road or trail. A forest
road or trail would be defined as a road or trail that is wholly or
partly within or adjacent to and serving the National Forest System
that the Forest Service determines is necessary for the protection,
administration, and utilization of the National Forest System and the
use and development of its resources, and that is reflected in a forest
transportation atlas. A temporary road or trail would be defined as a
road or trail necessary for emergency operations or authorized by
contract, permit, lease, or other written authorization that is not a
forest road or trail and that is not included in a forest
transportation atlas. An unauthorized or unclassified road or trail
would be defined as a road or trail that is not a forest road or trail
or a temporary road or trail and that is not included in a forest
transportation atlas.
The definitions for classified road, temporary road, and
unclassified road in the current part 212 would be replaced with
definitions for forest road, temporary road, and unauthorized or
unclassified road in the proposed rule. The definition for forest road
in the proposed rule parallels the definition for classified road in
the current rule and comes from 23 U.S.C. 101. The definition for
temporary road in the proposed rule parallels the definition for
temporary road in the current rule. The term ``unauthorized or
unclassified road'' more clearly captures the relationship among the
three categories of roads than the term ``unclassified road.''
Likewise, the definition for unauthorized or unclassified road (any
road other than a forest road or a temporary road) more clearly shows
how the three categories of roads relate to each other than the
definition for unclassified road.
Designated roads and trails are National Forest System roads and
trails. National Forest System roads and trails that are not designated
for motor vehicle use under this proposed rule could still be
designated for other purposes, such as hiking, mountain biking, or
equestrian use. Designated uses would be reflected on a use map.
Unplanned or user-created roads and trails on National Forest
System lands that have resulted from cross-country motor vehicle use
would be identified through public involvement and would be considered
in the designation process under the proposed rule. These routes would
not necessarily be inventoried and included in a forest transportation
atlas. If unplanned or user-created routes are not inventoried and
included in a forest transportation atlas, they would meet the
definition for unauthorized or unclassified road or trail (a road or
trail other than a forest road or trail or a temporary road or trail)
under the proposed rule. Alternatively, these routes could be
designated for motor vehicle use pursuant to Sec. 212.51 of the
proposed rule or for other purposes. If so, these routes would become
National Forest System roads or National Forest System trails and would
be included in a forest transportation atlas and reflected on a use
map.
``Administrative unit'' would be defined as a National Forest, a
National Grassland, Land Between the Lakes, Lake Tahoe Basin Management
Unit, or Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie.
``Area'' would be defined as a discrete, specifically delineated
space that is smaller than a ranger district. All references to area in
the proposed regulations would be modified by adding ``on National
Forest System lands.'' Thus, only areas on National Forest System lands
would be designated under the proposed rule.
Areas designated for motor vehicle use are not intended to be large
or numerous. The characteristics of an area, such as its size and
topography, are not enumerated in the definition in the proposed rule
to give the agency the flexibility to designate areas for motor vehicle
use as appropriate, given the variety of natural features, resources,
and uses on National Forest System lands. Generally, an area designated
for motor vehicle use would have natural resource characteristics (like
sand dunes) that are suitable for motor vehicle use, or would be so
significantly altered by past actions (like old quarry sites) that
motor vehicle use might be appropriate. Once an area is designated, it
would be specifically delineated on a use map. In addition, the
characteristics of an area are not specified in the definition to give
the agency flexibility with respect to allowing, restricting, or
prohibiting snowmobile use.
``Designated road, trail, or area'' would be defined as a National
Forest System road, National Forest System trail, or an area on
National Forest System lands that is designated for motor vehicle use
pursuant to Sec. 212.51 in a use map contained in a travel management
atlas. Only National Forest System roads, National Forest System
trails, and areas on National Forest System lands would be designated
for motor vehicle use under the proposed rule.
``Forest transportation system'' would be defined as the system of
National Forest System roads, National Forest System trails, and
airfields on National Forest System lands that are included in a forest
transportation atlas.
``National Forest System road,'' ``National Forest System trail,''
and ``Area'' are defined in the proposed rule. Pursuant to 23 U.S.C.
101, National Forest System road and National Forest

[[Page 42385]]

System trail would be defined as a forest road or trail under the
jurisdiction of the Forest Service. Thus, any road or trail that is not
a forest road or trail under the jurisdiction of the Forest Service
would not be designated for motor vehicle use under the proposed rule.
``Road or trail under Forest Service jurisdiction'' is defined in
the proposed rule. The definition for road or trail under Forest
Service jurisdiction is consistent with the terminology in 23 U.S.C.
101. For purposes only of the definition of National Forest System road
and National Forest System trail, a road or trail under the
jurisdiction of the Forest Service would be defined in terms of control
over the road or trail. Thus, a road or trail that is authorized by a
legally documented right-of-way held by a State, County, or local
public road authority would not be designated for motor vehicle use
under the proposed rule because that road or trail is not under the
jurisdiction of the Forest Service. State law would govern motor
vehicle use on that type of right-of-way. Likewise, a road or trail
which an authorized officer has ascertained, for administrative
purposes and based on available evidence, is within a public right-of-
way for a highway, such as a right-of-way for a highway pursuant to
R.S. 2477, would not be designated for motor vehicle use under the
proposed rule.
The definition for motor vehicle in the proposed rule builds on the
definition for that term currently in 36 CFR 261.2 by excluding any
wheelchair or mobility device, including one that is battery-powered,
that is designed solely for use by a mobility-impaired person for
locomotion, and that is suitable for use in an indoor pedestrian area.
This exclusion of any wheelchair or mobility device would prevent
violations of civil rights laws that could occur if restrictions on
motor vehicle use were to be applied to motorized wheelchairs or other
mobility devices. The definition for wheelchair or mobility device
comes from Title V, section 507c, of the Americans With Disabilities
Act (42 U.S.C. 12207(c)(2)).
The proposed rule would add a definition for snowmobile because, as
explained in the description of proposed Sec. 212.51 and 212.81,
snowmobiles would be exempted from the mandatory designations in 36 CFR
212.51 and would be addressed separately in 36 CFR 212.81. The proposed
rule defines a snowmobile as a motor vehicle that is designed
exclusively for use over snow and that runs on a track or tracks and/or
a ski or skis. This definition would not include motor vehicles such as
SUVs, ATVs, or other wheeled vehicles that can be outfitted with tracks
that turn them into vehicles that can travel over snow because these
vehicles are not designed exclusively for use over snow.
The proposed rule would add a definition for a use map. A use map
would reflect designated roads, trails, and areas on an administrative
unit or a ranger district of the National Forest System and would be
part of a travel management atlas. A travel management atlas would be
defined as an atlas that includes a forest transportation atlas and a
use map.
Section 212.2 Forest transportation program. The proposed rule
would revise Sec. 212.2 by reorganizing the current paragraph (a) into
two paragraphs: (a) setting requirements regarding the travel
management atlas, which would be developed and maintained for each
administrative unit of the National Forest System and made available to
the public at the headquarters of that administrative unit; and (b)
describing a forest transportation atlas. The current paragraph (b)
setting out requirements for the program of work for the forest
transportation system would be redesignated as paragraph (c).
Section 212.5 Road system management. The proposed rule would
revise Sec. 212.5(a)(1) concerning the applicability of State traffic
laws to traffic on roads by adding ``designations established under
subpart B of this part or'' before ``the rules at 36 CFR part 261'' to
make clear that designations of roads for motor vehicle use established
under State law would not be incorporated pursuant to Sec. 212.5(a)(1)
to the extent they conflict with designations established under Sec.
212.51. These revisions would prevent incorporation of State laws that
designate roads, trails, or areas for motor vehicle use that conflict
with designations established under Sec. 212.51 of the proposed rule.
The proposed rule also would make technical changes to Sec. 212.5.
In the second sentence of Sec. 212.5(a)(2)(ii), ``tailers'' would be
changed to ``trailers.'' The heading for Sec. 212.5(c) would be
changed from ``Cost recovery on forest service roads'' to ``Cost
recovery on National Forest System roads.'' The heading for Sec.
212.5(d) would be changed from ``Maintenance and reconstruction of
forest service roads by users'' to ``Maintenance and reconstruction of
National Forest System roads by users.''
Section 212.7 Access procurement by the United States. The proposed
rule would make a technical change to Sec. 212.7(a) by changing the
heading for that provision from ``Existing or proposed forest
development roads which are or will be part of a system of a State,
county, or other local subdivision'' to ``Existing or proposed National
Forest System roads which are or will be part of a system of a State,
county, or other local subdivision.''
Section 212.10 Maximum economy National Forest System roads. The
proposed rule would make a technical change to paragraph (d) of Sec.
212.10. The proposed rule would add the phrase, ``consistent with
applicable environmental laws and regulations,'' to refer to the
standard for a road that is sufficient for harvesting and removal of
National Forest timber and other products, in order to make Sec.
212.10(d) consistent with its authorizing statute, 16 U.S.C. 535a(e).
Section 212.20 National Forest trail system operation. The proposed
rule would remove and reserve the current Sec. 212.20 concerning the
National Forest trail system. Management of National Forest System
trails would be addressed in the new subpart B of part 212.
Part 212, New Subpart B--Designation of Roads, Trails, and Areas for
Motor Vehicle Use
Section 212.50 Purpose and scope. The new subpart B of part 212
would provide for a system of National Forest System roads, National
Forest System trails, and areas on National Forest System lands that
are designated for motor vehicle use. Once these roads, trails, and
areas are designated, motor vehicle use, including the class of vehicle
and time of year, that is not in accordance with these designations
would be prohibited pursuant to 36 CFR 261.13 of the proposed rule.
Thus, motor vehicle use off designated roads and trails and outside of
designated areas, or cross-country travel, would be prohibited pursuant
to 36 CFR 261.13 of the proposed rule.
Section 212.51 Designation of roads, trails, and areas. To address
the problems associated with motor vehicle use on routes and off routes
in a more comprehensive, systemic manner, this provision would require
that motor vehicle use on National Forest System roads, National Forest
System trails, and areas on National Forest System lands be designated
by vehicle class and, if appropriate, by time of year by the
responsible official on administrative units or ranger districts of the
National Forest System, provided that the following vehicles and uses
would be exempted from these designations:
(a) Aircraft;
(b) Watercraft;
(c) Snowmobiles;
(d) Limited administrative use by the Forest Service;

