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Cape Lookout National Seashore, Off-Road Vehicle Management

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Cape Lookout National Seashore, Off-Road Vehicle Management

Karen Hyun
Department of the Interior
December 18, 2015


[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 243 (Friday, December 18, 2015)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 79013-79020]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-31793]



[[Page 79013]]

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

National Park Service

36 CFR Part 7

[NPS-CALO-19111; PPWONRADE2, PMP00EI05.YP]
RIN 1024-AE24


Cape Lookout National Seashore, Off-Road Vehicle Management

AGENCY: National Park Service, Interior

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: The National Park Service proposes to designate routes for, 
and manage off-road vehicle use within Cape Lookout National Seashore, 
North Carolina. Under the National Park Service general regulations, 
the operation of motor vehicles off roads is prohibited unless 
authorized by special regulation. The proposed rule would authorize 
off-road vehicle use at the Seashore through a permit system and 
establish operational and vehicle requirements.

DATES: Comments must be received by February 16, 2016.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by the Regulation 
Identifier Number (RIN) 1024-AE24, by any of the following methods:
     Electronically: Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     Hardcopy: Mail or hand-deliver to: Superintendent, Cape 
Lookout National Seashore, 131 Charles St., Harkers Island, North 
Carolina 28531.
    Instructions: All comments received must include the agency name 
and RIN for this rulemaking: 1024-AE24. Comments submitted through 
Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov or submitted by 
mail must be entered or postmarked before midnight (Eastern Daylight 
Time) February 16, 2016 Comments submitted by hand delivery must be 
received by the close of business hours (5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time) 
February 16, 2016.
    If you commented on the Draft ORV Management Plan/Draft 
Environmental Impact Statement, (plan/DEIS) your comments have been 
considered in drafting the proposed rule. Comments should focus on this 
proposed rule; comments that refer back to the draft Plan/DEIS will be 
untimely and will not be considered.
    Comments will not be accepted by fax, email, or in any way other 
than those specified above, and bulk comments in any format (hard copy 
or electronic) submitted on behalf of others will not be accepted. 
Comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Patrick Kenney, Superintendent, Cape 
Lookout National Seashore, 131 Charles St., Harkers Island, North 
Carolina 28531; phone 252-728-2250, extension 3014.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

Description of Cape Lookout National Seashore

    Authorized by Congress in 1966 (Pub. L. 89-366), and established as 
a unit of the National Park System in 1976 (41 FR 39363), Cape Lookout 
National Seashore (Seashore) is located approximately three miles off 
the mainland in the central coastal area of North Carolina. Consisting 
of more than 29,000 acres of land and water from Ocracoke Inlet to 
Beaufort Inlet, the 56 miles of barrier islands consist mostly of wide, 
bare beaches with low dunes covered by scattered grasses, flat 
grasslands bordered by dense vegetation, maritime forests, and large 
expanses of salt marsh alongside the sounds. The Seashore serves as a 
popular recreation destination where visitors participate in a variety 
of recreational activities. The Seashore also contains important 
habitat for wildlife created by the Seashore's dynamic environmental 
processes. Several species listed under the Endangered Species Act, 
including the piping plover, seabeach amaranth, red knot, and four 
species of sea turtles, are found within the Seashore.

Authority and Jurisdiction To Promulgate Regulations

    In the statute commonly known as the NPS Organic Act (54 U.S.C. 
100101), Congress granted the National Park Service (NPS) broad 
authority to regulate the use of areas under its jurisdiction. The 
Organic Act authorizes the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary), 
acting through the 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). In the Seashore's 
enabling act, Congress directed the Secretary to administer the 
Seashore ``for the general purposes of public outdoor recreation, 
including conservation of natural features contributing to public 
enjoyment.'' 16 U.S.C. 459g-4.

Off-Road Motor Vehicle Regulation

    Executive Order 11644, Use of Off-Road Vehicles on the Public 
Lands, was issued in 1972 in response to the widespread and rapidly 
increasing off-road driving on public lands ``often for legitimate 
purposes but also in frequent conflict with wise land and resource 
management practices, environmental values, and other types of 
recreational activity.'' Executive Order 11644 was amended by Executive 
Order 11989 in 1977, and together they are collectively referred to in 
this rule as ``E.O.'' The E.O. requires Federal agencies that allow 
motorized vehicle use in off-road areas to designate specific areas and 
routes on public lands where the use of motorized vehicles may be 
permitted. Specifically, section three of the E.O. requires agencies to 
develop and issue regulations that designate the specific areas and 
trails on public lands where off-road vehicle (ORV) use is permitted, 
and areas where ORV use is prohibited. The regulations must ensure that 
the designation of such areas and trails will be based upon the 
protection of the resources of the public lands, promotion of the 
safety of all users of those lands, and minimization of conflicts among 
the various uses of those lands. The regulations must also 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.
    (2) Areas and trails shall be located to minimize harassment of 
wildlife or significant disruption of wildlife habitats.
    (3) Areas and trails shall be located to minimize conflicts between 
off-road vehicle use and other existing or proposed recreational uses 
of the same or neighboring public lands, and to ensure the 
compatibility of such uses with existing conditions in populated areas, 
taking into account noise and other factors.
    (4) Areas and trails shall not be located in officially designated 
Wilderness Areas or Primitive Areas. Areas 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.
    The NPS regulation at 36 CFR 4.10(b) implements the E.O. and 
requires that routes and areas designated for ORV use be promulgated as 
special regulations and that the designation of routes and

