[Federal Register: November 14, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 220)]
[Page 69018]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

National Wildlife Refuge System; Big Game Guide Permits; 
Solicitations and Extensions

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of solicitation of applications for refuge big game 
guide permits and extension of existing refuge permits.


SUMMARY: The Fish and Wildlife Service is soliciting proposals to 
conduct commercial big game guide services on National Wildlife Refuges 
in Alaska for a 5-year period beginning in 2004. We are also providing 
a 6-month extension of existing big game guide permits.

DATES: The application period opens November 14, 2002. Applications 
must be received at the address indicated below by 4 p.m., Friday, 
February 28, 2003.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:  Tony Booth, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Division of Visitor Services and Communications, 1011 East 
Tudor Road MS 235, Anchorage, Alaska, 99503; telephone (907) 786-3357; 
e-mail tony--booth@fws.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Fish and Wildlife Service is requesting 
proposals to conduct commercial big game guide services within 
designated guide use areas in each of the National Wildlife Refuges in 
Alaska. The Service will award special use permits to successful 
applicants authorizing them to provide commercial guide services to the 
public in specific refuge guide use areas for the period of January 1, 
2004, through December 31, 2008. We will award the permits through a 
competitive selection process in which qualified big game guides may 
apply for specific refuge areas offered by the Service. Each 
application or proposal will be evaluated and scored/ranked according 
to evaluation criteria and selection factors developed by the Service.
    The application period will begin on the date specified in the 
DATES section near the beginning of this notice. We will send a letter 
to all registered big game guides in the State of Alaska providing 
information on the guide areas being offered and application 
instructions. We are also publishing notices in Anchorage and Fairbanks 
newspapers that provide general circulation in Alaska. Applications are 
available to any interested party by calling or writing to the above 
address. Applicants must postmark their proposals or hand deliver them 
to the above address by Friday, February 28, 2003.
    The Service is also providing notice that we are extending the 
expiration date of existing Alaska National Wildlife Refuge big game 
guide permits and the competitive guide selection process for 6 months. 
This 6-month extension will put all permits on a calendar year cycle. 
The big game guide permits currently in effect for the refuge use areas 
being offered will expire on June 30, 2003. We are extending the 
expiration date of these permits to December 31, 2003. We are moving 
the effective date for new guide permits from July 1, 2003, to January 
1, 2004.
    The Service issued 12 big game guide permits under the competitive 
selection process in 1999 to fill vacant guide use areas where we did 
not renew permits. These permits are slated to expire on June 30, 2004. 
This notice extends the terms of these permits to December 31, 2004, to 
make them consistent with the calendar year cycle as well. The new 
permit cycle will be consistent with most other State and Federal 
licensing and permitting requirements for Alaska big game guides. The 
State of Alaska Division of Occupational Licensing administers hunting 
guide and transporter licenses on a calendar year basis.
    The extension in the selection process was also necessary to allow 
the Service to extend the public review period for the proposed 
revisions of the evaluation factors and guidance that we will use to 
score and rank guide applications. This was done in response to public 
requests, and to provide a longer and more reasonable application 
period for big game guide permits. The extension of the permitting 
process will accommodate flexibility to extend the permit application 
deadline further into the winter, well after the fall hunting season, 
and thereby allow guides more reasonable time to prepare their 
applications during the slower time of year for the guiding industry.
    Alaska refuge permit regulations (50 CFR part 36.41(e)(10)) require 
the Service to issue competitively awarded permits for 5-year terms 
(except where permits are issued to fill vacancies occurring during a 
scheduled award cycle). The regulations require the refuge manager to 
renew the permits noncompetitively for 5 additional years, if the 
permittee applies for the renewal, and has maintained a satisfactory 
record of performance and complied with all applicable permit terms and 
conditions. The regulations state that after one renewal the Service 
will not extend or noncompetitively renew another permit. We are 
providing 6-month extensions to all existing guide permits, in addition 
to the 5-year renewals cited above. Therefore, the 6-month extensions 
require a one time waiver of the Alaska refuge permit regulations.

    Dated: August 29, 2002.
David B. Allen,
Regional Director.
[FR Doc. 02-28871 Filed 11-13-02; 8:45 am]