[Federal Register: October 5, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 191)]
[Notices]               
[Page 51116-51125]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr05oc09-21]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service

 
Continental Divide National Scenic Trail Comprehensive Plan; FSM 
2350

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of final amendments to comprehensive plan and final 
directives.

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[[Page 51117]]

SUMMARY: The Forest Service is amending the Continental Divide National 
Scenic Trail (CDNST) Comprehensive Plan and internal agency directives 
at Forest Service Manual (FSM) 2350. The CDNST Comprehensive Plan 
provides overall direction for the development, management, and use of 
the CDNST. FSM 2350 guides policy, development, and management of the 
CDNST on National Forest System lands. This notice discusses the 
changes to the CDNST Comprehensive Plan, responds to comments received 
from the public, and makes final changes to FSM 2350.

DATES: Effective Date: The amendments to the CDNST Comprehensive Plan 
and the implementing directives at FSM 2350 are effective November 4, 
2009.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Greg Warren, CDNST National 
Administrator, (303) 275-5054, gwarren@fs.fed.us.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Contents

1. Background
2. Public Comments and Responses
3. Regulatory Certifications
4. Final Amendments to the CDNST Comprehensive Plan
5. Final Amendments to FSM 2350

1. Background

History and Administration of the CDNST

    The CDNST was established by the National Parks and Recreation Act 
of 1978 (Pub. L. No. 95-625, 92 Stat. 3467), which amended the National 
Trails System Act of 1968 (16 U.S.C. 1241-1251). The National Parks and 
Recreation Act:
     Established the CDNST between the Montana-Canada and New 
Mexico-Mexico borders;
     Provided for administation of the CDNST by the Secretary 
of Agriculture, in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior;
     Despite the general prohibition on motor vehicle use by 
the public on National Scenic Trails (16 U.S.C. 1246(c)), provided for 
motor vehicle use on road segments of the CDNST in accordance with 
applicable regulations (16 U.S.C. 1244(a)(5)); and
     Described management of recreation and other uses along 
the CDNST so as not to interfere with the nature and purposes for which 
the CDNST was established (16 U.S.C. 1246(c)).

The Chief of the Forest Service adopted the 1976 CDNST Study Report and 
1977 CDNST Final Environmental Impact Statement on August 5, 1981 (40 
FR 150) pursuant to the National Trails System Act (16 U.S.C. 1244(b)).
    The National Trails System Act requires the Secretary of 
Agriculture, in consultation with other affected Federal agencies, the 
governors of affected states, and the relevant advisory council 
established pursuant to the Act, to prepare a comprehensive plan for 
the management and use of the CDNST (16 U.S.C. 1244(f)). The Forest 
Service goal in 1981 for the CDNST Comprehensive Plan was to provide a 
uniform trail management program reflecting the purposes of the CDNST 
while providing for use and protection of the natural and cultural 
resources along the CDNST. The Chief of the Forest Service approved the 
Comprehensive Plan for the CDNST in 1985.
    The CDNST crosses Federal lands administered by the United States 
Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, and the United States 
Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, and National 
Park Service. The Regional Forester of the Rocky Mountain Region is the 
lead Forest Service official for coordinating matters concerning the 
study, planning, and operation of the CDNST (FSM 2353.04).
    Federal interagency trail programs generally are coordinated 
through an interagency memorandum of understanding (MOU) governing the 
National Trails System (06-SU-11132424-196). Programs specific to the 
CDNST are developed and coordinated through the CDNST Interagency 
Leadership Council (Council), consisting of Regional Foresters for the 
Forest Service, State Directors for the Bureau of Land Management, and 
a Regional Director for the National Park Service. The Council provides 
leadership and oversight to complete and sustain the CDNST and ensures 
consistent, coordinated, and effective programs for the CDNST.

The Nature and Purposes of the CDNST

    A 1997 memorandum from the Deputy Chief of the Forest Service to 
Regional Foresters states:

    As the CDNST is further developed, it is expected that the trail 
will eventually be relocated off of roads for its entire length.

    The memorandum further states:

    It is the intent of the Forest Service that the CDNST will be 
for non-motorized recreation. * * * Allowing motorized use on these 
newly constructed trail segments would substantially interfere with 
the nature and purpose of the CDNST.

    This memorandum clarifies the Forest Service's intent with respect 
to motor vehicle use on newly constructed CDNST trail segments. In 
addition, this memorandum identifies the importance of understanding 
the nature and purposes of the CDNST in establishing direction 
governing its development and management.
    In 2004, the Council adopted the following guiding principles for 
the CDNST:

    Complete the Trail to connect people and communities to the 
Continental Divide by providing scenic, high-quality, primitive 
hiking and horseback riding experiences, while preserving the 
significant natural, historic, and cultural resources along the 
Trail.

    In 2005, the three participating Federal agencies executed an 
interagency MOU (05-MU-11020000-071) to address CDNST programs and 
management consistent with the 2004 guiding principles for the CDNST. 
The cooperative work under the MOU led to development of these 
amendments.
    These final amendments and directives revise the nature and 
purposes of the CDNST to track those identified in the 1976 CDNST Study 
Report and 1977 CDNST Final Environmental Impact Statement. The CDNST 
Study Report states:

    The primary purpose of this trail is to provide a continuous, 
appealing trail route, designed for the hiker and horseman, but 
compatible with other land uses. * * * One of the primary purposes 
for establishing the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail would 
be to provide hiking and horseback access to those lands where man's 
impact on the environment has not been adverse to a substantial 
degree and where the environment remains relatively unaltered. 
Therefore, the protection of the land resource must remain a 
paramount consideration in establishing and managing the trail. 
There must be sufficient environmental controls to assure that the 
values for which the trail is established are not jeopardized. * * * 
The basic goal of the trail is to provide the hiker and rider an 
entree to the diverse country along the Continental Divide in a 
manner, which will assure a high quality recreation experience while 
maintaining a constant respect for the natural environment. * * * 
The Continental Divide Trail would be a simple facility for foot and 
horseback use in keeping with the National Scenic Trail concept as 
seen in the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails.

    The amended CDNST Comprehensive Plan and its implementing 
directives will more accurately reflect the nature and purposes of the 
CDNST and the requirements of the National Trails System Act (16 U.S.C. 
1244(f)). As work on the CDNST progresses, further revisions to the 
CDNST Comprehensive Plan may be required. For additional information on 
CDNST programs, visit http://www.fs.fed.us/cdt.

[[Page 51118]]

2. Public Comments and Responses

    On June 12, 2007, the Forest Service published in the Federal 
Register for public notice and comment the proposed amendments to the 
1985 CDNST Comprehensive Plan and accompanying Forest Service 
directives (72 FR 112). The 60-day public comment period was extended 
for 60 days (72 FR 148).
    The Forest Service received over 8,000 letters or electronic mail 
in response to the proposed amendments and directives. The respondents 
fell into the following categories:
    Motor vehicle organizations: 7.
    Mountain biking organizations: 5.
    National scenic trail organizations: 6.
    Recreation or conservation organizations: 10.
    City, county, and elected officials: 2.
    Unaffiliated, unique response: approximately 800.
    Other (principally mountain biking enthusiasts, who submitted 
comments in the form of the same electronic mail): approximately 7,200.
    Many respondents supported the proposed amendments and directives. 
Most respondents were concerned about access for motor vehicles and 
bicycles.