[[Page 42386]]

(e) Use of any fire, military, emergency, or law enforcement
vehicle for emergency purposes;
(f) Authorized use of any combat or combat support vehicle for
national defense purposes;
(g) Law enforcement response to violations of law, including
pursuit; and
(h) Use and occupancy of National Forest System lands and resources
pursuant to a written authorization issued under Federal law or
regulations.
All but one of these exemptions, the exemption for snowmobiles, are
found in E.O. 11644, E.O. 11989, and 36 CFR part 295. Snowmobiles would
be exempted from the mandatory designation scheme because a snowmobile
traveling over snow results in different and less severe impacts to
natural resource values than wheeled motor vehicles traveling over the
ground. Consequently, in contrast to wheeled motor vehicles, it may be
appropriate for snowmobiles to travel off route.
Nevertheless, since there are impacts associated with snowmobile
use, and since snowmobiles are included in the definition of off-road
vehicle in E.O. 11644 and E.O. 11989, the agency is preserving the
authority currently in part 295 to allow, restrict, or prohibit
snowmobile use on a discretionary basis in Sec. 212.80 of the proposed
rule, as discussed in the description of that section.
The proposed rule would give responsible officials the flexibility
to designate roads, trails, and areas for motor vehicle use in one step
or several stages. Specifically, responsible officials could designate
motor vehicle use only in certain areas and on existing routes in an
administrative unit or ranger district, that is, on National Forest
System roads and trails reflected in the applicable forest
transportation atlas and on user-created routes identified by the
public and the Forest Service in the designation process. This approach
would expedite implementation of a prohibition on cross-country motor
vehicle use, other than in designated areas. Revision to the initial
designations could effectuate a longer-term vision for motor vehicle
management. Alternatively, the proposed rule would give responsible
officials the flexibility to implement a longer-term vision for motor
vehicle management in one step, by evaluating whether user-created
routes should become National Forest System roads or National Forest
System trails, be included in a forest transportation atlas, and
reflected on a use map.
Existing decisions that allow, restrict, or prohibit motor vehicle
use on National Forest System roads, National Forest System trails, or
areas on National Forest System lands could be revised and incorporated
into the new designated system established under the proposed rule, or
could be subsumed in designations made pursuant to the proposed rule.
If an administrative unit or ranger district has completed designations
of roads, trails, and areas, the responsible official would evaluate
the designations and determine if the designations could be included in
the new designated system for motor vehicle use established under the
proposed rule.
Suitability determinations and guidelines in land management plans
would be separate from but relevant to designations made pursuant to
this proposed rule. Land management plans determine suitability of uses
and establish resource protection guidelines, such as those governing
wildlife migration corridors, soil erosion, noise, and air pollution.
The plans themselves would not designate roads, trails, or areas
pursuant to this proposed rule and consequently would not be
enforceable under 36 CFR 261.13. Rather, such designations would occur
only after a decision separate from the plan decision is made pursuant
to this proposed rule. If a designation decision would not be
consistent with a plan, the plan would have to be amended to make it
conform to the designation decision. Designation decisions would
culminate from a site-specific proposal and public involvement. Once
designations were made pursuant to this proposed rule, they would be
enforceable pursuant to 36 CFR 261.13.
Section 212.52 Public involvement in the designation process.
Section 212.52(a) of the proposed rule would address public involvement
in the designation process and (like section 3(b) of E.O. 11644 and
Sec. 295.3) would require that the public be allowed to participate in
the process of designating roads, trails, and areas or revising
designations pursuant to this subpart. Proposed Sec. 212.52(a) also
would require that advance notice be given to allow for public comment
on proposed or revised designations.
Public involvement in the designation process would include public
participation in identification of unplanned or user-created roads and
trails on National Forest System lands that have resulted from cross-
country motor vehicle use. As stated previously, these routes would not
necessarily be inventoried and included in a forest transportation
atlas. If unplanned or user-created routes are not inventoried and
included in a forest transportation atlas, they would meet the
definition for unauthorized or unclassified roads or trails (any roads
or trails other than forest roads and trails or temporary roads and
trails) under the proposed rule. Alternatively, these routes could be
designated for motor vehicle use pursuant to Sec. 212.51 of the
proposed rule or for other purposes. If so, these routes would become
National Forest System roads or National Forest System trails, would be
included in a forest transportation atlas, and would be reflected on a
use map.
Section 212.52(b) of the proposed rule would address the absence of
public involvement in temporary, emergency closures. Section
212.52(b)(1) would address the absence of public involvement in
temporary, emergency closures in general. Specifically, Sec.
212.52(b)(1) would state that nothing in Sec. 212.52 would alter or
limit the authority to implement temporary, emergency closures pursuant
to 36 CFR part 261, subpart B, without advance public notice in order
to provide short-term resource protection or to protect public health
and safety.
Section 9 of E.O. 11644, as amended by E.O. 11989, and the current
Sec. 295.5 (which would be removed by this proposed rule) provide for
temporary, emergency closures based on a determination of considerable
adverse effects. Section 212.52(b)(2) of the proposed rule would
address temporary, emergency closures based on a determination of
considerable adverse effects. This section would provide that if, based
on monitoring pursuant to Sec. 212.57, the Forest Supervisor or other
responsible official determines that motor vehicle use on a National
Forest System road or National Forest System trail or in an area on
National Forest System lands is causing or will cause considerable
adverse effects on public safety or soil, vegetation, wildlife,
wildlife habitat, or cultural or historic resources associated with
that road, trail, or area, the Forest Supervisor or other responsible
official would immediately close that road, trail, or area to motor
vehicle use until the official determines that such adverse effects
have been mitigated or eliminated and that measures have been
implemented to prevent future recurrence.
E.O. 11644, E.O. 11989, and current Sec. 295.5 provide that
temporary, emergency closures based on a determination of considerable
adverse effects will remain in effect until the responsible official
determines that the adverse effects have been eliminated, rather than
mitigated or eliminated. The Forest Service believes that use in

