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Special Regulations; Areas of the National Park System, Lake Meredith National Recreation Area, Off-Road Motor Vehicles

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Special Regulations; Areas of the National Park System, Lake Meredith National Recreation Area, Off-Road Motor Vehicles

Michael Bean
Department of the Interior
March 5, 2015


[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 43 (Thursday, March 5, 2015)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 11968-11974]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-05034]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

National Park Service

36 CFR Part 7

[NPS-LAMR-17097; PPWONRADE2, PMP00EI05.YP0000]
RIN 1024-AD86


Special Regulations; Areas of the National Park System, Lake 
Meredith National Recreation Area, Off-Road Motor Vehicles

AGENCY: National Park Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: The National Park Service proposes to amend its special 
regulations for Lake Meredith National Recreation Area to require 
permits to operate motor vehicles off roads, designate areas and routes 
where motor vehicles may be used off roads, create management zones 
that would further manage this activity, and establish camping, 
operational, and vehicle requirements. These changes would allow off-
road vehicle use for recreation while reducing associated impacts to 
resources. Unless authorized by special regulation, operating a motor 
vehicle off roads within areas of the National Park System is 
prohibited.

DATES: Comments must be received by May 4, 2015.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by the Regulation 
Identifier Number (RIN) 1024-AD86, by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     Mail: Superintendent, Lake Meredith National Recreation 
Area, P.O. Box 1460, Fritch, TX 79036.
     Hand Deliver to: Superintendent, Lake Meredith National 
Recreation Area, 419 E. Broadway, Fritch, TX 79036.
    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name 
and RIN for this rulemaking. Comments received will be posted without 
change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal 
information provided. For additional information, see the ``Public 
Participation'' heading of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of 
this document.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or 
comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Robert Maguire, Superintendent, Lake 
Meredith National Recreation Area, Alibates Flint Quarries National 
Monument, P.O. Box 1460, Fritch, Texas 79036-1460, by phone at 806-857-
3151, or by email at Robert_Maguire@nps.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Purpose and Significance of Lake Meredith National Recreation Area

    Congress established Lake Meredith National Recreation Area (LAMR 
or recreation area) in 1990 ``to provide for public outdoor recreation 
use and enjoyment of the lands and waters associated with Lake Meredith 
in the State of Texas, and to protect the scenic, scientific, cultural, 
and other values contributing to the public enjoyment of such lands and 
waters. . . .'' 16 U.S.C 460eee.
    Situated approximately 35 miles north of Amarillo, Texas within 
Potter, Moore, Hutchinson, and Carson counties, LAMR is approximately 
45,000 acres in size and is the largest public landmass in the Texas 
Panhandle. LAMR includes a variety of habitats that are uncommon in the 
region, including aquatic, wetland, and riparian areas, and one of the 
few areas in the region with trees. The natural and geologic resources 
of the area have enabled a continuum of human presence in the area for 
more than 13,000 years. The exposed geologic features on the walls of 
the Canadian River valley (i.e., the ``breaks'') reveal active geologic 
processes that are easily visible to an extent not present elsewhere in 
the region. The recreation area is also home to the Arkansas River 
shiner (Notropis girardi), a fish species that is federally listed as 
threatened.

Authority To Promulgate Regulations

    The National Park Service (NPS) manages LAMR under statute

[[Page 11969]]

commonly known as the NPS Organic Act of 1916 (Organic Act) (54 U.S.C. 
100101 et seq.), which gives the NPS broad authority to regulate the 
use of the park areas under its jurisdiction. The Organic Act 
authorizes the Secretary of the Interior, acting through NPS, to 
``prescribe such regulations as the Secretary considers necessary or 
proper for the use and management of [National Park] System units.'' 54 
U.S.C. 100751(a).
    Executive Order 11644, Use of Off-Road Vehicles on the Public 
Lands, issued in 1972 and amended by Executive Order 11989 in 1977, 
required federal agencies to issue regulations designating specific 
areas and routes on public lands where the use of off-road vehicles may 
be used. NPS implemented these Executive Orders in 36 CFR 4.10.
    Under 36 CFR 4.10, the use of motor vehicles off established roads 
is not permitted unless routes and areas are designated for off-road 
motor vehicle use by special regulation. Under 36 CFR 4.10(b), such 
routes and areas ``may be designated only in national recreation areas, 
national seashores, national lakeshores and national preserves.'' The 
proposed rule would designate routes and areas where motor vehicles may 
be used off roads in compliance with 36 CFR 4.10 and Executive Orders 
11644 and 11989. The proposed rule would replace regulations 
promulgated in 1975 that designate areas for off-road vehicle (ORV) 
use.