Nature and Purposes Statement; Proposed FSM 2353.42, Paragraph 4 (Final 
Amendments to the CDNST Comprehensive Plan, All Chapters; FSM 2353.42, 
in the Final Directives)

    Comments. One respondent believed that the 1985 CDNST Comprehensive 
Plan had to remain unchanged to preserve its integrity for current and 
future issues.
    Another respondent observed that the proposed nature and purposes 
statement for the CDNST appeared to derive, appropriately, from a 
number of sources, including section 3(a)(2) of the National Trails 
System Act, the 1976 CDNST Study Report, and the 1977 CDNST Final 
Environmental Impact Statement.
    Some respondents requested modification of the proposed nature and 
purposes statement to provide for high-quality scenic, bicycling, and 
motorized opportunities, as well as high-quality scenic, primitive 
hiking and horseback riding opportunities. Other respondents stated 
that activities such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing should be 
considered comparable to hiking with respect to the nature and purposes 
of the CDNST.
    Several respondents claimed that the nature and purposes of the 
CDNST were modified by a 1983 amendment of the National Trails System 
Act to include other uses, such as bicycling.
    Another respondent stated that the proposed nature and purposes 
statement omitted part of the policy statement for National Scenic 
Trails from the National Trails System Act, specifically, the policy 
that National Scenic Trails are to provide for maximum outdoor 
recreation potential and conservation of natural, historic, and 
cultural resources.
    Another respondent recommended removing the phrase ``non-
motorized'' from the statement on the grounds that the word 
``primitive'' is sufficient to provide for a quiet, nature-based 
experience for hikers and equestrians. Other respondents wanted the 
word ``primitive'' removed on the grounds that it was ambiguous.
    Another respondent noted that the proposed amendments to the CDNST 
Comprehensive Plan and FSM 2350 should apply to the extent applicable 
to provisions that were not specifically referenced. Therefore, this 
respondent believed that the amended CDNST Comprehensive Plan and 
directives should state that the amendments to the plan and directives 
supersede any other provisions of the plan and directives to the extent 
of any inconsistency.
    Response: The amendments to the 1985 CDNST Comprehensive Plan and 
corresponding directives are to ensure that the nature and purposes of 
the CDNST track those in the 1976 CDNST Study Report and 1977 CDNST 
Final Environmental Impact Statement, which were prepared pursuant to 
the National Trails System Act (16 U.S.C. 1244(b)). The 1976 CDNST 
Study Report states:

    The primary purpose of this trail is to provide a continuous, 
appealing trail route, designed for the hiker and horseman, but 
compatible with other land uses. * * * One of the primary purposes 
for establishing the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail would 
be to provide hiking and horseback access to those lands where man's 
impact on the environment has not been adverse to a substantial 
degree and where the environment remains relatively unaltered. 
Therefore, the protection of the land resource must remain a 
paramount consideration in establishing and managing the trail. 
There must be sufficient environmental controls to assure that the 
values for which the trail is established are not jeopardized. * * * 
The basic goal of the trail is to provide the hiker and rider an 
entree to the diverse country along the Continental Divide in a 
manner, which will assure a high-quality recreation experience while 
maintaining a constant respect for the natural environment. * * * 
The Continental Divide Trail would be a simple facility for foot and 
horseback use in keeping with the National Scenic Trail concept as 
seen in the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails.

Thus, the 1976 CDNST Study Report states that the primary purpose of 
the CDNST is to provide a high-quality recreation experience for hiking 
and horseback riding.
    Consistent with the National Trails System Act, the 1976 CDNST 
Study Report, and the 1977 CDNST Final Environmental Impact Statement, 
the amended CDNST Comprehensive Plan states that the nature and 
purposes of the CDNST are to provide for high-quality scenic, primitive 
hiking and horseback riding opportunities and to conserve natural, 
historic, and cultural resources along the CDNST corridor. The amended 
CDNST Comprehensive Plan and final directives implementing the 
amendments to the CDNST Comprehensive Plan on National Forest System 
lands provide that backpacking, nature walking, day hiking, horseback 
riding, nature photography, mountain climbing, cross-country skiing, 
and snowshoeing are compatible with the nature and purposes of the 
CDNST (final amendments to the CDNST Comprehensive Plan, Chapter 
IV(B)(5); FSM 2353.44b, para. 8, in the final directives). The 
amendments to the CDNST Comprehensive Plan and directives ensure 
consistency with the nature and purposes of the CDNST in the context of 
right-of-way acquisition, land management planning, scenery management, 
recreation resource management, motor vehicle use, trail and facility 
standards, and carrying capacity.
    The 1983 amendment to the National Trails System Act, which added 
16 U.S.C. 1246(j), does not modify the nature and purposes of the 
CDNST. The added subsection simply lists uses and vehicles that may be 
permitted on National Trails generally.
    The National Trails System Act states that all National Scenic 
Trails must be so located to provide for maximum outdoor recreation 
potential and conservation of natural, historic, and cultural resources 
(16 U.S.C. 1242(a)(2)). This requirement is reflected in the nature and 
purposes statement in the amended CDNST Comprehensive Plan, which 
states that the nature and purposes of the CDNST are to provide for 
high-quality scenic, primitive hiking and horseback riding 
opportunities and to conserve natural, historic, and cultural resources 
along the CDNST corridor. Where possible, the CDNST will be located in 
primitive or semi-primitive non-motorized settings, which will further 
contribute to providing for maximum outdoor recreation potential and 
conservation of natural, historic, and cultural resources in the areas 
traversed by the CDNST (FSM 2353.44b, para. 8, in the final 
directives).
    The Forest Service has removed the words ``non-motorized'' and

[[Page 51119]]

``recreational'' from the nature and purposes statement for the CDNST, 
as these words were redundant. ``High-quality scenic, primitive hiking 
and horseback riding'' are non-motorized recreation opportunities. The 
Agency has not removed the word ``primitive'' from the nature and 
purposes statement, as it is not redundant and is not ambiguous. It 
means ``of or relating to an earliest or original stage or state.'' 
Webster's II New Riverside University Dictionary 934 (1984). Preferred 
recreation settings, including primitive or semi-primitive non-
motorized categories, are delineated in the Forest Service's Recreation 
Opportunity Spectrum system (FSM 2311.1) and described in the CDNST 
Comprehensive Plan, Chapter IV(B)(5).
    The amendments to the 1985 CDNST Comprehensive Plan apply 
throughout the document to the extent applicable, not just to the 
provisions that are specifically referenced in the amendments. The 
Forest Service agrees that this intent should be expressly stated. 
Therefore, the Agency has added the following statement to the 
amendments:

To the extent there is any inconsistency between the foregoing 
revisions and any other provisions in the 1985 CDNST Comprehensive 
Plan, the foregoing revisions control.

