[Federal Register Volume 63, Number 69 (Friday, April 10, 1998)]
[Page 17813]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 98-9453]

                                                Federal Register

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Federal Register / Vol. 63, No. 69 / Friday, April 10, 1998 / 

[[Page 17813]]



Forest Service

Analysis of Veteran/Boulder Project Area, Black Hills National 
Forest, Spearfish/Nemo Ranger District, Lawrence and Meade Counties, SD

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare environmental impact statement.


SUMMARY: Pursuant to 36 CFR 219.10(g), the District Ranger of the 
Spearfish/Nemo Ranger District, Black Hills National Forest, gives 
notice of the agency's intent to prepare an environmental impact 
statement for the analysis of the Veteran/Boulder Project Area. The 
responsible official for this project is John C. Twiss, Forest 
Supervisor, Black Hills National Forest.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to District Ranger, Spearfish/Nemo 
Ranger District, Black Hills National Forest, 2014 N. Main, Spearfish, 
SD 57783.

DATES: This project schedule is as follows: File Draft EIS--May 1998 
File Final EIS and Record of Decision signature--August 1998.

Interdisciplinary Team Leader, 605-642-4622. Additional information, 
such as maps, scoping summary and list of issues identified through the 
scoping process can be obtained by written request to the Spearfish 
Ranger District office, or by phone at the above address and phone 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Timber harvest and associated activities 
within the Veteran/Boulder Project Area (27,463 acres) is proposed by 
the Spearfish/Nemo Ranger District. The 1997 Revised Land and Resource 
Management Plan (Forest Plan), which guides management of the Black 
Hills National Forest, identifies an allowable sale quantity (ASQ) of 
timber volume and a desired future condition of the Forest that we are 
trying to achieve sometime in the future. The planning team has 
identified that there is a need, and opportunities exist, for 
activities which would move the project area toward the Desired Future 
Condition. Proposed activities include about 3700 acres of timber 
harvest, 2000 acres of prescribed burning, 9 miles of new road 
construction, 35 miles of road reconstruction, and about 65 miles of 
roads to be closed to motor vehicles. The project is predicted to 
generate about 15 million board feet of commercial timber and is 
intended to emphasize big game habitat and production of timber. It 
will also enhance hardwood stands and meadows to maintain diversity, 
create additional forage for big game, and treat pine stands to improve 
forest health.
    This project area includes Beaver Park, an inventoried (RARE II) 
roadless area. The Record of Decision (ROD) for the 1997 Forest Plan 
did not recommend wilderness designation for Beaver Park, and placed 
this area into 4 different management emphasis areas. The majority of 
the area (2,637 acres) is to be managed for Backcountry Non-motorized 
Recreation, and is not part of the landbase considered suitable for 
timber harvest. Another 106 acres was placed into the Sturgis 
Experimental Watershed, an area set aside for watershed research, and 
is also not part of the suitable landbase. The remaining area was 
placed into the landbase considered suitable for timber harvest; 1,795 
acres are to be managed for Limited Motorized Use and Forest Production 
Emphasis, and 571 acres are to be managed for Big Game Winter Range 
    This proposal does include timber harvest and new road construction 
within a portion of the former RARE II area, now to be managed for 
Limited Motorized Use and Forest Product Emphasis. Most of the known 
sites of mountain pine beetle infestations occurring within this 
project area are located within this management emphasis area.
    The EIS will analyze the Proposed Action, a No Action Alternative 
and a third alternative that would not treat any area within the former 
RARE II boundary, including areas infested with mountain pine beetles.
    The comment period on the draft environmental impact statement will 
be a minimum of 45 days from the date the Environmental Protection 
Agency publishes the notice of availability in the Federal Register.
    The Forest Service believes, at this early stage, it is important 
to give reviewers notice of several court rulings related to public 
participation in the environmental review process. First, reviewers of 
draft environmental impact statements must structure their 
participation in the environmental review of the proposal so that it is 
meaningful and alerts an agency to the reviewer's position and 
contentions. Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Corp. v. NRDC, 435 U.S. 519, 
553 (1978). Also, environmental objections that could be raised at the 
draft environmental impact statement stage but that are not raised 
until after completion of the final environmental impact statement may 
be waived or dismissed by the courts. City of Angoon v. Hodel, 803 F.2d 
1016, 1022 (9th Cir. 1986) and Wisconsin Heritages, Inc. v. Harris, 490 
F. Supp. 1334, 1338 (E.D. Wis. 1980). Because of these court rulings, 
it is very important that those interested in this proposed action 
participate by the close of the 45 day comment period so that 
substantive comments and objections are made available to the Forest 
Service at a time when it can meaningfully consider them and respond to 
them in the final environmental impact statement.
    To assist the Forest Service in identifying and considering issues 
and concerns on the proposed action, comments on the draft 
environmental impact statement should be as specific as possible. It is 
also helpful if comments refer to specific pages or chapters of the 
draft statement. Comments may also address the adequacy of the draft 
environmental impact statement or the merits of the alternatives 
formulated and discussed in the statement. Reviewers may wish to refer 
to the Council on Environmental Quality Regulations for implementing 
the procedural provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act at 
40 CFR 1503.3 in addressing these points.

    Dated: April 1, 1998.
J. Thomas Millard,
District Ranger.
[FR Doc. 98-9453 Filed 4-9-98; 8:45 am]