Off-Road Motor Vehicle Use at LAMR

Designated ORV Use Areas

    LAMR provides a variety of visitor experiences, including the use 
of ORVs. In 1975, the NPS promulgated a special regulation (40 FR 762, 
January 3, 1975) at 36 CFR 7.57(a) designating two ORV use areas at 
LAMR: (i) Blue Creek, with 275 acres for ORV use in the creek bottom 
between the cutbanks; and (ii) Rosita, with approximately 1,740 acres 
for ORV use below the 3,000-foot elevation line. These two areas remain 
the only areas designated for ORV use in the recreational area.
    The Blue Creek ORV area is in the Blue Creek riparian area at the 
northern end of the recreational area that empties into Lake Meredith. 
ORV use at Blue Creek is allowed only in the creek bottom along both 
sides from cutbank to cutbank. Cutbanks, also known as river-cut 
cliffs, are the outside banks of a water channel and are located at the 
base of the hills at the edges of the creek bed.
    The Rosita ORV area is a riparian area of the Canadian River at the 
southern end of the recreation area. ORV use at Rosita is in the 
Canadian River bed as well as the surrounding hills, in some cases out 
to a mile or more. Although the authorized area is below the 3,000-foot 
elevation line, and ORV use outside the authorized area is prohibited, 
it is difficult for ORV users to determine the exact location of the 
3,000-foot elevation line.

Changes in ORV Use at LAMR

    ORV use at Blue Creek and Rosita has changed considerably since the 
areas were designated by special regulation in 1975, both in intensity 
and the types of vehicles used. ORV use has taken place at Blue Creek 
and Rosita since at least the 1950s. Throughout the 1960s, ORVs 
primarily consisted of a small number of ``river buggies'' crafted from 
old automobiles to operate in the Canadian River bottom. A few people 
used dirt bikes, motorcycles, or surplus military vehicles to access 
the area. Standard four-wheel-drive vehicles were rarely seen.
    Today, visitors use a variety of vehicle types, including all-
terrain vehicles (ATVs), utility task vehicles (UTVs), dune buggies, 
rock crawlers, and standard four-wheel-drive vehicles. Regardless of 
the vehicle type, the majority of ORV use at LAMR has been and 
continues to be for recreation, rather than transportation. ORV users 
are both local and from other urban areas, especially at Rosita. ORV 
use is often, but not always, family focused. In February, an annual 
three-day event called Sand Drags is held just outside the recreation 
area north of Rosita. This locally sponsored racing event draws 
approximately 30,000 visitors to the area, including hundreds of 
motorcycles, four wheelers, sand rails, and river buggies. This event 
results in the highest annual visitation to the recreation area with a 
notable increase in recreational ORV use.
    Changes in the intensity and type of ORV use at LAMR have impacted 
natural and cultural resources and raised concerns about visitor 
experience, health, and safety. Impacted resources include soils, 
vegetation, water, soundscapes, wildlife and wildlife habitat, 
threatened species, and archeological sites. These impacts are 
described in the January 2015 Final Off-Road Vehicle Management Plan/
Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) that is discussed below.

Off-Road Vehicle Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement

    The proposed rule would implement the preferred alternative 
(Alternative D) for the recreation area described in the FEIS. The 
FEIS, which describes the purpose and need for taking action, the 
alternatives considered, the scoping process and public participation, 
the affected environment and environmental consequences, and 
consultation and coordination, may be viewed on the recreation area's 
planning Web site at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/lamr, by clicking the 
link entitled ``ORV Management Plan and Regulation'' and then clicking 
``Document List.''