Land Management Planning; Proposed FSM 2353.43, Paragraph 1 (FSM 
2353.44b, Paragraph 1, in the Final Directives)

    Comments: Some respondents requested that land management plans 
include standards as well as guidelines for the CDNST, as is the case 
with the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, to ensure that the CDNST is 
protected in accordance with requirements of the National Trails System 
Act.
    One respondent supported identifying management areas for the 
CDNST. Another respondent requested clarification on delineating CDNST 
management areas in wilderness. Another respondent requested that 
management areas extend one-quarter mile from either side of the CDNST.
    Response: The Agency has revised proposed FSM 2353.43, para.1 (FSM 
2353.44b, para. 1, in the final directives) to provide for adopting 
standards and guidelines in land management plans for administrative 
units traversed by the CDNST and to clarify the guidance for 
delineating a management area. Specifically, the final directives 
provide that, except where the CDNST traverses a wilderness area and is 
governed by wilderness management prescriptions (36 CFR Part 293), 
these land management plans must prescribe desired conditions, 
objectives, standards, and guidelines for the CDNST corridor by 
establishing a management area for the CDNST that is broad enough to 
protect natural, scenic, historic, and cultural features (FSH 1909.12),
    With regard to management areas for National Trails, H.R. Rep. No 
90-1631 on the National Trails System Act states:

The rights-of-way for the trails will be of sufficient width to 
protect natural, scenic, cultural, and historic features along the 
trails and to provide needed public use facilities. The rights-of-
way will be located to avoid established uses that are incompatible 
with the protection of a trail in its natural condition and its use 
for outdoor recreation.

1968 U.S. Code Cong.& Admin. News 3855, 3863-3864, 3867.
    Further, Executive Order (E.O.) 13195 states:

Federal agencies will * * * protect, connect, promote, and assist 
trails of all types * * *. This will be accomplished by * * * 
protecting the trail corridors associated with National Scenic 
Trails * * * to the degree necessary to ensure that the values for 
which [the] trail was established remain intact.

    To give local managers discretion to address site-specific 
conditions, the final directives do not prescribe minimum widths for 
the CDNST corridor. Rather, consistent with the legislative history for 
the National Trails System Act and E.O. 13195, FSM 2353.44b, para. 1a, 
in the final directives states that the land management plan for 
administrative units through which the CDNST traverses must, except 
where the CDNST is located in a wilderness area and is governed by 
wilderness management prescriptions, establish a management area for 
the CDNST that is broad enough to protect natural, scenic, historic, 
and cultural features (FSH 1909.12). FSM 2353.44b, para. 2b, in the 
final directives contains the same requirement for CDNST unit plans, 
provided that this requirement is not already met in the applicable 
land management plan or wilderness management prescriptions.

CDNST Unit Plans; Proposed FSM 2353.43, Paragraph 2 (FSM 2353.44b, 
Paragraph 2, in the Final Directives)

    Comments: Respondents were mostly supportive of requiring 
development of unit plans to meet the site-specific requirements of the 
National Trails System Act. However, some respondents expressed 
concerns about requiring site-specific analysis at the level of an 
administrative unit for mountain biking on the CDNST. These respondents 
believed that this analysis would be time-consuming and burdensome and 
should instead be conducted at the regional level. Some respondents 
proposed including a definition for ``carrying capacity'' or using 
different terminology for that term, such as ``type and volume of 
use.''
    Response: The provisions of the final directives governing unit 
plans establish guidance for site-specific planning for the CDNST 
consistent with the National Trails System Act, the 1976 CDNST Study 
Report, and the 1977 Final Environmental Impact Statement. Decisions 
regarding whether to allow certain types of uses on the CDNST will be 
best decided through land management planning and appropriate 
environmental analysis.
    Section 5(f)(1) of the National Trails System Act (16 U.S.C. 
1244(f)(1)) requires carrying capacity to be established for the CDNST. 
The Agency is removing the definition for ``carrying capacity'' from 
the 1985 CDNST Comprehensive Plan and replacing it with a statement 
that provides for using the Limits of Acceptable Change (described in 
Forest Service General Technical Report INT-GTR-371 and other 
publications) or a similar system to establish carrying capacity, 
consistent with the nature and purposes of the CDNST and the applicable 
land management plan (final amendments to the CDNST Comprehensive Plan, 
Chapter IV(B)(9); FSM 2353.44b, para. 2f, in the final directives).

Monitoring; New FSM 2353.44b, Paragraphs 1c, 2g, and 3,in the Final 
Directives

    Comments: Respondents requested an increased emphasis on monitoring 
conditions on the CDNST.
    Response: The Agency has added several provisions on monitoring in 
the final directives. FSM 2353.44b, para. 1c, requires that the land 
management plan for an administrative unit through which the CDNST 
passes establish a monitoring program to evaluate the condition of the 
CDNST in the management area. FSM 2353.44b, para. 2g, requires each 
unit plan for the CDNST to establish monitoring programs to evaluate 
the site-specific conditions of the CDNST. FSM 2353.44b, para. 3, 
requires that implementation of a CDNST unit plan be monitored by 
establishing a program to evaluate and report on the overall condition 
of the segment of the CDNST that traverses that unit as related to the 
nature and purposes of the CDNST. Monitoring will ensure that the ROS 
for the primary uses of the CDNST allows for high-quality recreational 
experiences.

[[Page 51120]]

Scenery Management; Proposed FSM 2353.43, Paragraph 3, and FSM 2353.44, 
Paragraph 1 (Final Amendments to the CDNST Comprehensive Plan, Chapter 
IV(B)(4); FSM 2353.44b, Paragraph 7, in the Final Directives)

    Comments: Respondents supported the direction on scenery management 
in the proposed directives, but suggested more emphasis on middle 
ground and background scenic quality. Other respondents wanted the 
proposed directives to address restoration of degraded ecosystems.
    Response: For scenery management purposes, the CDNST is categorized 
as a concern level 1 route, with a scenic integrity objective as high 
or very high. The Forest Service's Scenery Management System (SMS) (FSM 
2382.1; Landscape Aesthetics: A Handbook for Scenery Management, 
Agricultural Handbook 701, 1995, http://www.fs.fed.us/cdt) and the 
Visual Management System (VMS) in Bureau of Land Management Manual 8400 
sufficiently address middle ground and background scenic quality. 
Therefore, additional scenery management direction in the final plan 
amendments and directives is unnecessary. The scenery and visual 
management objectives in the SMS and VMS provide for a high degree of 
protection and restoration of natural resources within the CDNST 
corridor.

