Archive for July, 2012

Yellowstone Releases Winter Use Plan Draft SEIS

Posted on July 11th, 2012 in Sledder Featured Article, Sledder News

Public Meetings Scheduled

The National Park Service (NPS) has just announced the release of the Draft Winter Use Plan and Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (Draft Plan/DSEIS) for Yellowstone National Park for public review and comment. The Winter Use Plan DSEIS analyzes a wide range of alternatives. BRC and our partners will be reviewing the plan and DSEIS and will have suggested comments soon.

In the Park Service Media Release, http://www.sharetrails.org/uploads/045-Yellowstone_To_Issue_Updated_Winter_Use_Plan_Proposal.pdf, the Preferred Alternative and the other three alternatives are discussed. Important to note is the fact that in each of the three action alternatives there is a call for a two-year transition period with the Park operating winter use under the same rules and use levels as we have since 2008.

The actual details on the Draft SEIS, an electronic copy and a form for submitting public comments on the document electronically via the Internet are available at the National Park Service’s Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/yell. Once there, click on the “2012 Supplemental Winter Use Plan EIS” link. You can request a copy of the Draft SEIS in compact disc or printed paper form, and submit written, hard copy comments by mail to: National Park Service, Management Assistant’s Office, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190. Comments may be submitted in writing through the PEPC website, in person or by mail. Comments will not be accepted over the phone, by fax or email. No bulk comments will be accepted.

The document is now open for public review and comment. The comment period will close 45 days after the EPA publishes a “Notice of Availability” of the Draft SEIS in the Federal Register. That date will be announced soon. A separate, proposed draft federal rule that would be used to implement the park’s preferred alternative, if chosen, will be released for its own separate public review and comment period after the final SEIS is release this fall.

The park will hold four public open house meetings in communities near the park.

 

PUBLIC MEETING SCHEDULE

• Monday, July 16, 2012 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. MDT

The Virginian Lodge & Convention Center, 750 W. Broadway, Jackson, WY 83001

• Tuesday, July 17, 2012 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. MDT

Holiday Inn, 315 Yellowstone Avenue, West Yellowstone, MT 59758

• Wednesday, July 18, 2012 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. MDT

Wingate by Wyndham, 2305 Catron Street, Bozeman, MT 59715

• Thursday July 19, 2012 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. EDT

Holiday Inn at the Buffalo Bill Village Resort, 1701 Sheridan Ave., Cody, WY 82414

 

The National Park Service intends to have a final EIS, a Record of Decision and a final rule guiding winter use in place before the start of the 2012-2013 winter season.

Recreational Trails Program Reauthorized

Posted on July 10th, 2012 in Sledder News, Uncategorized

Pocatello, ID (July 9, 2012) — The BlueRibbon Coalition today expressed its appreciation that the two-year transportation bill, approved by Congress at the end of June and signed by the President last Friday, July 6, included reauthorization of the Recreational Trails Program (RTP). The bill provides $85 million dollars annually for the next two fiscal years.

Since its inception and authorization in the early 90s, the RTP has served as a model of success as a funding program for trails nation-wide. RTP derives its funding from that portion of gas tax that is used “off-highway” by the motorized recreation community. The “user-pay, user-benefit” RTP model has provided critical funding for both motorized and non-motorized trails for over two decades.

Funding through the program is allocated to state managed RTP grant programs, helping to ensure the viability of trails programs that contribute significantly to state and local economies. According to a recent independent study, outdoor recreation is a $646 billion dollar industry providing millions of jobs, tax revenue, and economic ripple effect that extends well beyond the direct economic impact to local communities.

Greg Mumm, Executive Director of the BlueRibbon Coalition said, “The fact that the Recreational Trails Program was specifically included in the transportation bill says a great deal to the value of the program. It is also a testament to the resolve and hard work of all those individuals and organizations, both motorized and non-motorized, who worked tirelessly together through the Coalition of Recreational Trails (CRT) to ensure that it was part of the bill.”

Mumm continued, “We are all especially grateful to those champions in Congress, including Senator Klobuchar, Representative Petri, Representative Michaud, and others, who worked so hard to make certain the Program was included in the final bill.”

The language of this latest reauthorization of the RTP does include a new provision for individual states to opt out of the program, leaving some work still necessary to secure each state’s participation. However, advocates of the program are confident that states recognize the importance of the program for the health and wellbeing of both their citizens and their economy.