[Federal Register: August 14, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 156)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 46416-46423]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Forest Service

36 CFR Part 242


Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 100

RIN 1018-AT99

Subsistence Management Regulations for Public Lands in Alaska, 
Subpart C; Nonrural Determinations

AGENCIES: Forest Service, Agriculture; Fish and Wildlife Service, 

ACTION: Proposed rule.


SUMMARY: This rule would revise the list of nonrural areas identified 
by the Federal Subsistence Board (Board, we, us). Areas determined to 
be nonrural are not eligible to participate in the Federal Subsistence 
Management Program on Federal public lands in Alaska. We propose to 
change Adak's status to rural. We also propose to add Prudhoe Bay and 
the Kodiak Area, including the City of Kodiak, the Mill Bay area, 
Womens Bay, Bell's Flats, and the Coast Guard Station to the list of 
nonrural areas. The following areas would continue to be nonrural, but 
we propose changes in their boundaries: the Kenai Area; the Wasilla/
Palmer Area, including Point McKenzie; the Homer Area, including Fritz 
Creek East (except Voznesenka) and the North Fork Road area; and the 
Ketchikan Area. We propose no other changes in status. However, new 
information could lead to changes not proposed at this time.

DATES: We must receive your written public comments no later than 
October 27, 2006.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments electronically to 
Subsistence@fws.gov. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for file format and 

other information about electronic filing. You may also submit written 
comments to the Office of Subsistence Management, 3601 C Street, Suite 
1030, Anchorage, Alaska 99503.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Chair, Federal Subsistence Board, c/o 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Attention: Pete Probasco, Office of 
Subsistence Management; (907) 786-3888. For questions specific to 
National Forest System lands, contact Steve Kessler, Regional 
Subsistence Program Leader, USDA, Forest Service, Alaska Region, (907) 



    Electronic filing of comments is preferred: You may submit 
electronic comments and other data to Subsistence@fws.gov. Please 
submit as MS Word or Adobe Acrobat (PDF) files, avoiding the use of any 
special characters and any form of encryption.


    In Title VIII of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation 
Act (ANILCA) (16 U.S.C. 3111-3126), Congress found that ``the situation 
in Alaska is unique in that, in most cases, no practical alternative 
means are available to replace the food supplies and other items 
gathered from fish and wildlife which supply rural residents dependent 
on subsistence uses * * *'' and that ``continuation of the opportunity 
for subsistence uses of resources on public and other lands in Alaska 
is threatened * * *.'' As a result, Title VIII requires, among other 
things, that the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of 
Agriculture (Secretaries) implement a program to provide rural Alaska 
residents a priority for the taking of fish and wildlife on public 
lands in Alaska for subsistence uses, unless the State of Alaska enacts 
and implements laws of general applicability that are consistent with 
ANILCA and that provide for the subsistence definition, priority, and 
participation specified in sections 803, 804, and 805 of ANILCA.

[[Page 46417]]