Recreation Opportunity Spectrum; Proposed FSM 2353.43, Paragraph 4, and 
FSM 2353.44, Paragraph 2 (Final Amendments to the CDNST Comprehensive 
Plan, Chapter IV(B)(5); FSM 2353.44b, Paragraph 8, in the Final 
Directives)

    Comments: Respondents supported using the Recreation Opportunity 
Spectrum (ROS) in managing the CDNST. However, some respondents wanted 
the entire CDNST corridor to reflect primitive or semi-primitive 
conditions.
    One respondent stated that where a segment of the CDNST must be 
located in an ROS setting that is not primitive or semi-primitive, 
management guidelines for that segment should include as a long-term 
goal changing the setting to primitive or semi-primitive.
    Other respondents wanted the amended CDNST Comprehensive Plan and 
implementing directives to provide that when any new segment of the 
CDNST is classified as non-motorized in an area that has historically 
been motorized a replacement trail should be classified as motorized.
    Some respondents suggested that the CDNST Comprehensive Plan and 
implementing directives state that motorized use is incompatible with 
the nature and purposes of the CDNST.
    Response: The CDNST Comprehensive Plan amendments and implementing 
directives is to encourage location of the CDNST in primitive or semi-
primitive non-motorized areas, which will maximize the recreation 
potential of the areas along the CDNST. Management objectives for the 
setting and uses of the CDNST corridor will be further prescribed 
through land management planning to address desired future conditions. 
CDNST segments will be developed and managed according to ROS 
objectives prescribed through land management planning, guided by the 
amended CDNST Comprehensive Plan. The CDNST is a concern level 1 route 
with a scenic integrity objective of high or very high (final 
amendments to the CDNST Comprehensive Plan, Chapter IV(B)(4); FSM 
2353.44b, para. 7), which will help ensure that the ROS setting in the 
CDNST corridor will be maintained or improved.
    To address recreation needs and opportunities for all trail users, 
CDNST plans typically will be prepared in conjunction with travel 
management or similar site-specific plans. For clarity, the Agency has 
added a provision in the amended CDNST Comprehensive Plan, Chapter 
IV(B)(5), and in FSM 2353.44b, para. 8, of the final directives listing 
the recreation activities that are compatible with the nature and 
purposes of the CDNST, per the 1976 CDNST Study Report.
    Consistent with the National Trails System Act, the 1976 CDNST 
Study Report, and the 1977 CDNST Environmental Impact Statement, motor 
vehicle use is prohibited on the CDNST, other than in accordance with 
Chapter IV(B)(6) of the amended CDNST Comprehensive Plan and FSM 
2353.44b, para. 11, in the final directives.

Constructing Segments of the CDNST; Proposed FSM 2353.43, Paragraph 5 
(Removed From the Amended CDNST Comprehensive Plan and Final 
Directives)

    Comments: Several respondents expressed concern that the direction 
in proposed FSM 2353.43, para. 5, to limit construction of CDNST 
segments could affect the ability to select the optimum location for 
the CDNST and could adversely affect motor vehicle use. Another 
respondent requested that the CDNST be located on existing trails where 
they are adequate to meet the needs of the CDNST. Respondents also 
stated that the proposed amendments and directives should not diminish 
the ability to establish side and connecting trails for the CDNST.
    Response: The Agency has removed the direction regarding 
construction of CDNST segments from the amended CDNST Comprehensive 
Plan and final directives, since issues concerning development of the 
CDNST can be appropriately addressed through environmental analysis 
associated with land and resource management plans and site-specific 
plans.

Motor Vehicle Use; Proposed FSM 2353.43, Paragraph 6; Management of 
Motor Vehicle Use That May Be Allowed; Proposed FSM 2353.44, Paragraph 
4; Management of Motor Vehicle Use That Shall Be Allowed; Proposed FSM 
2353.44, Paragraph 5 (Final Amendments to the CDNST Comprehensive Plan, 
Chapter IV(B)(6); Consolidated into FSM 2353.44b, Paragraph 11, in the 
Final Directives)

    Comments: One respondent stated that the separate provisions in the 
proposed directives governing motor vehicle use that ``may be allowed'' 
versus motor vehicle use that ``shall be allowed'' were confusing, 
particularly since both provisions contained similar prerequisites for 
allowing motor vehicle use.
    One respondent stated that the National Trails System Act prohibits 
the use of motor vehicles by the public on National Scenic Trails and 
that the issue of motor vehicle use on these trails was muddied by the 
authorizing provision for the CDNST, which allows motor vehicle use on 
the CDNST in accordance with regulations promulgated by the appropriate 
Secretary.
    Several respondents expressed concern that allowing off-highway 
vehicle use on the CDNST would increase use conflicts and undermine the 
nature and purposes of the CDNST to provide high-quality hiking, 
horseback, and other non-motorized recreation opportunities. Another 
respondent believed that there would never be a situation where motor 
vehicle use on the CDNST would not substantially interfere with its 
nature and purposes. Another respondent commented that the proposed 
amendments to the CDNST Comprehensive Plan and accompanying directives 
needed to state that motor vehicle use is incompatible with the nature 
and purposes of the CDNST and that although motor vehicle use may be 
allowable on the CDNST in specific situations, it should be minimized 
to comply with the intent of the National Trails System Act. Another 
respondent

[[Page 51121]]

opposed granting exceptions to the Act's prohibition on motor vehicle 
use.
    Other respondents recognized that motor vehicle use may be 
permissible on certain segments of the CDNST in some situations. One 
respondent suggested that motor vehicle use could be allowed on the 
CDNST if necessary to meet emergencies. Other respondents supported 
motor vehicle use on the CDNST by land users, such as timber sale 
purchasers, as provided in the National Trails System Act.
    One respondent requested that the provisions regarding allowing 
preexisting motor vehicle use include as deciding factors the date of 
construction of the trail segment and the type of motor vehicle use, 
such as the vehicle class allowed on the segment. Another respondent 
believed that use of the term ``substantially'' in relation to other 
uses' interference with the nature and purposes of National Scenic 
Trails in section 7(c) of the National Trails System Act (16 U.S.C. 
1246(c)) demonstrates an intent to accommodate motorized use on 
National Scenic Trails where appropriate, as long as it does not impair 
the overall quality of the non-motorized purposes of the trail. In 
addition, one respondent interpreted this section of the Act to provide 
that the proper time for determining whether motor vehicle use has been 
allowed on a segment to be included in the CDNST is when it is added to 
the trail. Another respondent requested that the proposed amendments to 
the CDNST Comprehensive Plan and the proposed directives allow motor 
vehicle use where it existed as of the date of establishment of the 
CDNST, consistent with the 1985 CDNST Comprehensive Management Plan.
    Response: A fundamental purpose of the CDNST Comprehensive Plan 
amendments and their implementing directives is to address provisions 
in the National Trails System Act regarding motor vehicle use. Section 
7(c) of the National Trails System Act (16 U.S.C. 1246(c)) contains a 
prohibition on motor vehicle use on National Scenic Trails. However, 
section 7(c) also contains several exceptions to the prohibition. 
Notwithstanding section 7(c) of the Act, the authorizing provisions for 
the CDNST in section 5(a)(5) of the National Trails System Act (16 
U.S.C. 1244(a)(5)) allow motor vehicle use on roads that are 
established as segments of the CDNST, in accordance with regulations 
promulgated by the Forest Service at 36 CFR part 212, subparts B and C. 
The provisions governing motor vehicle use in the final amendments to 
the CDNST Comprehensive Plan and the final directives are consistent 
with sections 5(a)(5) and 7(c) of the National Trails System Act (16 
U.S.C. 1244(a)(5) and 1246(c)). Specifically, the final amendments and 
directives prohibit motor vehicle use on the CDNST, other than:

    (1) When necessary to meet emergencies;
    (2) When necessary to enable adjacent landowners or those with 
valid outstanding rights to have reasonable access to their lands or 
rights;
    (3) For the purpose of allowing private landowners who have 
agreed to include their lands in the CDNST by cooperative agreement 
to use or cross those lands or adjacent lands from time to time in 
accordance with Federal regulations;
    (4) On a motor vehicle route that crosses the CDNST, as long as 
that use will not substantially interfere with the nature and 
purposes of the CDNST;
    (5) When designated in accordance with 36 CFR Part 212, Subpart 
B, on National Forest System lands or is allowed on public lands and
    (a) The vehicle class and width were allowed on that segment of 
the CDNST prior to November 10, 1978, and the use will not 
substantially interfere with the nature and purposes of the CDNST or
    (b) That segment was constructed as a road prior to November 10, 
1978; or
    (6) In the case of over-snow vehicles, is allowed in accordance 
with 36 CFR Part 212, Subpart C, on National Forest System lands or 
is allowed on public lands and the use will not substantially 
interfere with the nature and purposes of the CDNST.