[[Page 79014]]

areas must comply with the E.O. It also states that ORV routes and use-
areas may be designated only in national recreation areas, national 
seashores, national lakeshores, and national preserves. The proposed 
rule is consistent with these authorities and with Section 8.2.3.1 
(Motorized Off-road Vehicle Use) of NPS Management Policies 2006, 
available at: http://www.nps.gov/policy/mp/policies.html.

ORV Use at Cape Lookout National Seashore

    ORV use at the Seashore predates the authorization and 
establishment of the Seashore. Beginning in the 1930s, vehicles were 
transported to the islands by shallow draft ferries and were used to 
access fishing grounds.
    Today, ORVs provide vehicular access to the Seashore beaches for 
recreational purposes. ORV routes have been designated and ORV use has 
been managed through the Superintendent's Compendium, which currently 
allows for ORV use from March 16 to December 31 (with a closure of the 
Seashore to ORVs from January 1 through March 15). The Cape Lookout 
National Seashore General Management Plan (NPS 1980) identified 47 of 
the 56 miles of the Seashore as appropriate for controlled ORV use. The 
remaining nine miles on Shackleford Banks is a proposed wilderness area 
under the Wilderness Act (Pub. L. 88-577) and is managed to preserve 
its wilderness character and is closed to recreational vehicle use. 
Currently, of the 47 miles identified as appropriate for ORV use, 2.2 
miles are closed to ORV use year-round. Additional areas may be 
periodically closed to ORV use for resource protection during the bird 
nesting and fledgling season or turtle nesting and hatching season.

Draft ORV Management Plan/Draft Environmental Impact Statement

    The plan/DEIS was released for public comment on May 23, 2014, with 
the public comment period extended twice through September 19, 2014. 
This long-term ORV planning effort is based on recognition by the NPS 
that if allowed, ORVs must be regulated in a manner that is consistent 
with applicable law and in a manner that appropriately addresses 
resource protection, potential conflicts among the various Seashore 
users, and visitor safety.
    The plan/DEIS and other supporting documentation can be found 
online at http://www.parkplanning.nps.gov/calo.

The Proposed Rule

    This proposed rule would establish a special regulation pursuant to 
the E.O. and 36 CFR 4.10(b) that would implement portions of the 
preferred alternative as described in the plan/DEIS. The proposed rule 
would:
     Designate ORV routes and pedestrian-only areas at the 
Seashore;
     Implement a permit system for ORVs with limits on the 
number of permits;
     Impose date and time restrictions on the use of ORVs to 
protect resources and enhance visitor experience; and
     Set vehicle and equipment standards, phasing out sport 
model All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) and Utility Vehicles (UTVs), and
     Allow an additional four ramps on North Core Banks and 
five ramps on South Core Banks where vehicle traffic could cross 
between the Beach Route and the Back Route could be constructed.
    Based on review of public comments on the plan/DEIS (received 
through compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act), the 
proposed rule reflects input received during this planning effort, 
including the following:
     Closure dates would be consistent to eliminate confusion;
     Seven miles of existing pedestrian only areas would be 
changed from year-round to seasonal closures (Memorial Day-Labor Day);
     Creation of a designated route for ORVs in front of the 
Long Point and Great Island cabin camps;
     ORV permits would be valid for ORV use on both North and 
South Core Banks;
     An annual limit on the number of ORV permits that would be 
issued, would be determined based on 5 years of data instead of 3 
years, and data from years with significant ORV closure events in 
excess of 14 days (such as a hurricane) would not be used to establish 
a vehicle cap;
     Night driving on beach ORV routes would not be allowed 
from 9:00 p.m.-6:00 a.m. from May 1 to September 14. However, driving 
on the back routes would be allowed from 5:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m., and at 
any time in the Great Island and Long Point cabin camps as defined on 
the map available at the office of the Superintendent and for review on 
the Seashore's Web site at http://www.nps.gov/calo;
     Vehicle length restriction would be removed and replaced 
with a wheelbase limit not to exceed 180 inches;
     Vehicles with a two-stroke engine would be prohibited 
immediately;
     ATV trailer length limit would be removed and made 
consistent with vehicle trailer lengths; and
     New prohibitions (including use of sport-model ATV/UTVs, 
trailers exceeding 30 feet in length and vehicles with wheel base 
exceeding 180 inches) would be phased in after a one year grace period.
    The NPS intends to recover the costs of administering the ORV 
special use permit program under 54 U.S.C. 103104. In order to obtain a 
special use permit required to operate a motor vehicle on designated 
ORV routes in the Seashore, the proposed rule would require ORV 
operators to pay a permit fee.
    The following explains some of the principal elements of the 
proposed rule in a question and answer format:

What is an ``Off-Road Vehicle'' (ORV)?

    For the purposes of this regulation, an ``off-road vehicle'' or 
``ORV'' means a motor vehicle used off of Seashore roads (off-road). 
ORVs authorized for use at the Seashore are subject to the vehicle 
requirements, prohibitions, and permitting requirements described in 
this proposed rule. However, certain ORVs would be prohibited at the 
Seashore by this rule; these include motorcycles, tracked vehicles, 
farm vehicles, vehicles with two-stroke engines, and amphibious ATVs.
    In addition, although the Seashore allows ATV and UTV use for 
transportation within its boundaries, the seashore has determined that 
the use of these vehicles for performance riding is not consistent with 
the Seashore's purpose or NPS Management Policies 2006 and has proposed 
phasing out the specific type of ATVs and UTVs that are designed and 
classified by manufacturers as high performance vehicles. These high 
performance vehicles are by design faster, noisier, and less safe than 
utility models. They are by design made for racing, jumping, and moving 
at high speeds, instead of used as a tool for access to the Seashore. 
The NPS will not issue ORV permits for these specific types of ATV and 
UTV vehicles after the expiration of the grace period.

Do I need a permit to operate a vehicle off road?

    Yes. To obtain an ORV permit, you must complete a short educational 
program, acknowledge in writing that you understand and agree to abide 
by the rules governing ORV use at the Seashore, and pay the applicable 
permit fee. A permit fee schedule would be developed by the 
Superintendent. Implementation of the permit system would begin the 
first full calendar year after the final regulation becomes effective.

[[Page 79015]]

 Is there a limit to the number of ORV permits that will be issued?

    Yes. Initially, the maximum number of ORV permits that may be 
issued is 5,500. This number is based on current use levels. In order 
to ensure that ORV use does not exceed current levels, ORV use would be 
monitored for the first five years that permits are issued and 
thereafter capped at the five-year average use level (not to exceed 
5,500). Any year in which there is a significant ORV closure (more than 
14 days) will not be counted and an additional year of data would be 
collected and averaged to determine the cap. A permit would allow 
access to all routes where ORVs are permitted within the Seashore. 
Permits would be established on a first-come, first-served basis. An 
annual lottery may be established to equitably allocate permits.

My family has several ORVs that we would like to use on Seashore 
beaches. Do we need to get a permit for each vehicle?

    Yes. You would need to get a permit for each vehicle you plan to 
use on ORV routes in the Seashore. You would also need to affix the 
permit to each vehicle in a manner specified by the Superintendent.

Where and when may I operate my ORV?

    Once you obtain an ORV permit and an education certificate, you may 
operate your motor vehicle off road only on the routes described in the 
tables in the proposed rule. The Seashore would be closed to motor 
vehicles from December 16 through March 15 of each year. The tables in 
this rule also provide dates for seasonal restrictions for driving on 
designated routes. If deemed necessary by the Superintendent, seasonal 
closures for resource management could occur from March 16 through 
December 15. Some pedestrian only areas would be established from May 
1-September 14, however some are year round. Maps of designated ORV 
routes will be available at the Office of the Superintendent and for 
review on the Seashore Web site at: http://www.nps.gov/calo.

Does the ORV permit guarantee that all designated ORV routes will be 
open for me to use?

    No. In addition to the seasonal pedestrian-only restrictions from 
May 1-September 14, ORV routes may be subject to temporary resource and 
visitor safety closures. This authority would be exercised independent 
of the Superintendent's authority under 36 CFR 1.5 and would provide 
the park with greater flexibility to respond to the impacts of ORV use 
in designated routes and areas to prevent `unacceptable impacts'. 
Public notice of any action taken under this authority would be given 
pursuant to one or more of the methods set forth in 36 CFR 1.7.

Are there any requirements for my ORV?