[[Page 42387]]

Sec. 212.52 of the phrase ``mitigated or eliminated'' in this context
is reasonable and consistent with use of the word ``eliminated''
because mitigation of adverse effects has the net effect of elimination
of adverse effects and because elimination of adverse effects is not
always possible or may be difficult to establish.
Temporary, emergency closures based on a determination of
considerable adverse effects are intended to be short-term. Removing
roads, trails, or areas subject to a temporary, emergency closure from
the system of designated roads, trails, and areas would require public
involvement pursuant to Sec. 212.52(a).
Section 212.53 Coordination with Federal, State, County, and other
local governmental entities and Tribal governments. The current Sec.
295.2 (which would be removed by this proposed rule) provides for
coordination with appropriate Federal, State, and local agencies in
connection with designation of trails and areas for motor vehicle use.
Section 212.53 of the proposed rule would incorporate this provision,
by providing that the Forest Supervisor or other responsible official
shall coordinate with appropriate Federal, State, County, and other
local governmental entities and Tribal governments when designating
roads, trails, and areas pursuant to the proposed rule. Section 212.53
would include in the designation process coordination with other
governmental agencies, such as the Bureau of Land Management or State
natural resource agencies, that administer lands in the vicinity of
roads, trails, and areas contemplated for designation.
Section 215.54 Revision of designations. Section 212.54 of the
proposed rule would provide that designations made pursuant to Sec.
212.51 could be revised as needed to meet changing conditions. Section
212.54 would allow for updated designations to reflect changes in
environmental conditions, recreation demand, and other factors.
Revision of designations would reflect the outcome of monitoring
effects of motor vehicle use and would promote protection of the
environment. Revisions of designations would be made in accordance with
the requirements set out in the proposed rule for public input (Sec.
212.52) and designation criteria (Sec. 212.55) and would be identified
in a use map pursuant to Sec. 212.56.
Section 212.55 Criteria for designation of roads, trails, and
areas. This section of the proposed rule would enumerate the criteria
to be used in designating roads, trails, and areas for motor vehicle
use.
Section 212.55(a) General criteria for designation of roads,
trails, and areas. Section 212.55(a) would include the general criteria
for designating roads, trails, and areas. Half of these criteria come
from section 3(a) of E.O. 11644 and the current Sec. 212.2(b) (which
would be removed by the proposed rule). These criteria include
protection of National Forest resources, promotion of public safety,
and minimization of conflicts among uses of National Forest System
lands. Although these criteria come from E.O. 11644 and part 295, which
apply only to off-road motor vehicle use, these criteria are general
enough to be appropriate for designating roads for motor vehicle use
under the proposed rule.
Section 212.55(a) of the proposed rule would add the following to
these general criteria: Provision of recreational opportunities; access
needs; the need for maintenance and administration of roads, trails,
and areas that would arise if the uses under consideration are
designated; and the availability of resources for that maintenance and
administration. A key goal of the designated system for motor vehicle
use would be to provide recreational opportunities. In designating
roads, trails and areas for motor vehicle use, the agency needs to
address access to National Forest System lands for a variety of
purposes, including recreational and non-recreational use. Maintenance
and administration needs arise from designation of roads, trails, and
areas for motor vehicle use. These needs, and the availability of
resources to address those needs, would be taken into account in
designating roads, trails, and areas under the proposed rule.
Section 212.55(b) Specific criteria for designation of trails and
areas. Section 212.55(b) would include the specific criteria for
designating trails and areas in section 3(a) of E.O. 11644 and the
current Sec. 295.2(b) (which would be removed by the proposed rule).
These criteria are keyed to off-road motor vehicle use and therefore
would not apply to designation of roads under the proposed rule.
Section 212.55(b) would add consistency with the agency's trail
management objectives to the preexisting criteria. The criteria for
designating trails and areas would include consideration of effects on
the following, with the objective of minimizing:
(1) Damage to soil, watershed, vegetation, and other forest
resources;
(2) Harassment of wildlife and significant disruption of wildlife
habitats;
(3) Conflicts between motor vehicle use and existing or proposed
recreational uses of National Forest System lands or neighboring
Federal lands; and
(4) Conflicts among different classes of motor vehicle uses of
National Forest System lands or neighboring Federal lands.
In addition, the responsible official would consider:
(5) Compatibility of motor vehicle use with existing conditions in
populated areas, taking into account sound, emissions, and other
factors; and
(6) Consistency with trail management objectives.
E.O. 11644 states that its implementing regulations shall direct
that designation of trails and areas for motor vehicle use be based
upon certain general criteria, which are set out in Sec. 212.55(a) of
the proposed rule. For example, section 3(a) of E.O. 11644 states that
implementing regulations ``shall direct that the designation of such
areas and trails will be based upon the protection of the resources of
the public lands * * *.'' E.O. 11644 also provides that its
implementing regulations shall require that designation of trails and
areas for motor vehicle use be in accordance with achieving the
objectives in specific criteria, which are set out in Sec. 212.55(b)
of the proposed rule. Section 3(a) also states that implementing
regulations ``shall further require that the designation of such areas
and trails shall be in accordance with the following--(1) Areas and
trails shall be located to minimize damage to soil, watershed,
vegetation, or other resources of the public lands * * *.''
The agency believes that these provisions of E.O. 11644 establish
the criteria that must be considered in designating trails and areas
for motor vehicle use. The agency believes that these criteria are
objectives that the agency must evaluate in designating trails and
areas, rather than required outcomes. Section 3(a) of E.O. 11644 does
not establish the primacy or subservience of any particular use
relative to other uses of trails and areas. Accordingly, Sec.
212.55(a) and (b) of the proposed rule would require the responsible
official to consider the criteria enumerated in those sections in
designating roads, trails, and areas or trails and areas, respectively.
In requiring consideration of the enumerated criteria in
designating roads, trails, and areas, the proposed rule would give the
responsible official

[[Page 42388]]