(Final amendments to the CDNST Comprehensive Plan, Chapter IV(B)(6); 
FSM 2353.44b, para. 11, in the final directives.)
    For clarity, the Agency has consolidated the provisions in the 
final amendments to the CDNST Comprehensive Plan and directives that 
govern motor vehicle use (final amendments to the CDNST Comprehensive 
Plan, Chapter IV(B)(6); FSM 2353.44b, para. 11, in the final 
directives). The first four provisions for allowing motor vehicle use 
are derived from section 7(c) of the National Trails System Act (16 
U.S.C. 1246(c)). The fifth and sixth provisions derive from the Forest 
Service's travel management regulation (36 CFR part 212, subparts B and 
C). The fifth provision takes into account preexisting motor vehicle 
use by vehicle class and width and uses the date of establishment of 
the CDNST as the reference point.
    To the extent appropriate, motor vehicle use on the CDNST will be 
addressed in land and resource management plans and site-specific 
plans.

Motor Vehicle Use Restrictions; Proposed FSM 2353.44b, Paragraph 6 
(Removed From the Final Amended CDNST Comprehensive Plan and 
Directives)

    Comments: Respondents were confused about the intent of this 
proposed direction. However, they generally supported mitigation of 
impacts from motor vehicle use. Some respondents believed that this 
provision was unnecessary because of the Forest Service's travel 
management rule.
    Response: This provision has been removed from the final CDNST 
Comprehensive Plan and directives. The Forest Service's travel 
management rule at 36 CFR parts 212 and 261 and its implementing 
directives provide adequate direction for management of motor vehicle 
use on the CDNST.

Locating the CDNST on Roads; Proposed FSM 2353.43, Paragraph 7 (Final 
Amendments to the CDNST Comprehensive Plan, Chapter IV(B)(5); FSM 
2353.44b, Paragraph 8, in the Final Directives)

    Comments: Many respondents stated that the CDNST should not be 
located on roads because roads are open to motor vehicle use, which is 
incompatible with the nature and purposes of the CDNST. One respondent 
stated that it might have been necessary, when Congress authorized the 
CDNST in 1978, to locate segments of the trail on motorized routes to 
maintain its continuity, but now it should be moved from these routes 
to permanently protected, non-motorized routes designed and built for 
use by hikers and equestrians. Another respondent stated that roads 
should be used for the CDNST only if no other practicable public right-
of-way is available.
    Some respondents were concerned about implementation of section 
5(a)(5) of the National Trails System Act (16 U.S.C. 1244(a)(5)), which 
provides that notwithstanding section 7(c) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 
1246(c)), which generally prohibits motor vehicle use on the CDNST, 
subject to certain exceptions, motor vehicle use on roads that are 
segments of the CDNST is permitted in accordance with regulations 
promulgated by the appropriate Secretary. Specifically, some 
respondents believed that an unintended consequence of the proposed 
plan amendments and directives could be to require an affirmative 
determination regarding motor vehicle use. Another respondent believed 
that the proposed plan and directives might unduly limit the discretion 
of the Secretary to

[[Page 51122]]

promulgate regulations governing motor vehicle use on CDNST road 
segments.
    Response: Consistent with the prohibition on motor vehicle use in 
section 7(c) of the National Trails System Act (16 U.S.C. 1246(c)), the 
final amendments to the CDNST Comprehensive Plan and the final 
directives provide that a CDNST segment may be located on a road only 
where it is primitive and offers recreational opportunities comparable 
to those provided by a trail with a Designed Use of Pack and Saddle 
Stock, provided that the CDNST may have to be located on or across 
motorized routes because of the inability to locate the trail elsewhere 
(final amendments to the CDNST Comprehensive Plan, Chapter IV(B)(6); 
FSM 2353.44b, para. 8).
    The Forest Service has promulgated regulations governing 
designation of roads, trails, and areas for motor vehicle use at 36 CFR 
part 212, subpart B. These regulations do not require designation of 
particular routes and areas for motor vehicle use. Rather, these 
regulations require creation of a system of routes and areas designated 
for motor vehicle use. Once routes and areas are designated for motor 
vehicle use on a particular administrative unit or ranger district, 
motor vehicle use that is inconsistent with those designations is 
prohibited (36 CFR 261.13).
    Consistent with these regulations, the final plan amendments and 
directives provide that use of motor vehicles other than over-snow 
vehicles is allowed on the CDNST when it is designated in accordance 
with 36 CFR part 212, subpart B, and (a) the designated vehicle class 
and width were allowed on that segment of the CDNST prior to November 
10, 1978 (the date of establishment of the CDNST), and the use will not 
substantially interfere with the nature and purposes of the CDNST; or 
(b) the designated segment was constructed as a road prior to November 
10, 1978. Use of over-snow vehicles is allowed on the CDNST consistent 
with 36 CFR part 212, subpart C.

Locating the CDNST in a Wilderness Area; Proposed FSM 2353.43, 
Paragraphs 8 (FSM 2353.44b, Paragraph 4, in the Final Directives)

    Comments: Respondents were mostly supportive of locating the CDNST 
in wilderness areas. One respondent suggested stating that generally 
the CDNST could be located in a wilderness area, so as to make it 
easier to avoid locating a segment in a wilderness area when it would 
result in potential adverse effects on natural resources. Some 
respondents expressed concerns regarding management of the CDNST in 
wilderness study areas and wilderness areas.
    Response: The final directives at FSM 2353.44b, para. 4, give trail 
managers discretion to locate the CDNST inside or outside a wilderness 
area. Recreational use in wilderness areas is governed by wilderness 
regulations and management prescriptions. In addition, the final 
directives provide that when the CDNST is located in a congressionally 
designated wilderness study area or an area recommended for designation 
as a wilderness area in the applicable land management plan, the CDNST 
must be managed so as to leave the area unimpaired for inclusion in the 
National Wilderness Preservation System.