Proposed Rule

Fee Permit System

    The proposed rule would require a special use permit to operate a 
motor vehicle off roads in the recreational area. With each permit the 
NPS would issue a decal that would be required to be affixed to each 
vehicle in a manner and location determined by the superintendent. 
Decals would be required for each ORV operating in the recreation area 
or transported into the recreation area on a trailer. Families could 
submit a single application for special use permits for multiple 
vehicles that are registered to members of that family. Annual permits 
would be valid for the calendar year the permit is issued; three-day 
and one-day permits would also be available and valid from the date 
designated on the permit. There would be no limit to the number of 
annual or other permits issued.
    Permits would be issued after the applicant reads educational 
materials and acknowledges in writing that he or she has read, 
understood, and agrees to abide by the rules governing ORV use in the 
recreation area. Permit applications would be available at headquarters 
(419 E. Broadway, Fitch, TX 79036) and on the recreation area's Web 
site. Completed permit applications could be submitted in person or 
mailed to the recreation area at Lake Meredith National Recreation 
Area, P.O. Box 1460, Fritch, TX 79036 or brought to headquarters. The 
NPS would process completed permit applications and provide a permit, 
or mail a permit, with instructions and educational materials to the 
applicant. After the applicant receives the permit, he or she would 
sign the permit and submit it to the park or mail it back to the park 
at the P.O. Box address. After the NPS receives the signed permit, it 
would provide or send a copy of the signed permit and a decal to the 
permit-holder to be affixed to the ORV. Violating the terms or 
conditions of any permit or failing to properly display the decal would 
be prohibited and may result in the suspension or revocation of the 
permit.

[[Page 11970]]

    The NPS intends to recover the costs of administering the special 
use permit program under 54 U.S.C. 103104. In order to obtain a special 
use permit to operate a motor vehicle off roads in the recreational 
area, the proposed rule would require operators to pay a permit fee to 
allow the NPS to recover these costs.

Designated Routes and Areas

    The proposed rule would prohibit ORV use in the recreational area 
except for designated areas, routes, and access points. These locations 
would be identified on maps located at headquarters (419 E. Broadway, 
Fitch, TX 79036) and on the recreation area's Web site.
    At Blue Creek, the proposed rule would designate the following 
areas, routes, and access points for ORV use:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Designated locations for ORV use        Part of a management zone?
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Blue Creek:
    Approximately 133.5 acres on the river   Low Speed Zone (partial
     bottom.                                  overlap).
    Approximately one linear mile of routes  No.
     and access points to the river bottom
     that would be marked by carsonite
     posts or other visible markers.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    At Rosita, the proposed rule would designate the following areas, 
routes, and access points for ORV use:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Designated locations for ORV use        Part of a management zone?
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rosita:
    Approximately 170.2 acres south of the   No.
     Canadian River (currently denuded of
     vegetation) at the western border of
     LAMR where HWY 287 nears the
     recreation area.
    Approximately 65.2 acres south of the    Hunting Zone (complete
     Canadian River and on the east side of   overlap).
     Bull Taco Hill.
    Approximately 119.3 acres on the river   Resource Protection Zone
     bottom.                                  (partial overlap).
    Approximately 15.1 linear miles of       Resource Protection Zone
     routes and access points to the river    (partial overlap).
     bottom.                                 Hunting Zone (complete
                                              overlap).
    Approximately 9.3 acres south of the     Beginner Zone (complete
     Canadian River near HWY 287 that would   overlap).
     be marked by cables.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Management Zones