discretion to weigh the pertinent criteria in each specific
circumstance and to select from a variety of options, depending on that
circumstance. For example, based upon consideration of the pertinent
criteria, the responsible official could decide to designate a road,
trail, or area because there would be no measurable or appreciable
effects on National Forest System resources or other uses, as in a dry
location where the soil is stable, there are few or no other uses, and
there are limited wildlife concerns. Alternatively, based upon
consideration of the pertinent criteria, the responsible official could
decide to designate a road, trail, or area after mitigation of adverse
effects, such as where a road, trail, or area is designated for use
seasonally to accommodate elk calving in the vicinity. Based upon
consideration of the pertinent criteria, the responsible official
alternatively could decide not to designate a road, trail, or area
because designation would result in considerable adverse effects on
National Forest System resources and other uses that could not be
mitigated, such as where there are primarily nonmotorized uses such as
hiking, where there is a municipal watershed with highly erosive soils,
or where there is a wide variety of threatened, endangered, or
sensitive species habitat.
Section 212.55(c) Specific criteria for designation of roads.
Section 212.55(c) of the proposed rule would include the specific
criteria for designating roads, which are based on objectives in agency
policy for management of motor vehicle use on roads. These criteria
include:
(1) Speed, volume, composition, and distribution of traffic on
roads; and
(2) Consistency with road management objectives.
To a certain degree, National Forest System roads are in effect
already designated for some classes of motor vehicle use pursuant to
State law and assignment of the Forest Service's road maintenance
levels. To avoid an unnecessary process in connection with designation
of roads, the Forest Service would capture these de facto designations
in implementing this proposed rule. For example, the agency could
provide that all open National Forest System roads are presumptively
designated for use by motor vehicles meeting the operator
qualifications, vehicle licensing, and vehicle equipment requirements
for use of public roads under applicable State law.
In addition, it may be possible to provide that Forest Service road
maintenance levels are keyed to certain motor vehicle classes, and that
by setting a certain maintenance level for a National Forest System
road, the agency has also designated the road for use by certain
vehicle classes. For example, since National Forest System roads at
maintenance level 2 are suitable for high-clearance motor vehicles,
such as commercial trucks and SUVs, that meet motor vehicle
requirements for use of public roads under applicable State law, the
agency could provide that National Forest System roads at maintenance
level 2 are presumptively designated for those motor vehicles.
The agency could still allow use of a National Forest System road,
if deemed appropriate, by vehicles such as OHVs that may not be used on
public roads under State law. United States Department of
Transportation regulations and Forest Service directives require that
provisions of the Highway Safety Act apply on roads managed as open to
public travel, that is, National Forest System roads at road
maintenance levels 3, 4, and 5. In general, National Forest System
roads subject to the Highway Safety Act would be designated for use by
OHVs only in special circumstances and only upon completion of an
engineering study to establish the traffic control devices and signs
needed for user safety.
Section 212.55(d) Rights of access. Section 212.55(d) would provide
that in making designations pursuant to part 251, subpart B, the
responsible official must be consistent with rights of access. These
rights of access include valid existing rights; the rights of use of
National Forest System roads and trails under Sec. 212.6(b); and the
provisions concerning rights of access in sections 811 and 1110(a) of
the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) (16 U.S.C.
3121 and 3170(a), respectively) (note that section 811 of ANILCA
applies only in Alaska).
Examples of valid existing rights include a valid outstanding or
reserved right-of-way for a road or trail in existence at the time
title to the underlying land was acquired by the United States and a
right-of-way for a road or trail acquired by the United States, where
the owner of the underlying land may have retained control of the
right-of-way and may have reserved the right to allow others to use it.
Designations could still apply to uses outside the scope of the first
type of right-of-way and could apply to uses within the scope of either
type of right-of-way if the Forest Service has reserved the right to
regulate use of the right-of-way.
Section 212.55(e) Congressionally designated wilderness and
primitive areas. Section 3(a)(4) of E.O. 11644 and the current Sec.
295.2(b)(4) (which would be removed by this proposed rule) state that
trails and areas in Congressionally designated wilderness and primitive
areas shall not be designated for motor vehicle use. Each
Congressionally designated wilderness area has enabling legislation.
Some of these statutes may provide for motor vehicle use in a
particular wilderness area. Accordingly, Sec. 212.55(e) of the
proposed rule would preclude National Forest System roads, National
Forest System trails, and areas on National Forest System lands in
Congressionally designated wilderness areas from being designated for
motor vehicle use, unless motor vehicle use is authorized by the
applicable enabling legislation for those areas.
Section 212.56 Identification of designated roads, trails, and
areas. Section 5 of E.O. 11644 and Sec. 295.4 require publication and
distribution of information, including maps, identifying and explaining
designation of trails and areas for motor vehicle use. Section 212.56
of the proposed rule would provide that designated roads, trails, and
areas must be identified in a use map as defined in the proposed rule.
Section 212.56 would also provide that use maps are to be made
available to the public at the headquarters of corresponding
administrative units of the National Forest System. ``Made available to
the public'' would not necessarily mean making the maps available free
of charge. The use maps would specify the classes of vehicles and, if
appropriate, the times of year for which use is designated. Use maps
also could reflect designations for nonmotorized uses, such as
horseback riding and hiking, and restrictions or prohibitions on
snowmobile use established pursuant to Sec. 212.58 of the proposed
rule.
Section 5 of E.O. 11644 also provides that designated trails and
areas are to be well marked. The agency believes that marking of
designated roads, trails, and areas may vary depending on the
circumstances and that consequently some discretion is needed in the
context of marking these routes and areas. Therefore, the agency
believes that marking of designated roads, trails, and areas is best
addressed in agency policy, rather than regulations.
Section 212.57 Monitoring of effects of motor vehicle use on
designated roads and trails and in designated areas. Section 8 of E.O.
11644 and current Sec. 295.5 (which would be removed by the proposed
rule) require the Forest Service to monitor the effects of motor
vehicle use on designated trails and areas under the jurisdiction of
the Forest Service. Accordingly, Sec. 212.57 of

[[Page 42389]]

the proposed rule would provide that for each administrative unit of
the National Forest System, the Forest Supervisor, or other responsible
official, shall monitor the effects of motor vehicle use on designated
roads and trails and in designated areas under the jurisdiction of that
Forest Supervisor or other responsible official. The results of
monitoring could provide the basis for revision or rescission of
designations made pursuant to Sec. 212.51 of the proposed rule, as
provided in section 8(a) of E.O. 11644, or for a determination of
considerable adverse effects for purposes of implementing a temporary,
emergency closure pursuant to Sec. 212.52(b)(2) of the proposed rule.
Section 212.57, like section 8 of E.O. 11644 and the current Sec.
295.5, would not prescribe how monitoring is to be conducted. The
agency believes that monitoring of designated roads, trails, and areas
may vary depending on the circumstances and that some discretion is
needed in the context of monitoring these routes and areas. Therefore,
the agency believes that monitoring of designated roads, trails, and
areas is best addressed in agency policy, rather than regulations.
Part 212, New Subpart C--Snowmobile Use
Section 212.80 Purpose and scope. The purpose of this subpart would
be to provide for regulation of snowmobile use on National Forest
System roads and National Forest System trails and in areas on National
Forest System lands.
Section 212.81 Snowmobile use. Section 212.81 of the proposed rule
would preserve the authority in E.O. 11644 and E.O. 11989 and in the
current part 295 (which would be removed by this proposed rule) to
allow, restrict, or prohibit snowmobile use on a discretionary basis.
Section 212.81(a) and (b) would provide that snowmobile use on National
Forest System roads and National Forest System trails and in areas on
National Forest System lands may be allowed, restricted, or prohibited,
provided that the following uses would be exempted from restrictions or
prohibitions on snowmobile use:
(a) Limited administrative use by the Forest Service;
(b) Use of any fire, military, emergency, or law enforcement
vehicle for emergency purposes;
(c) Authorized use of any combat or combat support vehicle for
national defense purposes;
(d) Law enforcement response to violations of law, including
pursuit; and
(e) Use and occupancy of National Forest System lands and resources
pursuant to a written authorization issued under Federal law or
regulations.
These exemptions are found in E.O. 11644 and E.O. 11989 and in the
current part 295.
As stated previously in the discussion of Sec. 212.51 of the
proposed rule, a snowmobile traveling over snow results in different
and less severe impacts to natural resource values than wheeled motor
vehicles traveling over the ground. Consequently, in contrast to
wheeled motor vehicles, it may be appropriate for snowmobiles to travel
off route in relatively large, dispersed areas on National Forest
System lands.
Section 212.81(c) of the proposed rule would provide that the
requirements governing designation of National Forest System roads,
National Forest System trails, and areas on National Forest System
lands in Sec. Sec. 212.52 (public involvement); 212.53 (coordination
with other governmental entities); 212.54 (as applied to snowmobile
use, revision of restrictions and prohibitions); 212.55 (as applied to
snowmobile use, criteria for restrictions and prohibitions); 212.56 (as
applied to snowmobile use, identification of restrictions and
prohibitions); and 212.57 (monitoring the effects of motor vehicle use)
shall apply to establishment of any restrictions or prohibitions on
snowmobile use.

Revisions to Part 251--Land Uses, Subpart B--Special Uses

Section 251.51 Definitions. Like Sec. 212.1 of the proposed rule,
the current Sec. 251.51 contains definitions for forest road, National
Forest System road, and National Forest System trail. However, Sec.
251.51 lacks a definition for a road or trail under Forest Service
jurisdiction, which is a component of the definition for National
Forest System road and National Forest System trail. Therefore, to make
the definition in Sec. 251.51 consistent with those in Sec. 212.1 of
the proposed rule, a definition for a road or trail under Forest
Service jurisdiction would be added to Sec. 251.51.