    Yes. To receive a permit to operate a vehicle on designated ORV 
routes (except for ATVs and UTVs), your vehicle must be registered, 
licensed, and insured for highway use and comply with inspection 
regulations within the state, province or country, where the vehicle is 
registered. ORV operators (except for ATVs and UTVs) would be required 
to carry a low-pressure tire gauge, shovel, jack, and jack stand/board 
in the vehicle.

Can I drive my two-wheel-drive vehicle on designated ORV routes?

    Yes. Four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended, but two-wheel drive 
vehicles would be allowed if, in the judgment of the vehicle operator, 
the vehicle is capable of over-sand travel.

Can I tow a trailer with my vehicle on designated ORV routes?

    Yes. Trailers with one or two axles would be allowed. Trailers with 
more than two axles would be prohibited. Trailers cannot exceed 30 feet 
in length including all attachments. Restrictions on trailers would be 
implemented after a one-year grace period. Transporting passengers in a 
trailer would be prohibited.

Is there a vehicle length restriction?

    No. The proposed rule would not institute a vehicle length 
restriction, but the NPS wants to ensure that all vehicles on the 
Seashore can safely navigate the back routes and properly stay in the 
track on designated routes. Therefore, the NPS would not issue ORV 
permits for vehicles with a wheelbase measurement that exceeds 180 
inches. There would be a one year grace period before the wheelbase 
restriction is implemented.

May I ride my all-terrain vehicle (ATV) or utility vehicle (UTV) at the 
Seashore?

    After a one year grace period, only non-sport model ATVs and UTVs 
would be allowed from March 16 through December 15 on designated routes 
within the Seashore provided the non-sport ATVs and UTVs have not been 
modified and still meet the manufacturer's original specifications for 
a non-sport or utility model. ATV/UTVs would be allowed a maximum of 3 
axles, and would not need to be registered, licensed, insured for 
highway use, or comply with inspection regulations. ATV/UTV operators 
would not be required to carry in or on the vehicle a low-pressure tire 
gauge, shovel, jack, or jack stand/board. ATV operators must wear a 
U.S. Department of Transportation approved helmet and eye protection. 
All high-performance sport-model ATVs and UTVs would be prohibited 
after a one year grace period and can no longer receive the required 
ORV permit to ride at the seashore. While these high-performance sports 
model are generally identified by the manufactures, any questions 
concerning the models subject to this prohibition will be resolved by 
the Superintendent.

What is the speed limit on designated ORV routes?

    The speed limit would be 25 miles per hour (unless otherwise 
designated). The speed limit would be reduced to 15 miles per hour when 
operating a vehicle within 100 feet of any person, another vehicle, a 
campsite, any structure or while towing a trailer.

May I drive on designated ORV routes at night?

    Yes, but not at all times on all routes. Night driving on beach ORV 
routes would not be allowed from 9:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. from May 1 
to September 14 to reduce impacts on wildlife. In addition, driving on 
the back routes would be allowed from 5:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m., and at any 
time in the Great Island and Long Point cabin camps (as defined by the 
map available at the office of the Superintendent and for review on the 
Seashore's Web site at http://www.nps.gov/calo.

May my ORV be parked on the beach if I don't drive it between 9 p.m. 
and 6 a.m. during the dates night driving restrictions are in effect?

    Yes, if the ORV is attended and not driven on the beach during that 
time.

I have a family member who is disabled or mobility-impaired. Can I use 
my ORV to drive that family member to the beach where we are gathering, 
even if it is not designated as an ORV route?

    Yes, such use could be accommodated on a case-by-case basis and 
would be subject to the conditions of a special use permit issued by 
the Superintendent.

Do concessionaires and commercial use authorization holders need a 
separate ORV permit?

    No. Use of ORVs associated with businesses would be controlled 
through an NPS concession contract or commercial use authorization.

[[Page 79016]]

What is the relationship of NC Motor Vehicle Law to these Regulations?

    NPS specifically adopts state motor vehicle laws at 36 CFR 4.2(a), 
and can deviate from these state laws by special regulation. Under N.C. 
General Statute 20-4.01(32)(b), beach areas are considered public 
vehicular areas, and are not necessarily subject to the broader set of 
registration and operation laws for state roads. This rule would 
specify that notwithstanding the definition of public vehicular area in 
North Carolina State law, the operator of any motor vehicle at the 
Seashore, whether the ORV is moving or parked, must at all times comply 
with North Carolina traffic laws that would apply as if operating on a 
North Carolina highway. This requirement would apply to ATVs/UTVs even 
though they are, for example, not required to be registered, inspected 
or display a license plate, nor allowed on highways under North 
Carolina law. However, this special regulation would allow ATV/UTV use 
as ORVs the same as other vehicles within the Seashore; the operation 
of all these vehicles must be in compliance with this and other 
applicable regulations such as operation and safety requirements, and 
non-conflicting North Carolina law.