    As indicated in the tables above, the proposed rule would also 
establish management zones at Blue Creek and Rosita. In some locations, 
the areas, routes, and access points designated for ORV use would enter 
into one or more of these management zones. When this occurs, special 
restrictions would apply to ORV use. These zones would be designed to 
separate types of ORV use in the recreation area to avoid visitor 
conflict, protect the health and safety of visitors, and minimize 
impacts to natural and cultural resources. Zones would be identified on 
maps located at headquarters (419 E. Broadway, Fitch, TX 79036) and on 
the recreation area's Web site. The special restrictions for each 
management zone are described in the table below:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
       Management zone        Special restrictions    ORV use location
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Beginner Zone...............  Speed limit: 20mph    Rosita.
                               (unless otherwise
                               posted).
                              Marked for beginner
                               ORV operators only..
Camping Zone................  Speed limit: 15mph    Blue Creek.
                               (unless otherwise
                               posted).
                              ORVs may only be      Rosita.
                               used to access the
                               campground;
                               recreational use
                               prohibited.
                              ORVs may not be used
                               from 10pm-6am
                               (unless otherwise
                               posted), except
                               that state-
                               registered vehicles
                               may be used during
                               this time..
Hunting Zone................  Recreational ORV use  Rosita.
                               prohibited during
                               Texas rifle hunting
                               season; ORVs may be
                               used for hunting
                               during this season.
Low-Speed Zone..............  Speed limit: 15 mph   Blue Creek.
                               (unless otherwise
                               posted).
Resource Protection Zone....  ORVs with a wheel     Rosita.
                               width greater than
                               65 inches are
                               prohibited.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Camping

    The proposed rule would establish rules related to camping in the 
recreation area. Tent camping (without motor vehicles) would be allowed 
anywhere in the recreation area except for designated ORV areas, 
routes, and access points and within 100 feet of these locations. At 
Blue Creek and Rosita, camping in a motor vehicle, including tent 
trailers, RVs, and vans, would be limited to marked camping zones.

Operational and Vehicle Requirements

    ORV use would be prohibited on vegetation anywhere in the 
recreation area. Driving through isolated pools of water would be 
prohibited at Rosita regardless of time or season for the protection of 
the Arkansas River shiner. Isolated pools of water means water that is 
not connected to or touching flowing water. ORVs would be allowed to 
cross flowing river water via designated access points. The decibel 
limit for all ORVs in the recreation area would be 96 dba. NPS 
personnel would enforce this rule by stopping and testing the decibel 
level of any ORV suspected of exceeding the noise limit. Noise level 
would be measured using the SAE J1287 standard. The rule would require 
ATVs to have a whip--a pole, rod, or antenna--securely mounted to the 
vehicle that extends at

[[Page 11971]]

least eight feet from the surface of the ground with an orange colored 
safety flag at the top. The rule would require that ORVs have a 
functioning muffler system and functioning headlights and taillights if 
the ORV is operating at night. Operators would be required to use 
headlights and taillights starting one half hour before sunset and 
ending on half hour after sunrise. Glass containers (e.g., cups and 
bottles) would be prohibited in designated areas, routes, and access 
points, and in camping zones at Blue Creek and Rosita. Except for 
management zones with a slower speed limit, the speed limit would be 35 
mph (unless otherwise posted) on ORV routes and 55 mph (unless 
otherwise posted) on the river bottom at Blue Creek and Rosita. Speed 
limits would be implemented for visitor safety and to reduce driving 
that may damage resources.
    The provisions of 36 CFR part 4 (Vehicles and Traffic Safety), 
including state laws adopted by 36 CFR 4.2, would continue to apply 
within the recreation area. Currently, Texas law includes, but is not 
limited to, the following rules about ORVs:
     ORVs must have an off-highway vehicle (OHV) use decal 
issued by the State of Texas.
     ATV operators must wear eye protection and helmets 
approved by the Texas Department of Transportation.
     ATV operators must possess valid safety certificates 
issued by the State of Texas under Section 663.031 of the Texas 
Transportation Code.
     ATV operators under the age of 14 must be accompanied by a 
parent or guardian.
     ATV operators may not carry passengers unless the vehicle 
is designed by the manufacturer for carrying passengers.

Superintendent's Discretionary Authority

    The proposed rule would allow the superintendent to open or close 
designated areas, routes, or access points to motor vehicle use, or 
portions thereof, or impose conditions or restrictions for off-road 
motor vehicle use after taking into consideration public health and 
safety, natural and cultural resource protection, and other management 
activities and objectives. The superintendent would provide public 
notice of all such actions through one or more of the methods listed in 
36 CFR 1.7.