Revisions to Part 261--Prohibitions, Subpart A--General Prohibitions

Section 261.2 Definitions. The proposed rule would revise the
definition for motor vehicle in Sec. 261.2 to make it consistent with
the definition for motor vehicle in Sec. 212.1 of the proposed rule,
which excludes wheelchairs and other mobility devices as defined in the
Americans With Disabilities Act.
Like Sec. 212.1 of the proposed rule, the current Sec. 261.2
contains definitions for forest road or trail, National Forest System
road, and National Forest System trail. However, Sec. 261.2 lacks a
definition for a road or trail under Forest Service jurisdiction, which
is a component of the definition for National Forest System road and
National Forest System trail. To make the definitions in Sec. 261.2
consistent with Sec. 212.1 of the proposed rule, a definition for a
road or trail under Forest Service jurisdiction would be added to Sec.
261.2 of the proposed rule.
Section 261.13 Motor vehicle use. Section 6 of E.O. 11644 requires
the Forest Service, where authorized by law, to prescribe appropriate
penalties for violation of regulations adopted pursuant to that E.O.
and to establish procedures for enforcement of those regulations.
Accordingly, the proposed rule would add a new prohibition to part 261,
subpart A, for enforcement of designations made pursuant to Sec.
212.51 of the proposed rule. Enforcement of designations for motor
vehicle use made pursuant to Sec. 212.51 of the proposed rule using a
prohibition in part 261, subpart A, would be simpler than enforcement
of restrictions and prohibitions under the current part 295 (part 295
would be removed by this proposed rule), which requires issuance of an
order under part 261, subpart B, and issuance of a citation for
violation of that order. Enforcement of a prohibition in part 261,
subpart A, can be accomplished simply through issuance of a citation.
The prohibition in Sec. 261.13 of the proposed rule would not go
into effect and could not be enforced until roads, trails, and areas
have been designated pursuant to Sec. 212.51 of the proposed rule, in
accordance with the requirements in proposed part 212, subpart B,
including the requirements in the proposed rule for public input in
Sec. 212.52 and the criteria in Sec. 212.55. Under proposed Sec.
261.13, after roads, trails, and areas have been designated pursuant to
Sec. 212.51 on an administrative unit or a ranger district of the
National Forest System, it would be prohibited to possess or operate a
motor vehicle on National Forest System lands in that administrative
unit or ranger district other than in accordance with those
designations, provided that the following vehicles and uses would be
exempted from this prohibition:
(a) Aircraft;
(b) Watercraft;
(c) Snowmobiles;
(d) Limited administrative use by the Forest Service;
(e) Use of any fire, military, emergency, or law enforcement
vehicle for emergency purposes;

[[Page 42390]]

(f) Authorized use of any combat or combat support vehicle for
national defense purposes;
(g) Law enforcement response to violations of law, including
pursuit;
(h) Use and occupancy of National Forest System lands and resources
pursuant to a written authorization issued under Federal law or
regulations; and
(i) Use of a road or trail that is not under Forest Service
jurisdiction.
These vehicles and uses are also exempted from the designations
made pursuant to Sec. 212.51. These exemptions are enumerated in Sec.
212.51(a) through (h). The counterpart for exemption (i) is the scope
of Sec. 212.51, which with respect to roads and trails is limited to
designating motor vehicle use on National Forest System roads and
National Forest System trails, i.e., forest roads or trails under the
jurisdiction of the Forest Service. Since designations for motor
vehicle use established pursuant to Sec. 212.51 of the proposed rule
would not apply to roads or trails that are not under Forest Service
jurisdiction, a prohibition enforcing designations for motor vehicle
use established pursuant to Sec. 212.51 of the proposed rule would not
apply to motor vehicle use on roads or trails that are not under Forest
Service jurisdiction.
Section 261.14 Snowmobile use. Section 6 of E.O. 11644 requires the
Forest Service, where authorized by law, to prescribe appropriate
penalties for violation of regulations adopted pursuant to that E.O.
and to establish procedures for enforcement of those regulations.
Accordingly, the proposed rule would add a new prohibition to part 261,
subpart A, for enforcement of restrictions and prohibitions regarding
snowmobile use established pursuant to Sec. 212.81 of the proposed
rule. Enforcement of snowmobile restrictions and prohibitions
established pursuant to Sec. 212.81 of the proposed rule using a
prohibition in part 261, subpart A, would be simpler than enforcement
of restrictions and prohibitions under the current part 295 (which
would be removed by this proposed rule), which requires issuance of an
order under part 261, subpart B, and issuance of a citation for
violation of that order. Enforcement of a prohibition in part 261,
subpart A, can be accomplished simply through issuance of a citation.
Under proposed Sec. 261.14, it would be prohibited to possess or
operate a snowmobile on National Forest System lands in violation of a
restriction or prohibition established pursuant to proposed Sec.
212.81, provided that the following uses would be exempted from this
prohibition:
(a) Limited administrative use by the Forest Service;
(b) Use of any fire, military, emergency, or law enforcement
vehicle for emergency purposes;
(c) Authorized use of any combat or combat support vehicle for
national defense purposes;
(d) Law enforcement response to violations of law, including
pursuit;
(e) Use and occupancy of National Forest System lands and resources
pursuant to a written authorization issued under Federal law or
regulations; and
(f) Use of a road or trail that is not under Forest Service
jurisdiction.
These uses are also exempted from the restrictions and prohibitions
established pursuant to Sec. 212.81 of the proposed rule. Exemptions
(a) through (e) are enumerated in Sec. 212.81(b). The counterpart for
exemption (f) is the scope of Sec. 212.81(a), which with respect to
roads and trails is limited to establishing restrictions or
prohibitions on snowmobile use on National Forest System roads and
National Forest System trails, such as, forest roads or trails under
the jurisdiction of the Forest Service. Since restrictions and
prohibitions on snowmobile use established pursuant to Sec. 212.81 of
the proposed rule would not apply to snowmobile use on roads or trails
that are not under Forest Service jurisdiction, a prohibition enforcing
restrictions and prohibitions on snowmobile use established pursuant to
Sec. 212.81 of the proposed rule would not apply to snowmobile use on
roads or trails that are not under Forest Service jurisdiction.

Removal of Part 295--Use of Motor Vehicles Off National Forest System
Roads

Part 295 would be removed, as its provisions, with the exception of
Sec. 295.6, requiring annual review of motor vehicle management plans
and temporary designations, would be integrated into part 212, subpart
B, of the proposed rule. Section 295.6 would not be retained because it
has no antecedent in E.O. 11644 or E.O. 11989 and inappropriately
removes discretion from the responsible official to determine how often
to review designations of roads, trails, and areas for motor vehicle
use.
Proposed part 212, subpart B, would provide more consistency in
management of motor vehicle use than the current part 295. In contrast
to the current part 295, which allows for a patchwork of restrictions
and prohibitions on motor vehicle use on National Forest System lands,
proposed part 212, subpart B, would require designation of National
Forest System roads, National Forest System trails, and areas on
National Forest System lands for motor vehicle use.
In addition, designations made pursuant to proposed part 212,
subpart B, would be broader than any restrictions or prohibitions
implemented pursuant to the current part 295 because designations made
pursuant to part 212, subpart B, would apply to motor vehicle use on
National Forest System roads, as well as off National Forest System
roads.

Regulatory Certifications

Environmental Impact

This proposed rule would require development at the field level,
with public input, of a designated system for motor vehicle use on
National Forest System roads and trails and in areas on National Forest
System lands. The proposed rule would have no effect on the ground
until designations of roads, trails, and areas are completed at the
field level, with opportunity for public involvement. Section 31b of
Forest Service Handbook 1909.15 (57 FR 43180, September 18, 1992)
excludes from documentation in an environmental assessment or
environmental impact statement ``rules, regulations, or policies to
establish Service-wide administrative procedures, program processes, or
instructions.'' The agency's conclusion is that this proposed rule
falls within this category of actions and that no extraordinary
circumstances exist which would require preparation of an environmental
assessment or environmental impact statement.

Regulatory Impact

This proposed rule has been reviewed under USDA procedures and
Executive Order (E.O.) 12866 on regulatory planning and review. The
Office of Management and Budget (OMcool smiley has determined that this proposed
rule is not significant for purposes of E.O. 12866. This proposed rule
would not have an annual effect of $100 million or more on the economy,
nor would it adversely affect productivity, competition, jobs, the
environment, public health and safety, or State and local governments.
This proposed rule would not interfere with any action taken or planned
by another agency, nor would it raise new legal or policy issues.
Finally, this proposed rule would not alter the budgetary impact of
entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights and
obligations of beneficiaries of such programs.