Easements; Proposed FSM 2353.43, Paragraph 9 (FSM 2353.44b, Paragraphs 
5 and 6, in the Final Directives)

    Comments: Many respondents supported locating the CDNST within the 
scope of permanent easements. Another respondent stated that the 
proposed directives should require easements for the CDNST to be wide 
enough to allow for use and management of the trail.
    Response: The National Trails System Act limits the Forest 
Service's ability to locate the CDNST within the scope of easements. 
Specifically, section 5(a)(5) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1244(a)(5)) states 
that no land or interest in land outside the boundaries of a Federally 
administered area may be acquired by the Federal Government for the 
CDNST without the owner's consent. This limitation is included in 
``Acquisition of Non-Federal Interests in Land,'' Chapter IV(B)(3) of 
the final amended CDNST Comprehensive Plan and in FSM 2353.44b, para. 
5, of the final directives.
    However, the final directives state that where the CDNST crosses 
private property, it should be located within the scope of a permanent 
easement (FSM 5460.3). In addition, FSM 2353.44b, para. 5, in the final 
directives requires that CDNST access needs be addressed in assessing 
adjustments to land ownership in an administrative unit. FSM 2353.44b, 
para. 1a, requires the land management plan for an administrative unit 
through which the CDNST passes to establish a management area for the 
CDNST that is broad enough to protect natural, scenic, historic, and 
cultural features, except where the management area would overlap with 
a wilderness area. The scope of the management area will guide 
acquisition of easements for the CDNST.

Cooperative Agreements; new FSM 2353.44b, Paragraph 6, in the Final 
Directives

    Comments: Some respondents suggested addressing cooperative 
agreements with state and local governments in this section of the 
proposed directives.
    Response: The Agency has added a new provision at FSM 2353.44b, 
para. 6, which provides for execution of cooperative agreements with 
other Federal agencies and State, local, and tribal governments for 
CDNST purposes, in accordance with section 7(h) of the National Trails 
System Act (16 U.S.C. 1246(h)).

Designed Use; Proposed FSM 2353.43, Paragraph 10 (FSM 2353.44b, 
Paragraph 9, in the Final Directives)

    Comments: Respondents generally supported the direction on Designed 
Use in proposed FSM 2353.43, para. 10. Designed Use is the Managed Use 
that requires the most demanding design, construction, and maintenance 
parameters and that determines which design, construction, and 
maintenance parameters will apply to a trail (FSM 2353.05). A Managed 
Use is a mode of travel that is actively managed and appropriate on a 
trail, based on its design and management (FSM 2353.05).
    Some respondents expressed concerns about assigning a Designed Use 
of Hiker/Pedestrian to some segments of the CDNST and requested that 
all of the CDNST have a Designed Use of Pack and Saddle Stock. Some 
respondents expressed concerns regarding availability of water sources 
for hikers and equestrians along the CDNST.
    Response: The 1976 CDNST Study Report allows for some segments of 
the CDNST to have a Designed Use of Hiker/Pedestrian, and some segments 
with that Designed Use exist along the CDNST. However, the goal is for 
new CDNST segments to have a Designed Use of Pack and Saddle Stock. 
Consistent with this intent, FSM 2353.44b, para. 9 in the final 
directives, provides that segments of the CDNST generally should fall 
into Trail Class 2 or 3 and have a Designed Use of Pack and Saddle 
Stock, but that a CDNST segment may fall into Trail Class 1, 2, or 3 
and have a Designed Use of Hiker/Pedestrian where a substantial safety 
or resource concern exists or the direction for the management area 
provides only for hiker/pedestrian use. In addition, FSM 2353.44b, 
para. 9, in the final directives provides that where a CDNST segment 
has a Designed Use of Hiker/Pedestrian, trail managers must consider 
establishing side trails to accommodate

[[Page 51123]]

pack and saddle stock needs. With regard to available water sources, 
this same paragraph in the final directives provides that if the 
interval between natural water sources is excessive, trail managers 
must consider developing and protecting water sources for hikers and 
pack and saddle stock use.

Bicycle Use; Proposed FSM 2353.44, Paragraph 7 (Final Amendments to the 
CDNST Comprehensive Plan, Chapter IV(B)(5); FSM 2353.44b, Paragraph 10, 
in the Final Directives)

    Comments: One respondent stated that proposed FSM 2353.44, para. 7, 
adequately addressed mountain bike use where it cannot be avoided on 
the CDNST, but should establish a systematic framework for monitoring 
mountain bike use to determine thresholds that impair hiking and 
equestrian experiences. Several respondents requested that the proposed 
amendments to the CDNST Comprehensive Plan and directives address not 
only mountain bike use, but other non-motorized uses as well. Other 
respondents stated that the proposed amendments to the CDNST 
Comprehensive Plan should give all non-motorized uses consideration 
with respect to whether they are allowed on the CDNST.
    One respondent believed that mountain bike use on the CDNST always 
would substantially interfere with the quality of hiking and equestrian 
experiences and that substantial safety issues arise when all these 
uses are combined. Another respondent was concerned about cumulative 
effects from mountain bike use and stated that it would be difficult, 
if not impossible, to analyze effects if mountain bike use is 
considered segment by segment. Some respondents requested that the 
section on bicycle use be removed.
    Another respondent suggested that bicycling be described as an 
appropriate and established use on the CDNST that is consistent with 
the intent of Congress and the nature and purposes of the trail. Based 
on their understanding of the letter and spirit of the National Trails 
System Act, other respondents requested revising the proposed 
amendments to the CDNST Comprehensive Plan and directives to allow 
mountain bike use, except where the CDNST traverses a wilderness area.
    Response: Consistent with section 7(c) of the National Trails 
System Act (16 U.S.C. 1246(c)), the final amendments to the CDNST 
Comprehensive Plan, Chapter IV(B)(5), and the final directives at FSM 
2353.44b, para.10, provide that bicycle use may be allowed on the CDNST 
if the use is consistent with the applicable land and resource 
management plan and will not substantially interfere with the nature 
and purposes of the CDNST.
    Monitoring regarding the CDNST generally is addressed in FSM 
2353.44b, para. 1c, 2g, and 3, in the final directives. Other non-
motorized uses are addressed in Chapter IV(B)(5) in the amended CDNST 
Comprehensive Plan, and in FSM 2353.44b, para. 8, in the final 
directives, which states that backpacking, nature walking, day hiking, 
horseback riding, nature photography, mountain climbing, cross-country 
skiing, and snowshoeing are compatible with the nature and purposes of 
the CDNST.
    The amended CDNST Comprehensive Plan and its implementing 
directives do not make site-specific determinations regarding use of 
the CDNST. Rather, the amended plan and directives provide a framework 
for managing the CDNST. Mountain bike and other possible uses of the 
CDNST will be addressed through land management and unit plans.

Bicycle Use Mitigation; Proposed FSM 2353.44, Paragraph 8 (Removed From 
the Final Amended CDNST Comprehensive Plan and Directives)

    Comments: Some respondents agreed that the Forest Service should 
avoid management practices that promote bicycle use on the CDNST.
    Many other respondents did not support proposed FSM 2353.44, para. 
8. These respondent noted that bicycling use on non-wilderness segments 
of the CDNST deserves fair consideration and believed that there are 
many non-wilderness segments where bicycling could occur.
    Other respondents asked that this section be removed, since they 
believed that mitigation of mountain bike use on the CDNST should be 
addressed at the level of an administrative unit.
    Response: The Agency has removed this direction from the final 
amended CDNST Comprehensive Plan and directives, since mitigation of 
bicycle use can be adequately addressed through requisite environmental 
analysis, land management and unit plans, and monitoring of the CDNST.