Compliance With Other Laws, Executive Orders, and Department Policy--
Use of Off-Road Vehicles on the Public Lands (Executive Orders 11644 
and 11989)

    Executive Order 11644, as amended by Executive Order 11989, was 
adopted to address impacts on public lands from ORV use. The Executive 
Order applies to ORV use on federal public lands that is not authorized 
under a valid lease, permit, contract, or license. Section 3(a)(4) of 
Executive Order 11644 provides that ORV ``[a]reas and trails shall be 
located in areas of the National Park System, Natural Areas, or 
National Wildlife Refuges and Game Ranges only if the respective agency 
head determines that off-road vehicle use in such locations will not 
adversely affect their natural, aesthetic, or scenic values.'' Since 
the Executive Order clearly was not intended to prohibit all ORV use 
everywhere in these units, the term ``adversely affect'' does not have 
the same meaning as the somewhat similar terms ``adverse impact'' and 
``adverse effect'' used in the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969 (NEPA). In analyses under NEPA, a procedural statute that provides 
for the study of environmental impacts, the term ``adverse effect'' 
includes minor or negligible effects.
    Section 3(a)(4) of the Executive Order, by contrast, concerns 
substantive management decisions and must be read in the context of the 
authorities applicable to such decisions. LAMR is an area of the 
National Park System. Therefore, NPS interprets the Executive Order 
term ``adversely affect'' consistent with its NPS Management Policies 
2006. Those policies require that the NPS only allow ``appropriate 
use'' of parks and avoid ``unacceptable impacts.''
    This rule is consistent with those requirements. It will not impede 
attainment of the recreation area's desired future conditions for 
natural and cultural resources as identified in the FEIS. NPS has 
determined that this rule will not unreasonably interfere with the 
atmosphere of peace and tranquility or the natural soundscape 
maintained in natural locations within the recreation area. Therefore, 
within the context of the resources and values of the recreation area, 
motor vehicle use on the routes and areas designated by this rule would 
not cause an unacceptable impact to the natural, aesthetic, or scenic 
values of the recreation area.
    Section 8(a) of the Executive Order requires agency heads to 
monitor the effects of ORV use on lands under their jurisdictions. On 
the basis of information gathered, agency heads may from time to time 
amend or rescind designations of areas or other actions as necessary to 
further the policy of the Executive Order. The preferred alternative in 
the EIS includes monitoring and resource protection procedures and 
periodic review to provide for the ongoing evaluation of impacts of 
motor vehicle use on protected resources. The superintendent has 
authority to take appropriate action as needed to protect the resources 
of the recreation area.

Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Orders 12866 and 13563)

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

Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA)

    This rule will not have a significant economic effect on a 
substantial number of small entities under the RFA (5 U.S.C. 601 et 
seq.). This certification is based on the cost-benefit and regulatory 
flexibility analyses found in the report entitled ``Benefit-Cost 
Analysis of ORV Use Regulations in Lake Meredith National Recreation 
Area'' that can be viewed online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/lamr, 
by clicking the link entitled ``ORV Management Plan and Regulation'' 
and then clicking ``Document List.'' According to that report, no small 
entities would be directly regulated by the proposed rule, which would 
only regulate visitor use of ORVs.

[[Page 11972]]

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA)

    This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the SBREFA. 
This rule:
    (a) Does not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million 
or more.
    (b) Will not cause a major increase in costs or prices for 
consumers, individual industries, federal, state, or local government 
agencies, or geographic regions.
    (c) Does not have significant adverse effects on competition, 
employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of 
U.S. based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA)

    This rule does not impose an unfunded mandate on State, local, or 
tribal governments or the private sector of more than $100 million per 
year. The rule does not have a significant or unique effect on state, 
local or tribal governments or the private sector. The designated ORV 
routes and areas are located entirely within the recreation area, and 
would not result in direct expenditure by state, local, or tribal 
governments. This rule addresses public use of NPS lands, and imposes 
no requirements on other agencies or governments. A statement 
containing the information required by the UMRA (2 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) 
is not required.

Takings (Executive Order 12630)

    This rule does not affect a taking of private property or otherwise 
have taking implications under Executive Order 12630. Access to private 
property adjacent to the recreation area will not be affected by this 
rule. A takings implication assessment is not required.