    The State implemented a program that the Department of the Interior 
previously found to be consistent with ANILCA. However, in December 
1989, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled in McDowell v. State of Alaska 
that the rural priority in the State subsistence statute violated the 
Alaska Constitution. The Court's ruling in McDowell caused the State to 
delete the rural priority from the subsistence statute which therefore 
negated State compliance with ANILCA. The Court stayed the effect of 
the decision until July 1, 1990. As a result of the McDowell decision, 
the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture 
(Departments) assumed, on July 1, 1990, responsibility for 
implementation of Title VIII of ANILCA on public lands. On June 29, 
1990, the Departments published the Temporary Subsistence Management 
Regulations for Public Lands in Alaska in the Federal Register (55 FR 
27114). Permanent regulations were jointly published on May 29, 1992 
(57 FR 22940), and have been amended since then.
    As a result of this joint process between Interior and Agriculture, 
these regulations can be found in the titles for Agriculture and 
Interior in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) both in title 36, 
``Parks, Forests, and Public Property,'' and title 50, ``Wildlife and 
Fisheries,'' at 36 CFR 242.1-28 and 50 CFR 100.1-28, respectively. The 
regulations contain the following subparts: Subpart A, General 
Provisions; Subpart B, Program Structure; Subpart C, Board 
Determinations; and Subpart D, Subsistence Taking of Fish and Wildlife.
    Consistent with Subparts A, B, and C of these regulations, as 
revised May 7, 2002 (67 FR 30559), and December 27, 2005 (70 FR 76400), 
the Departments established a Federal Subsistence Board (Board) to 
administer the Federal Subsistence Management Program, as established 
by the Secretaries. The Board's composition includes a Chair appointed 
by the Secretary of the Interior with concurrence of the Secretary of 
Agriculture; the Alaska Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service; the Alaska Regional Director, U.S. National Park Service; the 
Alaska State Director, U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM); the Alaska 
Regional Director, U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs; and the Alaska 
Regional Forester, USDA Forest Service. Through the Board, these 
agencies participate in the development of regulations for Subparts A, 
B, and C, and the annual Subpart D regulations.

Rural Determination Process

    With a Federal Register notice on October 5, 1990 (55 FR 40897), 
the newly established Federal Subsistence Board initiated the 
preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement as a vehicle for 
widespread public review and participation in the development of the 
final temporary regulations. The rural determination process was 
included, and subsequently on November 23, 1990 (55 FR 48877), the 
Board published another notice in the Federal Register explaining the 
proposed Federal process for making rural determinations, the criteria 
to be used, and the application of those criteria in preliminary 
determinations. Public meetings were held in approximately 56 Alaskan 
communities, specifically to solicit comments on the proposed Federal 
Subsistence Management Program. On December 17, 1990, the Board adopted 
final rural and nonrural determinations, which were published on 
January 3, 1991 (56 FR 236). Final programmatic regulations were 
published on May 29, 1992, with only slight variations in the rural 
determination process (57 FR 22940).
    Federal subsistence regulations require that the rural/nonrural 
status of communities or areas be reviewed every 10 years, beginning 
with the availability of the 2000 census data. The Board evaluated 
several options for conducting the review and decided to adopt an 
approach similar to that taken in 1990, which used criteria established 
in Federal subsistence regulations. The review was conducted with an 
emphasis on what has changed since 1990.
    Although the process uses data from the 2000 census for its review, 
some data were not compiled and available until 2005. Data from the 
Alaska Department of Labor were used to supplement the census data.
    During February-July 2005, the staff of the Federal Subsistence 
Management Program conducted an initial review of the rural status of 
Alaska communities, looking at the 2000 census data for each community 
or area with an emphasis on what had changed since 1990. From this 
initial review, staff compiled a report that included a proposed list 
of communities and areas for which further analysis appeared warranted. 
In addition, the report included the method used to develop this list. 
In August-October 2005, the public and Federal Subsistence Regional 
Advisory Councils were invited to comment on the results of this 
initial review.
    At a meeting in Anchorage on December 6-7, 2005, the Board took 
public testimony and determined that additional information was needed 
on 10 communities and areas before it decided upon any potential 
     For three communities, analysis was focused on evaluation 
of rural/nonrural status, as follows:
    Kodiak, Adak, and Prudhoe Bay: Currently Kodiak and Prudhoe Bay are 
considered rural, and Adak is considered nonrural. These three 
communities were further analyzed as to their rural/nonrural status.
     For five nonrural groupings of communities and areas, 
further analysis evaluated the possibility of excluding or including 
places, as follows:
    Fairbanks North Star Borough: Evaluate whether to continue using 
the entire borough as the nonrural area, or separate some outlying 
areas and evaluate their rural/nonrural status independently.
    Seward Area: Evaluate whether to exclude Moose Pass and similarly 
situated places from this nonrural grouping and evaluate their rural/
nonrural status independently.
    Wasilla/Palmer Area: Evaluate whether to include Willow, Point 
MacKenzie, and similarly situated places in this nonrural grouping.
    Homer Area: Evaluate whether to include Fox River, Happy Valley, 
and similarly situated places in this nonrural grouping.
    Kenai Area: Evaluate whether to exclude Clam Gulch and similarly 
situated places from this nonrural grouping and evaluate their rural/
nonrural status independently.
     In addition, two areas were recommended for further 
analysis as follows:
    Ketchikan Area: Evaluate whether to include Saxman, and areas of 
growth and development outside the current nonrural boundary, and 
evaluate the rural/nonrural status of the whole area.
    Delta Junction, Big Delta, Deltana and Fort Greely: Evaluate 
whether some or all of these communities should be grouped, and their 
rural/nonrural status evaluated collectively.
    This list for additional analysis differed from the proposed list 
put out for public comment in July 2005, in that: (1) The scope of the 
review was broadened for the Ketchikan area, currently considered 
nonrural, to include an analysis of rural/nonrural characteristics of 
the entire area; (2) the rural/nonrural status of Prudhoe Bay was 
added; and (3) additional analysis of Sitka was not believed to be 
    Sitka, whose population had increased from 8,588 people in 1990 to 
8,835 in 2000, had been identified as an area possibly warranting 

