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Nabesna Area ORV Regulations Proposed by Wrangell St Elias

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Date: January 23, 2014

Copper Center, Alaska -  On January 15 The National Park Service (NPS) published in the Federal Register a regulation package for the management of off-road vehicle (ORV) use in the Nabesna District of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve (WRST). The regulation package is supported by the Nabesna Off-Road Vehicle Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Record of Decision (ROD). The ROD was signed on December 14, 2011 and included: 1) Improvement of 65 miles of trail; 2) permitting of recreational ORV use on improved trails in the national preserve; 3) establishment of ORV weight limits; 4) designation of trails in designated Wilderness within the Nabesna District and requiring subsistence ORV users to stay on designated trails (with allowance for game retrieval); and 5) establishment of trail monitoring.

The Record of Decision followed a four-year planning process that included intensive public involvement. During the planning process, NPS held and attended public meetings with other federal agencies, state agencies, Native corporations, tribal councils, environmental organizations, citizens groups, and subsistence advisory bodies to discuss the ORV Management Plan/EIS. Following the Record of Decision in late 2011, the park has continued to inform involved stakeholders regarding the status of the special regulation.

The regulation package includes the following: 1) designation of trails in the Nabesna District of the National Preserve where motor vehicles may be used off park roads for recreational purposes; 2) prohibition of the use of certain types of vehicles based upon size and weight; and 3) designation of trail corridors in designated wilderness for the use of Off- Road Vehicles for subsistence. The intended effect of this rule is to carefully manage ORV use in the Nabesna District of Wrangell-St. Elias to protect and preserve natural and cultural resources and natural processes, to provide a variety of visitor use experiences while minimizing conflicts among various users, and to provide reasonable access to local federally qualified subsistence users.

The Federal Register notice is available for public review and comment for 60 days. You can access the Federal Register notice by going to the following website: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-01-15/pdf/2014-00491.pdf

Comments on the special regulation must be made by March 17, 2014. Please follow the instructions provided in the Federal Register notice to make comments.

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