Federalism (Executive Order 13132)

    Under the criteria in section 1 of Executive Order 13132, this rule 
does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the 
preparation of a Federalism summary impact statement. The proposed rule 
is limited in effect to federal lands managed by the NPS and would not 
have a substantial direct effect on state and local government. A 
Federalism summary impact statement is not required.

Civil Justice Reform (Executive Order 12988)

    This rule complies with the requirements of Executive Order 12988. 
Specifically, this rule:
    (a) Meets the criteria of section 3(a) requiring that all 
regulations be reviewed to eliminate errors and ambiguity and be 
written to minimize litigation; and
    (b) Meets the criteria of section 3(b)(2) requiring that all 
regulations be written in clear language and contain clear legal 
standards.

Consultation With Indian Tribes (Executive Order 13175 and Department 
Policy)

    The Department of the Interior strives to strengthen its 
government-to-government relationship with Indian Tribes through a 
commitment to consultation with Indian Tribes and recognition of their 
right to self-governance and tribal sovereignty. We have evaluated this 
rule under the Department's consultation policy and under the criteria 
in Executive Order 13175 and have determined that it has no substantial 
direct effects on federally recognized Indian tribes and that 
consultation under the Department's tribal consultation policy is not 
required.
    During scoping for the EIS, recreational area staff sent letters to 
the Apache Tribe of Oklahoma, Caddo Nation of Oklahoma, Comanche 
Nation, Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribe of Oklahoma, Delaware Nation of 
Oklahoma, Fort Sill Apache Tribe of Oklahoma, Jicarilla Apache Nation, 
Kiowa Indian Tribe of Oklahoma, Mescalero Apache Tribe, Wichita & 
Affiliated Tribes requesting information on any historic properties of 
religious or cultural significance to the Tribes that would be affected 
by the FEIS. The same tribes were contacted when the recreation area 
released the Off-Road Vehicle Management Plan/Draft Environmental 
Impact Statement in January 2013. These tribes have not informed NPS 
staff of any concerns over historic properties of religious or cultural 
significance.

Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.)

    This rule does not contain any new collections of information that 
require approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the 
Paperwork Reduction Act. OMB has approved the information collection 
requirements associated with NPS Special Park Use Permits and has 
assigned OMB Control Number 1024-0026 (expires 08/31/16). An agency may 
not conduct or sponsor and a person is not required to respond to a 
collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB 
control number.

National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA)

    This rule constitutes a major Federal action significantly 
affecting the quality of the human environment. We have prepared the 
FEIS under the NEPA. The FEIS is summarized above and available online 
at http://www.parkplanning.nps.gov/lamr, by clicking on the link 
entitled ``ORV Management Plan and Regulation'' and then clicking 
``Document List.''

Effects on the Energy Supply (Executive Order 13211)

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

Clarity of This Rule

    We are required by Executive Orders 12866 (section 1(b)(12)), 12988 
(section 3(b)(1)(B)), and 13563 (section 1(a)), and by the Presidential 
Memorandum of June 1, 1998, to write all rules in plain language. This 
means that each rule we publish must:
    (a) Be logically organized;
    (b) Use the active voice to address readers directly;
    (c) Use common, everyday words and clear language rather than 
jargon;
    (d) Be divided into short sections and sentences; and
    (e) Use lists and tables wherever possible.
    If you feel that we have not met these requirements, send us 
comments by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section above. 
To better help us revise the rule, your comments should be as specific 
as possible. For example, you should tell us the numbers of the 
sections or paragraphs that you find unclear, which sections or 
sentences are too long, the sections where you feel lists or tables 
would be useful, etc.

Drafting Information

    The primary authors of this regulation are Lindsay Gillham, 
Environmental Quality Division, National Park Service, and Jay P. 
Calhoun, Regulations Program Specialist, National Park Service.

Public Participation

    It is the policy of the Department of the Interior, whenever 
practicable, to afford the public an opportunity to participate in the 
rulemaking process. Accordingly, interested persons may submit written 
comments regarding this proposed rule by one of the methods listed in 
the ADDRESSES section above.

Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time.

[[Page 11973]]

While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal 
identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we 
will be able to do so.