[[Page 46418]]

analysis. However, during its December 6-7, 2005, meeting, the Board 
heard substantial public testimony regarding the rural characteristics 
of Sitka and determined that no additional analysis was necessary. The 
Board is proposing to leave Sitka's rural status unchanged.
    During January-May 2006, Federal subsistence staff conducted in-
depth analyses of each community or area on the Board-approved list of 
communities and areas identified for further analysis.
    On June 22, 2006, the Board met in executive session to develop the 
list of communities and areas they believe to be nonrural. Those 
communities and areas are identified in this proposed rule.
    Population size is a fundamental distinguishing characteristic 
between rural and nonrural communities. Under the current programmatic 
guidance in Federal subsistence regulations:
     A community with a population of 2,500 or less is deemed 
rural, unless it possesses significant characteristics of a nonrural 
nature, or is considered to be socially and economically a part of a 
nonrural area.
     A community with a population of more than 7,000 is deemed 
nonrural, unless it possesses significant characteristics of a rural 
     A community with a population above 2,500 but not more 
than 7,000 is evaluated to determine its rural/nonrural status. The 
community characteristics considered in this evaluation may include, 
but are not limited to, diversity and development of the local economy, 
use of fish and wildlife, community infrastructure, transportation, and 
educational institutions.
    Communities that are economically, socially, and communally 
integrated are combined for evaluation purposes. The Board identified 
three guidelines or criteria for analysis to assist in its 
determination of whether or not to group communities in its review of 
rural determinations. The criteria to be used include: (1) Are the 
communities in proximity and road-accessible to one another? The first 
criterion, proximity and road accessibility, is considered a logical 
first step in evaluating the relationship between communities, and, 
applied in relation to the other two criteria, is considered a 
reasonable indicator of economic, social, and communal integration. (2) 
Do they share a common high school attendance area? The second 
criterion, regarding sharing a common high school attendance area, is 
taken to be an indicator of the social integration of communities. This 
is an improvement by way of modification from the former criterion of a 
shared school district. The public pointed out in past testimony that 
attendance in a common school district often reflects political or 
administrative boundaries rather than social integration. A shared 
social experience is better captured by the shared high school 
criterion. (3) Do 30% or more of the working people commute from one 
community to another? This criterion, regarding whether working people 
commute from one community to another, was identified as providing 
meaningful information relating to the grouping of communities. Also, 
the U.S. Census uses this criterion because commuting to work is an 
easily understood measure that reflects social and economic 
integration. These criteria were not considered separately, but 
assessed collectively, with the recommendation to group communities 
being dependent upon the collective assessment.
    Community characteristics and specific indicators that the Board 
used to evaluate rural/nonrural status include: (1) Economy--wage 
employment, percent unemployment, per capita income, diversity of 
services, cost-of-food index, and number of stores defined as large 
national retailers; (2) community infrastructure--including the cost of 
electricity; (3) fish and wildlife use--variety of species used per 
household, percentage of households participating, level of average 
harvest per capita for all subsistence resources combined, and level of 
average harvest per capita for salmon and large land mammals only; (4) 
transportation--variety of means, predominant means, and length of road 
system; and (5) educational institutions present in the community.