[[Page 42391]]

Accordingly, this proposed rule is not subject to OMB review under E.O.
12866.

Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis

This proposed rule has been considered in light of the Regulatory
Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 602 et seq.). The proposed rule would not
have any effect on small entities as defined by the Regulatory
Flexibility Act. The proposed rule would require development at the
field level, with public input, of a designated system for motor
vehicle use on National Forest System roads and trails and in areas on
National Forest System lands. The proposed rule would not directly
affect small businesses, small organizations, and small governmental
jurisdictions. Therefore, the agency has determined that this proposed
rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial
number of small entities pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act
because it would not impose recordkeeping requirements on them; it
would not affect their competitive position in relation to large
entities; and it would not affect their cash flow, liquidity, or
ability to remain in the market.

No Takings Implications

This proposed rule has been analyzed in accordance with the
principles and criteria contained in E.O. 12630. It has been determined
that this rule would not pose the risk of a taking of private property.

Civil Justice Reform

This proposed rule has been reviewed under E.O. 12988 on civil
justice reform. After adoption of this proposed rule, (1) all State and
local laws and regulations that conflict with this rule or that impede
its full implementation would be preempted; (2) no retroactive effect
would be given to this final rule; and (3) it would not require
administrative proceedings before parties may file suit in court
challenging its provisions.

Federalism and Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal
Governments

The agency has considered this proposed rule under the requirements
of E.O. 13132 on federalism, and has determined that the proposed rule
conforms with the federalism principles set out in this E.O.; would not
impose any compliance costs on the States; and would not have
substantial direct effects on the States, the relationship between the
Federal government and the States, or the distribution of power and
responsibilities among the various levels of government. Therefore, the
agency has determined that no further assessment of federalism
implications is necessary.
Moreover, this proposed rule would not have Tribal implications as
defined by E.O. 13175, Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal
Governments, and therefore advance consultation with Tribes is not
required.

Energy Effects

This proposed rule has been reviewed under E.O. 13211 of May 18,
2001, Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect the
Energy Supply. It has been determined that this proposed rule would not
constitute a significant energy action as defined in the E.O.

Unfunded Mandates

Pursuant to Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2
U.S.C. 1531-1538), which the President signed into law on March 22,
1995, the agency has assessed the effects of this proposed rule on
State, local, and Tribal governments and the private sector. This
proposed rule would not compel the expenditure of $100 million or more
by any State, local, or Tribal government or anyone in the private
sector. Therefore, a statement under section 202 of the act is not
required.

Controlling Paperwork Burdens on the Public

This proposed rule does not contain any recordkeeping or reporting
requirements or other information collection requirements as defined in
5 CFR part 1320 that are not already required by law or not already
approved for use. Accordingly, the review provisions of the Paperwork
Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) and its implementing
regulations at 5 CFR part 1320 do not apply.

List of Subjects

36 CFR Part 212

Highways and roads, National forests, Public lands--rights-of-way,
and Transportation.

36 CFR Part 251

Administrative practice and procedure, Electric power, National
forests, Public lands rights-of-way, Reporting and recordkeeping
requirements, Water resources.

36 CFR Part 261

Law enforcement, National forests.

36 CFR Part 295

National forests, Traffic regulations.

Therefore, for the reasons set out in the preamble, the Forest
Service proposes to amend part 212, subpart B of part 251, and subpart
A of part 261 and to remove part 295 of title 36 of the Code of Federal
Regulations as follows:

PART 212--TRAVEL MANAGEMENT

Sec. Sec. 212.1 through 212.21 [Designated as subpart A]

1. Sections 212.1 through 212.21 are designated as Subpart A--
Administration of the Forest Transportation System, and the authority
citation for part 212 is designated as the authority citation for
subpart A and continues to read as follows:

Authority: 16 U.S.C. 551; 23 U.S.C. 205.

2. The heading for part 212 is revised to read as set forth above.
3. Amend Sec. 212.1 as follows:
a. In alphabetical order, add the following definitions:
administrative unit; area; designated road, trail, or area; forest road
or trail; forest transportation system; motor vehicle; National Forest
System road; National Forest System trail; road or trail under Forest
Service jurisdiction; snowmobile; temporary road or trail; trail;
travel management atlas; unauthorized or unclassified road or trail;
and use map; and
b. Revise the definition for forest transportation atlas and road,
and remove the definitions for classified road, temporary road, and
unclassified road.
The additions and revisions read as follows:


Sec. 212.1 Definitions.

Administrative unit. A national forest, a national grassland, Land
Between the Lakes, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, or Midewin
National Tallgrass Prairie.
Area. A discrete, specifically delineated space that is smaller
than a ranger district.
* * * * *
Designated road, trail, or area. A National Forest System road, a
National Forest System trail, or an area on National Forest System
lands that is designated for motor vehicle use pursuant to Sec. 212.51
in a use map contained in a travel management atlas.
* * * * *
Forest road or trail. A road or trail wholly or partly within or
adjacent to and serving the National Forest System that the Forest
Service determines is necessary for the protection, administration, and
utilization of the National Forest System and the use and

[[Page 42392]]

development of its resources, and that is included in a forest
transportation atlas.
Forest transportation atlas. A display of the system of roads,
trails, and airfields of an administrative unit of the National Forest
System that consists of the geospatial, tabular, and other data that
support resource management activities and analysis associated with
resource management goals in the applicable land management plan.
* * * * *
Forest transportation system. The system of National Forest System
roads, National Forest System trails, and airfields on National Forest
System lands that are included in a forest transportation atlas.
* * * * *
Motor vehicle. Any vehicle which is self-propelled, other than:
(1) A vehicle operated on rails; and
(2) Any wheelchair or mobility device, including one that is
battery-powered, that is designed solely for use by a mobility-impaired
person for locomotion, and that is suitable for use in an indoor
pedestrian area.
* * * * *
National Forest System road. A forest road under the jurisdiction
of the Forest Service.
National Forest System trail. A forest trail under the jurisdiction
of the Forest Service.
* * * * *
Road. A motor vehicle route over 50 inches wide, unless identified
and managed as a trail. A road may be a forest road, a temporary road,
or an unauthorized or unclassified road.
* * * * *
Road or trail under Forest Service jurisdiction. For the purposes
only of the definitions of National Forest System road and National
Forest System trail, a road or trail located on National Forest System
lands, other than a road or trail:
(1) Which has been authorized by a legally documented right-of-way
held by a State, County, or local public road authority; or
(2) Which an authorized officer has ascertained, for administrative
purposes and based on available evidence, is within a public right-of-
way for a highway, such as a right-of-way for a highway pursuant to
R.S. 2477 (43 U.S.C. 932, repealed Oct. 21, 1976).
* * * * *
Snowmobile. A motor vehicle that is designed exclusively for use
over snow and that runs on a track or tracks and/or a ski or skis.
Temporary road or trail. A road or trail necessary for emergency
operations or authorized by contract, permit, lease, or other written
authorization that is not a forest road or a forest trail and that is
not included in a forest transportation atlas.
Trail. A route 50 inches or less in width or a route over 50 inches
wide that is identified and managed as a trail. A trail may be a forest
trail, a temporary trail, or an unauthorized or unclassified trail.
Travel management atlas. An atlas that includes a forest
transportation atlas and a use map.
Unauthorized or unclassified road or trail. A road or trail that is
not a forest road or trail or a temporary road or trail and that is not
included in a forest transportation atlas.
Use map. A map reflecting designated roads, trails, and areas on an
administrative unit or a ranger district of the National Forest System
that is part of a travel management atlas.
4. Amend Sec. 212.2 by revising paragraph (a), redesignating
paragraph (b) as (d), and adding new paragraphs (b) and (c) to read as
follows:


Sec. 212.2 Forest transportation program.