List of Subjects in 36 CFR Part 7

    National parks, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    In consideration of the foregoing, the National Park Service 
proposes to amend 36 CFR part 7 as follows:

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

0
1. The authority citation for part 7 is revised to read as follows:

    Authority: 54 U.S.C. 100101, 100751, 320102; Sec. 7.96 also 
issued under 36 U.S.C. 501-511, D.C. Code 10-137 (2001) and D.C. 
Code 50-2201 (2001).

0
2. In Sec.  7.57, revise paragraph (a) to read as follows:


Sec.  7.57  Lake Meredith Recreation Area.

    (a) Off-road motor vehicle use. Operating a motor vehicle is 
allowed within the boundaries of Lake Meredith National Recreation Area 
off roads under the conditions in this paragraph (a).
    (1) Permit requirement. (i) A special use permit issued and 
administered by the superintendent is required to operate a motor 
vehicle off roads at designated locations at the recreation area. There 
is no limit to the number of permits that the Superintendent may issue.
    (ii) The NPS charges a fee to recover the costs of administering 
the special use permits. Permit applicants must pay the fee charged by 
the NPS in order to obtain a special use permit.
    (iii) Annual permits are valid for the calendar year for which they 
are issued. Three-day permits are valid on the day designated on the 
permit and the following two days. One-day permits are valid on the day 
designated on the permit.
    (iv) A permit applicant must acknowledge in writing that he or she 
understands the rules governing off-road vehicle use at the recreation 
area.
    (v) Each motor vehicle permitted to operate off roads must display 
an NPS decal issued by the superintendent and an off-highway vehicle 
(OHV) use decal issued by the State of Texas. The NPS decal must be 
affixed to the vehicle in a manner and location specified by the 
superintendent.
    (vi) Permits may be requested at the recreation area headquarters 
in Fritch, Texas and on the recreation area Web site.
    (2) Designated locations. The operation of a motor vehicle off 
roads within the recreation area is prohibited except at the locations 
designated by this paragraph (a). Designated locations are identified 
on maps available at the recreation area headquarters and on the 
recreation area Web site.
    (i) Permitted motor vehicles may be used off roads at the following 
locations at Blue Creek, an area at the northern end of the 
recreational area that empties into Lake Meredith:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
  Designated locations for off-road motor
                vehicle use                   Part of a management zone?
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Blue Creek:
    Approximately 133.5 acres on the river   Low Speed Zone (partial
     bottom.                                  overlap).
    Approximately one linear mile of routes  No.
     and access points to the river bottom
     that are marked by carsonite posts or
     other visible markers.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (ii) Permitted motor vehicles may be used off roads at the 
following locations at Rosita, an area of the Canadian River at the 
southern end of the recreation area:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
  Designated locations for off-road motor
                vehicle use                   Part of a management zone?
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rosita:
    Approximately 170.2 acres south of the   No.
     Canadian River (currently denuded of
     vegetation) at the western border of
     LAMR where HWY 287 nears the
     recreation area.
    Approximately 65.2 acres south of the    Hunting Zone (complete
     Canadian River and on the east side of   overlap).
     Bull Taco Hill.
    Approximately 119.3 acres on the river   Resource Protection Zone
     bottom.                                  (partial overlap).
    Approximately 15.1 linear miles of       Resource Protection Zone
     routes and access points to the river    (partial overlap).
     bottom.                                 Hunting Zone (complete
                                              overlap).
    Approximately 9.3 acres south of the     Beginner Zone (complete
     Canadian River near HWY 287 that are     overlap).
     marked by cables.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (3) Management zones. Some of the designated locations for off-road 
motor vehicle use enter into or abut one or more management zones that 
further manage this activity. These zones are identified on maps 
available at headquarters and on the recreation area Web site. Each 
zone has special restrictions governing off-road motor vehicle use as 
set forth in the following table:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Zone                Special restrictions       Location
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Beginner Zone.................  Speed limit: 20mph      Rosita.
                                 (unless otherwise
                                 posted).
                                Marked for beginner
                                 operators of off-road
                                 vehicles only..
Camping Zone..................  Speed limit: 15mph      Rosita, Blue
                                 (unless otherwise       Creek.
                                 posted).
                                Off-road vehicles may
                                 only be used to
                                 access the
                                 campground;
                                 recreational use
                                 prohibited..
                                Off-road vehicles that
                                 are not registered in
                                 a state may not be
                                 used from 10pm-6am
                                 (unless otherwise
                                 posted)..
Hunting Zone..................  Recreational off-road   Rosita.
                                 vehicle use is
                                 prohibited during
                                 Texas rifle hunting
                                 season; off-road
                                 vehicles may be used
                                 for hunting during
                                 this season.