General Comment and Responses

    Comments: One respondent believed that competitive running and 
mountain biking events on the CDNST are incompatible with high-quality 
scenic, primitive hiking and horseback riding opportunities.
    Response: The desirability of competitive events on the CDNST 
typically will be addressed through land and resource management plans 
and site-specific plans. In addition, competitive events that involve 
an entry fee or 75 or more people require a special use permit and are 
subject to environmental analysis, which will determine whether the 
proposed activity would substantially interfere with the nature and 
purposes of the CDNST.
    Comments: Respondents recommended defining ``affirmative 
determination,'' ``materially different,'' and ``substantially 
interfere.''
    Response: The term ``affirmative determination'' does not appear in 
the final amended CDNST Comprehensive Plan and directives. The Agency 
does not believe definitions for ``materially different'' and 
``substantially interfere'' are necessary or appropriate, as these 
terms are used in their ordinary sense and could apply in a variety of 
factual situations. These terms will be applied case specifically based 
on applicable land and resource management plans, as well as applicable 
carrying capacity and the nature and purposes of the CDNST.
    Comments: One respondent requested that the proposed amendments to 
the CDNST Comprehensive Plan and proposed directives be revised to 
comply with E.O. 13266, Activities to Promote Personal Fitness.
    Response: The Forest Service believes that the nature and purposes 
of the CDNST to provide for high-quality hiking and equestrian 
opportunities are consistent with E.O. 13266.

Regulatory Impact

    Comments: Some respondents believed that the proposed amendments to 
the CDNST Comprehensive Plan and the proposed directives would have a 
significant economic impact in two counties if mountain bikes were 
precluded from the CDNST.
    Response: Neither the proposed nor the final plan amendments and 
directives preclude mountain bike use on the CDNST. Rather, the final 
Comprehensive Plan amendments and directives state that bicycle use may 
be allowed on the CDNST if the use is consistent with the applicable 
land and resource management plan and will not substantially interfere 
with the nature and purposes of the CDNST (final amendments to the 
CDNST Comprehensive Plan, Chapter IV(B)(5), and FSM 2353.44b, para. 
10).

3. Regulatory Certifications

Environmental Impact

    The final amendments to the CDNST Comprehensive Plan and 
corresponding directives will provide guidance to

[[Page 51124]]

agency officials implementing the National Trails System Act. The final 
amendments are consistent with the nature and purposes of the CDNST 
identified in the 1976 CDNST Study Report and 1977 CDNST Final 
Environmental Impact Statement adopted by the Forest Service in 1981 
(40 FR 150). The final amendments and directives will be applied 
through land management planning and project decisions following 
requisite environmental analysis.
    Forest Service regulations at 36 CFR 220.6(d)(2) exclude from 
documentation in an environmental assessment or environmental impact 
statement ``rules, regulations, or policies to establish Service-wide 
administrative procedures, program processes, or instructions.'' The 
Forest Service has concluded that the final amendments and directives 
fall within this category of actions and that no extraordinary 
circumstances exist that require documentation in an environmental 
assessment or environmental impact statement.

Regulatory Impact

    The final amendments to the 1985 CDNST Comprehensive Plan and 
corresponding final directives at FSM 2350 have been reviewed under 
USDA procedures and E.O. 12866 on regulatory planning and review. The 
final amendments and directives will not have an annual effect of $100 
million or more on the economy, nor will they adversely affect 
productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health and 
safety, or State and local governments. The final amendments and 
directives will not interfere with any action taken or planned by 
another agency, nor will they raise new legal or policy issues. 
Finally, the final amendments and directives will not alter the 
budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs 
or the rights and obligations of beneficiaries of such programs. 
Accordingly, the final amendments and directives are not subject to 
review by the Office of Management and Budget under E.O. 12866.

Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis

    The Agency has considered the final amendments to the 1985 CDNST 
Comprehensive Plan and corresponding final directives at FSM 2350 in 
light of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 602 et seq.). The 
final amendments and directives will not have any effect on small 
entities as defined by the Regulatory Flexibility Act. The final 
amendments and directives will not directly affect small businesses, 
small organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions. Therefore, 
the Agency has determined that the final amendments and directives will 
not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act because the final 
amendments and directives will not impose record-keeping requirements 
on small entities; will not affect their competitive position in 
relation to large entities; and will not affect their cash flow, 
liquidity, or ability to remain in the market.

No Takings Implications

    The Agency has analyzed the amendments to the 1985 CDNST 
Comprehensive Plan and corresponding final directives at FSM 2350 in 
accordance with the principles and criteria contained in E.O. 12630. 
The Agency has been determined that the final amendments and directives 
will not pose the risk of a taking of private property.

Federalism and Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal 
Governments

    The Forest Service has considered the amendments to the 1985 CDNST 
Comprehensive Plan and corresponding final directives at FSM 2350 under 
the requirements of E.O. 13132 on federalism and has determined that 
the final amendments and directives conform with the federalism 
principles set out in this E.O.; will not impose any compliance costs 
on the States; and will not have substantial direct effects on the 
States, the relationship between the Federal government and the States, 
or the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various 
levels of government. Therefore, the Agency has determined that no 
further assessment of federalism implications is necessary. Moreover, 
the final amendments and directives will not have Tribal implications 
as defined by E.O. 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian 
Tribal Governments, and therefore advance consultation with Tribes is 
not required.

Energy Effects

    The Agency has reviewed E.O. 13211 on actions concerning 
regulations that significantly affect the energy supply and has 
determined that the final amendments to the 1985 CDNST Comprehensive 
Plan and corresponding final directives at FSM 2350 will not constitute 
a significant energy action as defined in the E.O.

Unfunded Mandates

    Pursuant to Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 
U.S.C. 1531-1538), the Agency has assessed the effects of the final 
amendments to the 1985 CDNST Comprehensive Plan and corresponding final 
directives at FSM 2350 on State, local, and Tribal governments and the 
private sector. The final amendments and directives will not compel the 
expenditure of $100 million or more by a State, local, or Tribal 
government or anyone in the private sector. Therefore, a statement 
under section 202 of the act is not required.

Controlling Paperwork Burdens on the Public

    The final amendments to the 1985 CDNST Comprehensive Plan and 
corresponding final directives at FSM 2350 do not contain any record-
keeping or reporting requirements or other information collection 
requirements as defined in 5 CFR part 1320 that are not already 
required by law or not already approved for use. Accordingly, the 
review provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 
3501 et seq.) and its implementing regulations at 5 CFR part 1320 do 
not apply.