Compliance With Other Laws, Executive Orders, and Department Policy

Use of Off-Road Vehicles on the Public Lands (Executive Order 11644)

    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(4) of E.O. 
11644 provides that ORV ``areas 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 E.O. 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'' or ``adverse effect'' commonly used in 
the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). Under NEPA, a 
procedural statute that provides for the study of environmental 
impacts, the term ``adverse effect'' refers to any effect, no matter 
how minor or negligible.
    Section 3(4) of the E.O., by contrast, does not prescribe 
procedures or any particular means of analysis. It concerns substantive 
management decisions, and must instead be read in the context of the 
authorities applicable to such decisions. The Seashore is an area of 
the National Park System. Therefore, the NPS interprets the E.O. term 
``adversely affect'' consistent with its NPS Management Policies 2006. 
Those policies require that NPS only allows ``appropriate use'' of 
parks, and avoids ``unacceptable impacts.''
    Specifically, this rule would not impede the attainment of the 
Seashore's desired future conditions for natural and cultural resources 
as identified in the plan/DEIS. The NPS has determined this rule would 
not unreasonably interfere with the atmosphere of peace and 
tranquility, or the natural soundscape maintained in natural locations 
within the Seashore. Therefore, within the context of the E.O., ORV use 
on the ORV routes designated by this rule (which are also subject to 
safety and resource closures and other species management measures that 
would be implemented under the proposed rule) would not adversely 
affect the natural, aesthetic, or scenic values of the Seashore.
    Section 8(a) of the E.O. requires the respective agency head to 
monitor the effects of the use of off-road vehicles on lands under 
their jurisdictions. On the basis of the information gathered, such 
agency head shall from time to time amend or rescind designations of 
areas or other actions taken pursuant to the E.O. as necessary to 
further the policy of the E.O. The plan/DEIS identifies monitoring and 
resource protection procedures, and desired future conditions to 
provide for the ongoing and future evaluation of impacts of ORV use on 
protected resources. The Park Superintendent would have authority under 
both this rule and under 36 CFR 1.5 to close portions of the Seashore 
as needed to protect park resources and values, and public health and 
safety.

Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Orders 12866 and 13563)

    Executive Order 12866 provides that the Office of Information and 
Regulatory Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget will review 
all significant rules. The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs 
has determined that this rule is not significant.
    Executive Order 13563 reaffirms the principles of E.O. 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. E.O. 13563 emphasizes further 
that regulations must be based on the best available science and that 
the rulemaking process must allow for public participation and an open 
exchange of ideas. We have developed this rule in a manner consistent 
with these requirements.

Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA)

    This rule will not have a significant economic effect on a 
substantial number of small entities under the RFA (5 U.S.C. 601 et 
seq.). This certification is based on information contained in a report 
entitled, ``Benefit Cost Analysis of Proposed ORV Use Regulation at 
Cape Lookout National Seashore, available for public review at: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectID=15978.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA)

    This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2) of 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 are located entirely within the Seashore, and will 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. Therefore, a statement containing the 
information required by the UMRA (2 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) is not 
required.

[[Page 79017]]

Takings (Executive Order 12630)

    This rule does not affect a taking of private property or otherwise 
have taking implications under Executive Order 12630. Access to private 
property located within or adjacent to the Seashore will not be 
affected, and this rule does not regulate uses of private property. 
Therefore, 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. This rule only 
affects use of NPS-administered lands and imposes no requirements on 
other agencies or governments. A federalism summary impact statement is 
not required.

Civil Justice Reform (Executive Order 12988)

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

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

    The Department of the Interior strives to strengthen its 
government-to-government relationship with Indian tribes through a 
commitment to consultation with Indian tribes and recognition of their 
right to self-governance and tribal sovereignty. We have evaluated this 
rule under the criteria in Executive Order 13175 and under the 
Department's tribal consultation policy and have determined that tribal 
consultation is not required because the rule will have no substantial 
direct effect on federally recognized Indian tribes.

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

    This rule does not contain any new collection of information that 
requires approval by OMB under the PRA of 1995. OMB has approved the 
information collection requirements associated with NPS special use 
permits and has assigned OMB control number 1024-0026 (expires 08/31/
2016). 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 (NEPA)

    This rule constitutes a major federal action with the potential to 
significantly affect the quality of the human environment. In 
accordance with NEPA, the NPS prepared the plan/DEIS, which was 
released for public comment on May 23, 2014, with the public comment 
period extended to September 4, 2014, then again to September 19, 2014. 
A full description of the alternatives that were considered, the 
environmental impacts associated with the project, and public 
involvement, and other supporting documentation, can be found online at 
http://www.parkplanning.nps.gov/calo. The NPS considered public 
comments made on the plan/DEIS in drafting this proposed rule. The NPS 
will evaluate substantive comments received on the proposed rule in 
developing the Final ORV Management Plan/Final Environmental Impact 
Statement, Record of Decision, and Final Rule.