(a) Travel management atlas. For each administrative unit of the
National Forest System, the Forest Supervisor or other responsible
official must develop and maintain a travel management atlas, which is
to be available to the public at the headquarters of that
administrative unit.
(b) Forest transportation atlas. A forest transportation atlas may
be updated to reflect new information on the existence and condition of
roads, trails, and airfields of the administrative unit. A forest
transportation atlas does not contain inventories of temporary roads,
which are tracked by the project or activity authorizing the temporary
road. The content and maintenance requirements for a forest
transportation atlas are identified in the Forest Service directive
system (Sec. 200.1).
(c) Program of work for the forest transportation system. A program
of work for the forest transportation system shall be developed each
fiscal year in accordance with procedures prescribed by the Chief.
* * * * *
5. Revise Sec. 212.5 as follows:
a. Revise paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2)(ii);
b. Revise the heading for paragraph (c) to read ``Cost recovery on
National Forest System roads''; and
c. Revise the heading for paragraph (d) to read ``Maintenance and
reconstruction of National Forest System roads by users.''


Sec. 212.5 Road system management.

(a) Traffic rules. * * *
(1) General. Traffic on roads is subject to State traffic laws
where applicable except when in conflict with designations established
under subpart B of this part or with the rules at 36 CFR part 261.
(2) Specific. * * *
(ii) Roads, or segments thereof, may be restricted to use by
certain classes of vehicles or types of traffic as provided in 36 CFR
part 261. Classes of vehicles may include but are not limited to
distinguishable groupings such as passenger cars, buses, trucks,
motorcycles, automobiles, 4-wheel drive vehicles, off-highway vehicles
and trailers. Types of traffic may include, but are not limited to,
groupings such as commercial hauling, recreation, and administrative.
* * * * *
6. Revise the paragraph heading for Sec. 212.7(a) to read as
follows:


Sec. 212.7. Access procurement by the United States.

(a) Existing or proposed National Forest System roads which are or
will be part of a system of a State, county, or other local
subdivision.
* * * * *
7. Revise Sec. 212.10(d) to read as follows:


Sec. 212.10 Maximum economy National Forest System roads.

* * * * *
(d) By a combination of these methods, provided that where roads
are to be constructed at a higher standard than the standard,
consistent with applicable environmental laws and regulations, that is
sufficient for harvesting and removal of National Forest timber and
other products covered by a particular sale, the purchaser of the
timber and other products shall not be required to bear the part of the
cost necessary to meet the higher standard, and the Chief may make such
arrangements to achieve this end as may be appropriate.


Sec. 212.20 [Removed]

8. Remove and reserve Sec. 212.20.
9. Add a new subpart B to read as follows:

Subpart B--Designation of Roads, Trails, and Areas for Motor
Vehicle Use

Sec.
212.50 Purpose and scope; definitions.
212.51 Designation of roads, trails, and areas.
212.52 Public involvement in the designation process.

[[Page 42393]]

212.53 Coordination with Federal, State, county, and other local
governmental entities and tribal governments.
212.54 Revision of designations.
212.55 Criteria for designation of roads, trails, and areas.
212.56 Identification of designated roads, trails, and areas.
212.57 Monitoring of effects of motor vehicle use on designated
roads and trails and in designated areas.

Authority: 7 U.S.C. 1011(f); 16 U.S.C. 551; E.O. 11644, 37 FR
2877, 3 CFR, 1971-1975 Comp., p. 666, 11989, 42 FR 26959, 3 CFR,
1977 Comp., p. 120.


Sec. 212.50 Purpose and scope; definitions.

(a) The purpose of this subpart is to provide for a system of
National Forest System roads, National Forest System trails, and areas
on National Forest System lands that are designated for motor vehicle
use. After these roads, trails, and areas are designated, motor vehicle
use, including the class of vehicle and time of year, not in accordance
with these designations is prohibited by 36 CFR 261.13. Motor vehicle
use off designated roads and trails and outside designated areas is
prohibited by 36 CFR 261.13.
(b) For definitions of terms used in this subpart, refer to Sec.
212.1 in subpart A of this part.


Sec. 212.51 Designation of roads, trails, and areas.

Motor vehicle use on National Forest System roads, on National
Forest System trails, and in areas on National Forest System lands
shall be designated by vehicle class and, if appropriate, by time of
year by the responsible official on administrative units or ranger
districts of the National Forest System, provided that the following
vehicles and uses are exempted from these designations:
(a) Aircraft;
(b) Watercraft;
(c) Snowmobiles (see Sec. 212.81);
(d) Limited administrative use by the Forest Service;
(e) Use of any fire, military, emergency, or law enforcement
vehicle for emergency purposes;
(f) Authorized use of any combat or combat support vehicle for
national defense purposes;
(g) Law enforcement response to violations of law, including
pursuit; and
(h) Use and occupancy of National Forest System lands and resources
pursuant to a written authorization issued under Federal law or
regulations.


Sec. 212.52 Public involvement in the designation process.

(a) General. The public shall be allowed to participate in the
process of designating National Forest System roads, National Forest
System trails, and areas on National Forest System lands and revising
those designations pursuant to this subpart. Advance notice shall be
given to allow for public comment on proposed designations and
revisions.
(b) Absence of public involvement in temporary, emergency closures.
(1) General. Nothing in this section shall alter or limit the authority
to implement temporary, emergency closures pursuant to 36 CFR part 261,
subpart B, without advance public notice to provide short-term resource
protection or to protect public health and safety.
(2) Temporary, emergency closures based on a determination of
considerable adverse effects. If, based on monitoring pursuant to Sec.
212.57, the Forest Supervisor or other responsible official determines
that motor vehicle use on a National Forest System road or National
Forest System trail or in an area on National Forest System lands is
causing or will cause considerable adverse effects on public safety or
soil, vegetation, wildlife, wildlife habitat, or cultural or historic
resources associated with that road, trail, or area, the Forest
Supervisor or other responsible official shall immediately close that
road, trail, or area to motor vehicle use until the official determines
that such adverse effects have been mitigated or eliminated and that
measures have been implemented to prevent future recurrence.


Sec. 212.53 Coordination with Federal, State, county, and other local
governmental entities and tribal governments.

The Forest Supervisor or other responsible official shall
coordinate with appropriate Federal, State, County, and other local
governmental entities and Tribal governments when designating National
Forest System roads, National Forest System trails and areas on
National Forest System lands pursuant to this subpart.


Sec. 212.54 Revision of designations.

Designations of National Forest System roads, National Forest
System trails, and areas on National Forest System lands pursuant to
Sec. 212.51 may be revised as needed to meet changing conditions.
Revisions of designations shall be made in accordance with the
requirements for public involvement in Sec. 212.52 and the criteria in
Sec. 212.55, and shall be reflected on a use map pursuant to Sec.
212.56.


Sec. 212.55 Criteria for designation of roads, trails, and areas.

(a) General criteria for designation of National Forest System
roads, National Forest System trails, and areas on National Forest
System lands. In designating National Forest System roads, National
Forest System trails, and areas on National Forest System lands for
motor vehicle use, the responsible official shall consider protection
of National Forest System resources, promotion of public safety,
provision of recreational opportunities, access needs, minimization of
conflicts among uses of National Forest System lands, the need for
maintenance and administration of roads, trails, and areas that would
arise if the uses under consideration are designated; and the
availability of resources for that maintenance and administration.
(b) Specific criteria for designation of trails and areas. In
addition to the criteria in paragraph (a) of this section, in
designating National Forest System trails and areas on National Forest
System lands, the responsible official shall consider effects on the
following, with the objective of minimizing:
(1) Damage to soil, watershed, vegetation, and other forest
resources;
(2) Harassment of wildlife and significant disruption of wildlife
habitats;
(3) Conflicts between motor vehicle use and existing or proposed
recreational uses of National Forest System lands or neighboring
Federal lands; and
(4) Conflicts among different classes of motor vehicle uses of
National Forest System lands or neighboring Federal lands.
In addition, the responsible official shall consider:
(5) Compatibility of motor vehicle use with existing conditions in
populated areas, taking into account sound, emissions, and other
factors; and
(6) Consistency with trail management objectives.
(c) Specific criteria for designation of roads. In addition to the
criteria in paragraph (a) of this section, in designating National
Forest System roads, the responsible official shall be consistent with:
(1) Speed, volume, composition, and distribution of traffic on
roads; and
(2) Consistency with road management objectives.
(d) Rights of access. In making designations pursuant to this
subpart, the responsible official shall take into account:
(1) Valid existing rights;
(2) The provisions concerning rights of access in sections 811 and
1110(a) of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (16
U.S.C. 3121 and 3170(a), respectively); and

[[Page 42394]]

(3) The rights of use of National Forest System roads and trails
under Sec. 212.6(b).
(e) Congressionally designated wilderness areas and primitive
areas. National Forest System roads, National Forest System trails, and
areas on National Forest System lands in Congressionally designated
wilderness areas or primitive areas shall not be designated for motor
vehicle use pursuant to this section, unless, in the case of wilderness
areas, motor vehicle use is authorized by the applicable enabling
legislation for those areas.