4. Final Amendments to the CDNST Comprehensive Plan

    1. Nature and Purposes. For all chapters of the 1985 CDNST 
Comprehensive Plan, the Agency is revising the nature and purposes 
statement as follows:

    Administer the CDNST consistent with the nature and purposes for 
which this National Scenic Trail was established. The CDNST was 
established by an Act of Congress on November 10, 1978 (16 USC 
1244(a)). The nature and purposes of the CDNST are to provide for 
high-quality scenic, primitive hiking and horseback riding 
opportunities and to conserve natural, historic, and cultural 
resources along the CDNST corridor.

    2. Acquisition of Non-Federal Interests in Land. The Agency is 
removing in its entirety ``Rights-of-Way Acquisition on Non-Federal 
Lands,'' Chapter IV(B)(3), pages 40-44, in the 1985 CDNST Comprehensive 
Plan and replacing it with the following statement under ``Acquisition 
of Non-Federal Interests in Land,'' Chapter IV(B)(3), in the 2009 CDNST 
Comprehensive Plan:

    Do not acquire any non-federal land or interest in land for the 
CDNST without the owner's consent. Do not acquire in fee title more 
than an average of one quarter mile on either side of the CDNST.

    3. Visual Resource Management. The Agency is adding the following

[[Page 51125]]

statements under ``Visual Resource Management,'' Chapter IV(B)(4), in 
the 2009 CDNST Comprehensive Plan:

    Scenery along the CDNST may be managed using the Scenery 
Management System (FSM 2382.1; Landscape Aesthetics: A Handbook for 
Scenery Management, Agricultural Handbook 701, 1995, http://
www.fs.fed.us/cdt). The CDNST is a concern level 1 route, with a 
scenic integrity objective of high or very high, depending on the 
trail segment.

    4. Recreation Resource Management. The Agency is removing the 
following statement from pages 51-52 in the 1985 CDNST Comprehensive 
Plan:

    Each agency will manage the CDNST in accordance with the 
recreation management objectives and prescriptions set forth in 
their respective land and resource management plans for the specific 
management area through which the trail passes.

The Agency is adding the following statements under ``Recreation 
Resource Management Along the CDNST,'' Chapter IV(B)(5), in the 2009 
CDNST Comprehensive Plan:

    Manage the CDNST to provide high-quality scenic, primitive 
hiking and pack and saddle stock opportunities. Backpacking, nature 
walking, day hiking, horseback riding, nature photography, mountain 
climbing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing are compatible with 
the nature and purposes of the CDNST. Bicycle use may be allowed on 
the CDNST (16 U.S.C. 1246(c)) if the use is consistent with the 
applicable land and resource management plan and will not 
substantially interfere with the nature and purposes of the CDNST.
    Use the Recreation Opportunity Spectrum (ROS) in delineating and 
integrating recreation opportunities in managing the CDNST. Where 
possible, locate the CDNST in primitive or semi-primitive non-
motorized ROS classes, provided that the CDNST may have to traverse 
intermittently through more developed ROS classes to provide for 
continuous travel between the Montana-Canada and New-Mexico-Mexico 
borders.
    Locate a CDNST segment on a road only where it is primitive and 
offers recreational opportunities comparable to those provided by a 
trail with a Designed Use of Pack and Saddle Stock, provided that 
the CDNST may have to be located on or across motorized routes 
because of the inability to locate the trail elsewhere.

    5. Motor Vehicle Use (16 U.S.C. 1244(a)(5) and 1246(c); 36 CFR Part 
212, Subpart B). The Agency is removing in its entirety the direction 
on motor vehicle use in Chapter IV(B)(6), pages 55-58, of the 1985 
CDNST Comprehensive Plan.
    The Agency is adding the following direction under ``Motor Vehicle 
Use on the CDNST,'' Chapter IV(B)(6), in the 2009 CDNST Comprehensive 
Plan:

    Motor vehicle use by the general public is prohibited on the 
CDNST, unless that use is consistent with the applicable land 
management plan and:
    a. Is necessary to meet emergencies;
    b. Is necessary to enable adjacent landowners or those with 
valid outstanding rights to have reasonable access to their lands or 
rights;
    c. Is for the purpose of allowing private landowners who have 
agreed to include their lands in the CDNST by cooperative agreement 
to use or cross those lands or adjacent lands from time to time in 
accordance with Federal regulations;
    d. Is on a motor vehicle route that crosses the CDNST, as long 
as that use will not substantially interfere with the nature and 
purposes of the CDNST;
    e. Is designated in accordance with 36 CFR Part 212, Subpart B, 
on National Forest System lands or is allowed on public lands and:
    (1) The vehicle class and width were allowed on that segment of 
the CDNST prior to November 10, 1978, and the use will not 
substantially interfere with the nature and purposes of the CDNST or
    (2) That segment of the CDNST was constructed as a road prior to 
November 10, 1978; or
    f. In the case of over-snow vehicles, is allowed in accordance 
with 36 CFR Part 212, Subpart C, on National Forest System lands or 
is allowed on public lands and the use will not substantially 
interfere with the nature and purposes of the CDNST.

    6. Trail and Facility Standards. The Agency is removing the 
following statement from page 61 of the 1985 CDNST Comprehensive Plan:

    In keeping with the National Scenic Trails concept, the trail 
should be regarded as a simple facility for the hiker and horseman, 
and where already existing and appropriate, for trail bikers and 
recreational four-wheel drive use.

    The Agency is adding the following statement under ``Trail and 
Facility Standards,'' Chapter IV(B)(8), in the 2009 CDNST Comprehensive 
Plan:

    Any development of and associated facilities for the CDNST 
should be minimal and appropriate for hiker/pedestrian and pack and 
saddle stock use.

    7. Carrying Capacity. The Agency is removing the definition of 
``carrying capacity'' from page E-4 and the following statement from 
page 69 of the 1985 CDNST Comprehensive Plan:

    Forest Service and BLM managers will use the carrying capacity 
guidelines respectively, developed for each Recreation Opportunity 
Spectrum class through with the CDNST passes.

    The Agency is adding the following statements under ``Carrying 
Capacity,'' Chapter IV(B)(9), in the 2009 CDNST Comprehensive Plan:

    Establish a carrying capacity for the CDNST that accommodates 
its nature and purposes. The Limits of Acceptable Change or a 
similar system may be used for this purpose.

    8. Inconsistencies. To the extent there is any inconsistency 
between the foregoing revisions and any other provisions in the 1985 
CDNST Comprehensive Plan, the foregoing revisions control.

5. Final Amendments to FSM 2350

    The final directives implementing the amendments to the 1985 CDNST 
Comprehensive Plan as applied to National Forest System lands are 
posted at http://www.fs.fed.us/cdt. The FSM can be found on the 
Internet at http://www.fs.fed.us/im/directives/fsm/2300/2350.doc. The 
final directives add a reference to the CDNST Comprehensive Plan as an 
authority in FSM 2353.01d; add administration of the CDNST as a 
responsibility of forest and grassland supervisors in FSM 2353.04i, 
para. 13; add the nature and purposes of the CDNST in FSM 2353.42; and 
add detailed direction in FSM 2353.44b governing implementation of the 
CDNST on National Forest System lands.

    Approved: September 24, 2009.
 Hank Kashdan,
 Associate Chief, Forest Service.
[FR Doc. E9-23873 Filed 10-2-09; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-11-P