Effects on the Energy Supply (Executive Order 13211)

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

Clarity of This Rule

    We are required by Executive Orders 12866 and 12988, 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 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. 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 are unclearly written, which sections or sentences 
are too long, the sections where you feel lists or tables would be 
useful, etc.

Public Participation

    All submissions received must include the agency name and RIN for 
this rulemaking: 1024-AE24. All comments received through the Federal 
eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov will be available 
without change. 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. 
While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal 
identifying information, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do 
so. To view comments received through the Federal eRulemaking portal, 
go to http://www.regulations.gov and enter 1024- AE24 in the search 
box.
    Drafting Information: The primary authors of this regulation are: 
Russel J. Wilson, Chief, Regulations, Jurisdiction, and Special Park 
Uses, and A.J. North, Regulations Coordinator, National Park Service, 
Washington, DC.

List of Subjects in 36 CFR Part 7

    District of Columbia, 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 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  54 U.S.C. 100101, 100751, 320102; Sec. 7.96 also 
issued under DC Code 10-137 and DC Code 50-2201.07.

0
2. In Sec.  7.49, add paragraph (c) to read as follows:


Sec.  7.49  Cape Lookout National Seashore.

* * * * *
    (c) Off-road motor vehicle use. (1) Definitions. In addition to the 
definitions found in Sec.  1.4 of this chapter, the following terms 
apply in this paragraph (c):
    All-terrain vehicle (ATV)--A motorized off-highway vehicle designed 
to travel on four low-pressure tires, having a seat designed to be 
straddled by the operator and handlebars for steering control.
    Back Route--A marked and maintained ORV corridor located behind the 
dunes running parallel to the beach, known locally as the back road.
    ORV means a motor vehicle used off of Seashore roads (off-road).
    Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV)--A motorized off-highway vehicle 
designed to travel on four low-pressure tires. Differs from ATVs in 
that UTVs

[[Page 79018]]