[[Page 11974]]

 
Low-Speed Zone................  Speed limit: 15 mph     Blue Creek.
                                 (unless otherwise
                                 posted).
                                Located approximately
                                 \1/2\ mile on either
                                 side of the FM 1913
                                 bridge..
Resource Protection Zone......  Off-road vehicles with  Rosita.
                                 a wheel width greater
                                 than 65 inches are
                                 prohibited.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (4) Camping. The following restrictions apply to camping at Blue 
Creek and Rosita:
    (i) At Blue Creek and Rosita, camping in a motor vehicle, including 
tent trailers, RVs, and vans, is prohibited outside of marked camping 
zones.
    (ii) Tent camping (without motor vehicles) is allowed anywhere in 
the recreation area except for designated ORV areas, routes, and access 
points and within 100 feet of these locations.
    (5) Operational and vehicle requirements. The following 
requirements apply to the use of motor vehicles off roads in the 
recreation area:
    (i) At Rosita, operating a motor vehicle in an isolated pool of 
water that is not connected to or touching flowing water is prohibited.
    (ii) Operating a motor vehicle on vegetation is prohibited.
    (iii) Glass containers are prohibited in designated areas, routes, 
and access points, and in camping zones.
    (iv) Operating a motor vehicle in excess of 35 mph (unless 
otherwise posted) on designated routes and access points at Blue Creek 
and Rosita is prohibited.
    (v) Operating a motor vehicle in excess of the speed limits 
identified in paragraph (a)(3) (unless otherwise posted) in specific 
management zones is prohibited.
    (vi) Operating a motor vehicle in excess of 55 mph (unless 
otherwise posted) in the designated areas that are not part of a Low-
Speed Zone on the river bottoms at Blue Creek and Rosita is prohibited.
    (vii) All ATVs (as defined under Texas Transportation Code 502.001) 
must be equipped with a whip--a pole, rod, or antenna--that is securely 
mounted on the vehicle and stands upright at least eight feet from the 
surface of the ground when the vehicle is stopped. This whip must have 
a solid red or orange safety flag with a minimum size of six inches by 
twelve inches that is attached no more than ten inches from the top of 
the whip. Flags must have a pennant, triangle, square, or rectangular 
shape.
    (viii) A motor vehicle must display lighted headlights and 
taillights during the period from one-half hour before sunset to one 
half hour after sunrise.
    (ix) Motor vehicles must have a functioning muffler system. Motor 
vehicles that emit more than 96 decibels of sound (using the SAE J1287 
test standard) are prohibited.
    (x) Operating a motor vehicle with a wheel width greater than 65 
inches in a Resource Protection Zone is prohibited.
    (6) Prohibited acts. Violating any provision of this paragraph (a), 
including the special restrictions for each management zone, or the 
terms, conditions, or requirements of an off-road vehicle permit is 
prohibited. A violation may also result in the suspension or revocation 
of the applicable permit by the superintendent.
    (7) Superintendent's authority. The superintendent may open or 
close designated areas, routes, or access points to motor vehicle use, 
or portions thereof, or impose conditions or restrictions for off-road 
motor vehicle use after taking into consideration public health and 
safety, natural and cultural resource protection, and other management 
activities and objectives. The superintendent will provide public 
notice of all such actions through one or more of the methods listed in 
Sec.  1.7 of this chapter. Violating any such closure, condition, or 
restriction is prohibited.

    Dated: February 19, 2015.
Michael Bean,
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 2015-05034 Filed 3-4-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4310-EJ-P

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