[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 248 (Tuesday, December 28, 2010)]
[Pages 81640-81641]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-32549]



National Park Service

[NPS-SER-CAHA-1110-6213; 2310-0003-422]

Record of Decision

AGENCY: National Park Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of Availability of the Record of Decision on the Final 
Environmental Impact Statement/Cape Hatteras National Seashore Off-Road 
Vehicle Management Plan.


SUMMARY: Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 42 
U.S.C. 4332(2)(C), and the Council on Environmental Quality regulations 
(40 CFR Parts 1500-1508), the Department of the Interior, National Park 
Service (NPS) has prepared and approved a Record of Decision (ROD) for 
the Final Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS) for the Cape 
Hatteras National Seashore (Seashore) Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) Management 
    The ROD documents the decision by the NPS to implement Alternative 
F: NPS Preferred Alternative (the ``selected action'').
    The selected action is necessary to regulate ORV use at the 
Seashore in a manner that is consistent with applicable law, and 
appropriately addresses resource protection (including protected, 
threatened, or endangered species), potential conflicts among the 
various Seashore users, and visitor safety. The selected action 
provides the basis for a proposed special regulation for ORV use at the 
Seashore. Section 4.10(b) of the NPS regulations in Title 36 of the 
Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), which implements Executive Orders 
11644 and 11989, prohibits ORV use except on routes and areas 
designated in a special regulation. The ORV plan and special regulation 
are necessary to provide continued visitor access through the use of 
ORVs. The intended effects or objectives of this action are to:
     Minimize impacts from ORV use to soils and topographic 
features, for example, dunes, ocean beach, wetlands, tidal flats, and 
other features;
     Provide protection for threatened, endangered, and other 
protected species (e.g., state-listed species) and their habitats, and 
minimize impacts related to ORV and other uses as required by laws and 
policies, such as the Endangered Species Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty 
Act, and NPS laws and management policies;
     Minimize impacts to native plant species from ORV use;
     Minimize impacts to wildlife species and their habitats 
from ORV use;
     Protect cultural resources such as shipwrecks, 
archeological sites, and cultural landscapes from impacts related to 
ORV use;
     Ensure that ORV operators are informed about the rules and 
regulations regarding ORV use at the Seashore;
     Manage ORV use to allow for a variety of visitor use 
     Minimize conflicts between ORV use and other uses;
     Ensure that ORV management promotes the safety of all 
     Identify operational needs and costs to fully implement an 
ORV management plan;
     Identify potential sources of funding necessary to 
implement an ORV management plan;
     Provide consistent guidelines, according to site 
conditions, for ORV routes, ramps, and signage;
     Identify criteria to designate ORV use areas and routes;
     Establish ORV management practices and procedures that 
have the ability to adapt in response to changes in the Seashore's 
dynamic physical and biological environment;
     Establish a civic engagement component for ORV management;
     Establish procedures for prompt and efficient public 
notification of beach access status, including any temporary ORV use 
restrictions, for such things as ramp maintenance, resource and public 
safety closures, storm events, etc;
     Build stewardship through public awareness and 
understanding of NPS resource management and visitor use policies and 
responsibilities as they pertain to the Seashore and ORV management.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mike Murray, Superintendent, Cape

[[Page 81641]]

Hatteras National Seashore, 1401 National Park Drive, Manteo, NC 27954. 
Telephone: (252) 473-2111 ext. 148.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under the selected action, the NPS will 
propose a special regulation based on the ROD that provides a balanced 
distribution of beach miles designated as ORV routes and vehicle-free 
areas, while providing for the protection of park resources. Driving 
will be prohibited off-road in the Seashore except on designated 
routes, and an ORV permit, with a short educational component, will be 
required for ORV operators. To operate off-road, ORVs must meet 
required vehicle characteristics and carry required equipment. The NPS 
will implement measures for pedestrian safety. When carrying capacity 
is reached or exceeded on an ORV route, it will be temporarily closed 
to additional vehicles. To support access to both vehicle-free areas 
and designated ORV routes, the NPS will construct new parking areas and 
pedestrian access trails, new or relocated ORV ramps, and improvements 
and additions to the interdunal road system. The Superintendent may 
issue a special use permit in certain limited circumstances for ORV use 
in vehicle-free areas. Vehicles operated off-road under the terms of a 
commercial fishing permit or commercial use authorization (CUA) issued 
by the superintendent would not require a separate ORV permit.
    The NPS will manage for protected species using the measures 
identified in the Final EIS. These include pre-nesting closures and 
standard buffers for shorebirds and night driving restrictions during 
the sea turtle nesting season. The NPS will employ periodic review and 
an adaptive management strategy, using monitoring and the systematic 
evaluation of results to determine if adjustments in management are 
necessary to reach the desired future condition for the threatened, 
endangered, state-listed, and special status species as described in 
the FEIS.
    The ROD briefly discusses the selected action, five other 
alternatives considered, the basis for the decision, and measures to 
minimize impacts and address public concerns. The requisite no-action 
``wait period'' before approval of the ROD was initiated November 19, 
2010 with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Federal Register 
notification of the filing of the Final EIS. As soon as practicable 
after the publication of the Notice of Availability and Summary of the 
ROD in the Federal Register, the Seashore will publish in the Federal 
Register for public comment a proposed special regulation to designate 
ORV routes and regulate the use of ORVs in the Seashore. The ROD is not 
the final agency action for those elements of the plan that require 
promulgation of a regulation to be effective; promulgation of the 
regulation will constitute the final agency action for such elements of 
the plan. Moreover, the Seashore will not begin to implement the 
selected action until after promulgation of the final special 
regulation. Once the final special regulation is in effect, the 
Seashore will implement the selected action, as described in the 
preferred alternative (alternative F) presented in the final plan/EIS 
and in the ROD.
    Interested parties desiring to review the ROD may access it on the 
NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment Web site at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/caha or may obtain a copy by contacting Mike 
Murray, Superintendent, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, 1401 National 
Park Drive, Manteo, NC 27954. Telephone: (252) 473-2111 ext. 148.

    Authority:  The authority for publishing this notice is 40 CFR 

    The responsible official for this ROD is the Regional Director, 
Southeast Region, National Park Service, 100 Alabama Street, SW., 1924 
Building, Atlanta, Georgia 30303.

Gordon Wissinger,
Acting Regional Director, Southeast Region, National Park Service.
[FR Doc. 2010-32549 Filed 12-27-10; 8:45 am]