typically have a side-by-side seating arrangement, many have seat belts 
and roll-over protection, and most have a cargo box at the rear of the 
vehicle. UTVs generally have a higher payload capability and are longer 
and wider than ATVs.
    (2) ORV permits. The Superintendent administers the NPS special 
park use permit system at the Seashore, including permits for ORV use, 
and charges fees to recover ORV program administration costs.
    (i) A permit issued by the Superintendent is required to operate a 
vehicle on designated ORV routes at the Seashore. The Superintendent is 
responsible for determining or resolving the eligibility of a vehicle 
for an ORV permit. The cost of the permits will be set by the 
Superintendent.
    (ii) Operation of a motor vehicle authorized under an ORV permit is 
limited to those routes designated in the table in paragraph (c)(7) of 
this section.
    (iii) The Superintendent will establish an annual limit on the 
number of ORV permits that may be issued, not to exceed 5,500, and will 
notify the public under Sec.  1.7 of this chapter.
    (iv) In order to obtain a permit, an applicant must comply with 
vehicle and equipment requirements, obtain an education certificate, 
acknowledge in writing an understanding of the rules governing ORV use 
at the Seashore, and pay the permit fee.
    (v) Each permit holder must affix the permit in a manner and 
location specified by the Superintendent to the vehicle authorized for 
off-road use.
    (3) Vehicle, operator and equipment requirements. The following 
requirements apply for driving a motor vehicle off-road:
    (i) The ORV (except ATVs and UTVs) must be registered, licensed, 
and insured for highway use and must comply with inspection regulations 
within the state, province, or country where the vehicle is registered.
    (ii) The ORV (except ATVs and UTVs) must have no more than two 
axles, no more than six wheels and no less than four wheels. ATVs and 
UTVs may have no more than three axles, no more than six wheels and no 
less than four wheels. An ORV's wheelbase must not exceed 180 inches; 
this requirement will take effect one year after the effective date of 
the final rule.
    (iii) A towed trailer must have no more than two axles and must not 
exceed 30 feet in length. This paragraph will take effect one year 
after the effective date of the Final Rule.
    (iv) The ORV (except ATVs and UTVs) must carry a low-pressure tire 
gauge, shovel, jack, and jack stand or support board.
    (v) ORV operators must possess a valid driver's license and an 
education certificate in addition to the vehicle being permitted.
    (vi) ATV operators must wear a U.S. Department of Transportation 
approved helmet and eye protection.
    (vii) Riding on the tailgate or roof or hanging outside of moving 
ORVs is prohibited.
    (viii) While riding in a truck bed a person must be seated on the 
floor. Children under 16 years of age riding in truck beds must also be 
accompanied by an adult riding in the bed.
    (ix) Passengers are prohibited from riding in or on a trailer, 
unless specifically authorized by the NPS in a permit, commercial use 
authorization or concession contract.
    (4) Vehicle inspection. An authorized person may inspect the 
vehicle to determine compliance with the requirements of this 
regulation.
    (5) Prohibited vehicles. Use of a motorcycle, tracked vehicle, farm 
vehicle, a vehicle with a two-stroke engine, and combination vehicles 
(i.e. amphibious ATVs) are prohibited in the Seashore. The use of high 
performance/sport model ATVs and UTVs will be prohibited one year after 
the effective date of the final rule.
    (6) Special use permits for off-road driving, temporary use. The 
Superintendent may issue a special use permit for temporary off-road 
vehicle use to allow vehicular transport of mobility impaired 
individuals, subject to the conditions of the permit.
    (7) ORV routes. (i) The Seashore is closed to ORV use from December 
16 through March 15.
    (ii) The Seashore is open to ORV use from March 16 through December 
15, with seasonal closures for species management from March 16 through 
December15 and pedestrian-only areas from May 1-September 14.
    (iii) The following tables designate ORV routes, ORV ramps, areas 
closed to ORVs, and pedestrian only areas. Maps depicting the 
designated routes and ramps, areas closed and pedestrian only areas are 
available in the Office of the Superintendent and for review on the 
Seashore Web site.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
                       Designated ORV Beach Route
------------------------------------------------------------------------
The oceanside beach of North and South Core Banks from the toe of the
 primary dune line or vegetation line to the water line on the seaward
 side, that is accessible and otherwise open (not closed due to
 pedestrian, safety or species resource protection closures). The ORV
 corridor would be marked on the landward side.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
                   Designated ORV Back Route and Ramps
------------------------------------------------------------------------
The back route is a marked route parallel to the ocean beach behind the
 primary dune on North Core and South Core Banks. Marked crossover
 routes or ``ramps'' between the ocean beach and back route are further
 described below..
------------------------------------------------------------------------
North Core Banks..................  Route would parallel the beach
                                     behind the primary dune line from
                                     approximately 0.5 miles south of
                                     Portsmouth Flats at mile marker 4
                                     to 0.5 mile north of Old Drum Inlet
                                     at mile marker 18 with the
                                     exception there is no back route at
                                     Kathryn-Jane Flats from mile 6 to
                                     mile 7. South of Old Drum Inlet the
                                     back route would continue from
                                     approximately mile maker 19.5 to
                                     mile marker 21 immediately north of
                                     the Ophelia Inlet.
                                    Ramps: 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6, 7a, 7b,
                                     8a, 8b, 9, 10a, 10b, 11a, 11b, 12,
                                     13a, 13b, 14, 15a, 15b, 16, 17a,
                                     17b, 18a, 18b, 19, 20, 21.
South Core Banks..................  Route would parallel the beach
                                     behind the primary dune line
                                     approximately 1 mile south of
                                     Ophelia Inlet at mile marker 24 to
                                     the point of Cape Lookout at mile
                                     marker 44. Additionally, the back
                                     route on South Core Banks would be
                                     extended from mile marker 44a to
                                     mile marker 44b; this by-pass
                                     section of back route would only be
                                     open when the area of the Cape
                                     closes to through traffic.
                                    Ramps 24, 25, 26a, 26b, 27, 28, 29,
                                     29a, 29b, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35a,
                                     35b, 36, 37a, 37b, 38, 39, 40, 41a,
                                     41b, 42a, 42b, 43, 44a, 44b, 45.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 79019]]