Sec. 212.56 Identification of designated roads, trails, and areas.

Designated roads, trails, and areas shall be identified in a use
map as defined in Sec. 212.1 of this part. Use maps shall be made
available to the public at the headquarters of corresponding
administrative units of the National Forest System. The use maps shall
specify the classes of vehicles and, if appropriate, the times of year
for which use is designated.


Sec. 212.57 Monitoring of effects of motor vehicle use on designated
roads and trails and in designated areas.

For each administrative unit of the National Forest System, the
Forest Supervisor or other responsible official shall monitor the
effects of motor vehicle use on designated roads and trails and in
designated areas under the jurisdiction of that Forest Supervisor or
other responsible official.
10. Add a new subpart C to read as follows:

Subpart C--Snowmobile Use

212.80 Purpose and scope; definitions.
212.81 Snowmobile use.

Authority: 7 U.S.C. 1011(f); 16 U.S.C. 551; E.O. 11644, 37 FR
2877, 3 CFR, 1971-1975 Comp., p. 666, 11989, 42 FR 26959, 3 CFR,
1977 Comp., p. 120.


Sec. 212.80 Purpose and scope; definitions.

(a) The purpose of this subpart is to provide for regulation of
snowmobile use on National Forest System roads and National Forest
System trails and in areas on National Forest System lands.
(b) For definitions of terms used in this subpart, refer to Sec.
212.1 in subpart A of this part.


Sec. 212.81 Snowmobile use.

(a) General. Snowmobile use on National Forest System roads and
National Forest System trails and in areas on National Forest System
lands may be allowed, restricted, or prohibited.
(b) Exemptions from restrictions and prohibitions. The following
uses are exempted from restrictions and prohibitions on snowmobile use:
(1) Limited administrative use by the Forest Service;
(2) Use of any fire, military, emergency, or law enforcement
vehicle for emergency purposes;
(3) Authorized use of any combat or combat support vehicle for
national defense purposes;
(4) Law enforcement response to violations of law, including
pursuit; and
(5) Use and occupancy of National Forest System lands and resources
pursuant to a written authorization issued under Federal law or
regulations.
(c) Establishment of restrictions and prohibitions. The
requirements governing designation of National Forest System roads,
National Forest System trails, and areas on National Forest System
lands in Sec. Sec. 212.52 through 212.57 shall apply to establishment
of any restrictions or prohibitions on snowmobile use.

PART 251--LAND USES

Subpart B--Special Uses

11. Revise the authority citation for part 251, subpart B, to read
as follows:

Authority: 7 U.S.C. 1011(f); 16 U.S.C. 460l-6a, 460l-6d, 472,
497b, 497c, 551, 580d, 1134, 3210; 30 U.S.C. 185; 43 U.S.C. 1740,
1761-1771.

12. Add a definition to Sec. 251.51 for road or trail under Forest
Service jurisdiction, in alphabetical order, to read as follows:


Sec. 251.51 Definitions.

* * * * *
Road or trail under Forest Service jurisdiction. For the purposes
only of the definitions of National Forest System road and National
Forest System trail, a road or trail located on National Forest System
lands, other than a road or trail:
(1) Which has been authorized by a legally documented right-of-way
held by a State, County, or local public road authority; or
(2) Which an authorized officer has ascertained, for administrative
purposes and based on available evidence, is within a public right-of-
way for a highway, such as a right-of-way for a highway pursuant to
R.S. 2477 (43 U.S.C. 932, repealed Oct. 21, 1976).
* * * * *

PART 261--PROHIBITIONS

13. The authority citation for part 261 continues to read as
follows:

Authority: 7 U.S.C. 1011(f); 16 U.S.C. 460l-6d, 472, 551,
620(f), 1133(c)-(d)(1), 1246(i).

14. Revise the definition for motor vehicle in Sec. 261.2 and add
a definition for road or trail under Forest Service jurisdiction, in
alphabetical order, to read as follows:


Sec. 261.2 Definitions.

* * * * *
Motor vehicle means any vehicle which is self-propelled, other
than:
(1) A vehicle operated on rails; and
(2) Any wheelchair or mobility device, including one that is
battery-powered, that is designed solely for use by a mobility-impaired
person for locomotion and that is suitable for use in an indoor
pedestrian area.
* * * * *
Road or trail under Forest Service jurisdiction. For purposes only
of the definitions of National Forest System road and National Forest
System trail, a road or trail located on National Forest System lands,
other than a road or trail:
(1) Which has been authorized by a legally documented right-of-way
held by a State, County, or local public road authority; or
(2) Which an authorized officer has ascertained, for administrative
purposes and based on available evidence, is within a public right-of-
way for a highway, such as a right-of-way for a highway pursuant to
R.S. 2477 (43 U.S.C. 932, repealed Oct. 21, 1976).
* * * * *


Sec. Sec. 261.13 through 261.21 [Redesignated as Sec. Sec. 261.15
through 261.23]

15. Redesignate Sec. Sec. 261.13 through 261.21 as Sec. Sec.
261.15 through 261.23 and add new Sec. Sec. 261.13 and 261.14 to read
as follows:


Sec. 261.13 Motor vehicle use.

After National Forest System roads, National Forest System trails,
and areas on National Forest System lands have been designated pursuant
to 36 CFR 212.51 on an administrative unit or a ranger district of the
National Forest System, it is prohibited to possess or operate a motor
vehicle on National Forest System lands in that administrative unit or
ranger district other than in accordance with those designations,
provided that the following vehicles and uses are exempted from this
prohibition:
(a) Aircraft;
(b) Watercraft;
(c) Snowmobiles;
(d) Limited administrative use by the Forest Service;
(e) Use of any fire, military, emergency, or law enforcement
vehicle for emergency purposes;
(f) Authorized use of any combat or combat support vehicle for
national defense purposes;

[[Page 42395]]

(g) Law enforcement response to violations of law, including
pursuit;
(h) Use and occupancy of National Forest System lands and resources
pursuant to a written authorization issued under Federal law or
regulations; and
(i) Use of a road or trail that is not under Forest Service
jurisdiction.


Sec. 261.14 Snowmobile use.

It is prohibited to possess or operate a snowmobile on National
Forest System lands in violation of a restriction or prohibition
established pursuant to 36 CFR part 212, subpart C, provided that the
following uses are exempted from this section:
(a) Limited administrative use by the Forest Service;
(b) Use of any fire, military, emergency, or law enforcement
vehicle for emergency purposes;
(c) Authorized use of any combat or combat support vehicle for
national defense purposes;
(d) Law enforcement response to violations of law, including
pursuit;
(e) Use and occupancy of National Forest System lands and resources
pursuant to a written authorization issued under Federal law or
regulations; and
(f) Use of a road or trail that is not under Forest Service
jurisdiction.

PART 295--[REMOVED]

16. Remove part 295.

Dated: July 7, 2004.
Dale N. Bosworth,
Chief.
[FR Doc. 04-15775 Filed 7-14-04; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-11-P
SubjectAuthorViewsPosted

FOREST SERVICE RELEASES DRAFT POLICY ON OFF-HIGHWAY VEHICLE USE

Rick 785July 24, 2004 02:49PM

Re: FOREST SERVICE RELEASES DRAFT POLICY ON OFF-HIGHWAY VEHICLE USE

Rick 414July 24, 2004 02:54PM

USFS and BLM...shall coordinate?

katrina island 709July 24, 2004 11:01PM



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