------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
                   Designated Miscellaneous ORV Routes
------------------------------------------------------------------------
A marked route from the beach to the Portsmouth Village parking area
 through Portsmouth Flats.
Marked routes within the Long Point and Great Island Cabin Camp areas
 including vehicle ferry landings.
Designated parking areas at Long Point, Great Island, and the Cape
 Lookout Light Station area, and the marked routes to these areas.
Marked Routes within the Cape Lookout Village Historic District.
Marked sound-side access routes:
    North Core Banks--mile marker 9, mile marker 12, mile marker 18.
    South Core Banks--mile marker 26.5, mile marker 31.5, mile marker
     35.5 (Codds Creek), mile marker 45.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
                          Areas Closed to ORVs
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Sections of the islands isolated from designated ferry landings through
 the formation of new inlets, such as Middle Core Banks.
All areas of the park not designated for ORV use.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
                          Pedestrian-Only Areas
------------------------------------------------------------------------
All other areas of the Seashore     Entire area, year round closure.
 not designated for ORVs above,
 including Shackleford Banks.
Long Point........................  Seasonal pedestrian only area May 1
                                     to September 14, on the ocean beach
                                     at Long Point Cabin Camp from ramp
                                     16 to ramp 17a (approximately 0.50
                                     miles). An ORV route will be
                                     established through this area.
Great Island......................  Seasonal pedestrian only area May 1
                                     to September 14, on the ocean beach
                                     at the Great Island Cabin Camp
                                     pedestrian-only area from ramp 29
                                     to ramp 30 (approximately 1.9
                                     miles), to be determined by beach
                                     profile. An ORV route will be
                                     established through this area.
Codds Creek.......................  Seasonal pedestrian only area May 1
                                     to September 14, on the ocean beach
                                     near Codds Creek for a total
                                     closure of 0.8 miles between mile
                                     marker/ramps 35a and 35b for
                                     pedestrians only.
Light Station.....................  A year-round pedestrian-only area at
                                     the lighthouse would run from ramp
                                     41a to ramp 41b for a total closure
                                     of approximately 0.7 miles.
Power Squadron Spit...............  A year-round pedestrian-only area at
                                     the lighthouse would run from Mile
                                     Marker 46.2 to the end of the Spit.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (8) Superintendent's closures. (i) The Superintendent may 
temporarily limit, restrict, or terminate access to routes or areas 
designated for off-road use after taking into consideration public 
health and safety, natural and cultural resource protection, and other 
management activities and objectives.
    (ii) The public will be notified of such closures through one or 
more of the methods listed in Sec.  1.7 of this chapter.
    (iii) Violation of any closure or restriction is prohibited.
    (9) Rules for vehicle operation. (i) Notwithstanding North Carolina 
law, including the definition of ``Public Vehicular Area,'' the 
operator of an ORV anywhere in the Seashore, whether in motion or 
parked, must comply with all North Carolina traffic laws that would 
apply if the operator were operating the vehicle on a North Carolina 
highway. ATVs/UTVs are not allowed on highways under North Carolina 
traffic law. However, this special regulation would allow ATVs/UTVs use 
within the Seashore, and would require ATVs/UTVs operators to comply 
with this and other applicable regulations, and non-conflicting North 
Carolina law in the same manner as all other vehicles operating off-
road.
    (ii) In addition to the requirements of part 4 of this chapter, the 
following restrictions apply:
    (A) A vehicle operator must yield to pedestrians on all designated 
ORV routes.
    (B) The speed limit for off road driving is 25 mph, unless 
otherwise designated.
    (C) A vehicle operator must slow to 15 mph when traveling within 
100 feet or less of any person, vehicle, campsite, structure or while 
pulling a trailer.
    (D) When driving on a designated route, an operator must lower the 
vehicle's tire pressure sufficiently to maintain adequate traction.
    (E) Vehicles may only be transported to the Seashore by NPS 
authorized ferries.
    (10) Night driving restrictions. (i) Hours of operation and night 
driving restrictions are listed in the following table:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Hours of Operation/Night Driving Restrictions
------------------------------------------------------------------------
December 16 through March 15..............  Seashore closed to
                                             recreational ORV use.
March 16 through April 30 and September 15  All designated ORV routes
 through December 15.                        are open 24 hours a day.
May 1 through September 14................  Designated ORV routes are
                                             closed from 9 p.m. to 6
                                             a.m. to reduce potential
                                             impacts to wildlife. The
                                             back route is open 5 a.m.
                                             to 10 p.m.
March 16 through December 15..............  Designated ORV routes within
                                             cabin areas at Long Point
                                             and Great Island are open
                                             24 hours a day.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (ii) Maps are available in the office of the Superintendent and on 
the Seashore's Web site that show routes closed due to resource and 
visitor protection.
    (11) Parking permit. (i) A parking permit issued by the 
Superintendent is required for long-term vehicle parking at designated 
locations.
    (ii) Long-term vehicle lots would be closed from December 16 
through March 15.
    (12) Park violations. (i) Violating any of the provisions of this 
paragraph, or the terms, conditions, or requirements of an ORV or other 
permit authorizing ORV use is prohibited.
    (ii) A violation may also result in the suspension or revocation of 
a NPS permit by the Superintendent.
    (13) Information collection. As required by 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. 
The

[[Page 79020]]

Office of Management and Budget has approved the information collection 
requirements contained in this paragraph. The OMB approval number is 
1024-0026. The NPS is collecting this information to provide the 
Superintendent data necessary to issue ORV special use permits. The 
information will be used to grant a benefit. The obligation to respond 
is required to order to obtain the benefit in the form of the ORV 
permit.

    Dated: December 9, 2015.
Karen Hyun,
Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and 
Parks.
[FR Doc. 2015-31793 Filed 12-17-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4310-EJ-P

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