    The Board's analysis and preliminary efforts to distinguish between 
rural places and nonrural places were heavily reliant on population 
size, but when the Board used other characteristics, its approach was 
based on a totality of the circumstances. Unemployment is generally 
higher and per capita income is generally lower in rural places than in 
nonrural places. Cost of food and cost of electricity were generally 
higher in the rural communities than in the nonrural. Subsistence per 
capita harvest of all resources shows a pattern of increasing amount 
with decreasing population size among nonrural areas, and typically 
higher levels in rural communities. The per capita harvest of salmon 
and large land mammals also shows a general pattern of increasing 
amount with decreasing population size among nonrural areas, and 
typically higher levels in rural communities. There were no large 
national retailers found in the rural communities examined (other than 
Kodiak which is being proposed as nonrural), or in the three smallest 
nonrural communities or areas. Population density was generally higher 
for most nonrural places than it was for rural places.
    Summarized below are the Board's recommendation for each area 
analyzed and the justification for that recommendation.
    Adak: Recommend changing Adak's status from nonrural to rural. 
Following the closure of the military base, the community of Adak has 
decreased in population by 94 percent from 1990 to 2000. It currently 
has 167 residents (2005), which is well below the presumptive rural 
threshold of 2,500 persons. Adak is also extremely remote and is 
accessible only by boat or plane, with the nearest community (Atka) 169 
miles away. With the changes that have occurred since the 1990s, Adak 
now has rural characteristics typical of a small isolated community.
    Prudhoe Bay (including Deadhorse): Recommend changing Prudhoe Bay's 
status from rural to nonrural. In 2000 Prudhoe Bay had one permanent 
household comprised of five people. There were reportedly no permanent 
residents in February 2006. Prudhoe Bay has none of the characteristics 
typical of a rural community. Prudhoe Bay is an industrial enclave 
built for the sole purpose of extracting oil. The oil companies provide 
everything employees need: Lodging, food, health care, and recreation. 
The thousands of people in Prudhoe Bay do not live there permanently, 
but work multi week-long shifts. They eat in cafeterias and live in 
group quarters. There are no schools, grocery stores, or churches. 
Subsistence is not a part of the way of life. Hunting in the area and 
possession of firearms and ammunition are prohibited. Based on its 
industrial enclave characteristics, Prudhoe Bay should be determined to 
be nonrural.
    Fairbanks North Star Borough: No changes to this nonrural grouping 
are recommended. In applying the grouping criteria as indicators of 
economic, social, and communal integration, the Board believes that the 
current nonrural boundary of the Fairbanks Area should continue to be 
defined as the Fairbanks North Star Borough boundary. No census 
designated places (CDPs) should be excluded from the nonrural grouping 
for the following reasons: (1) All CDPs are road accessible to one 
another. Although the Harding-Birch Lakes and Salcha areas are more 
sparsely populated than central areas of the borough, both communities 
include many occasional-use homes owned by Fairbanks residents. 
Further, both

[[Page 46419]]

places are home to only a few year-round residents. (2) The majority of 
the Borough's high school students are bused to one of the schools 
located in Fairbanks, North Pole, or Eielson. (3) The Remainder area of 
the North Star Borough should be included in the grouping because the 
majority of the population is road connected and over half (57 percent) 
of the workers residing in this area commute to Fairbanks for 
employment. Additionally, 75 percent of the workers living in Harding-
Birch Lakes drive to the City of Fairbanks to work, and 71 percent of 
the working population in Pleasant Valley commute to the City of 
    Delta Junction Vicinity: No changes are recommended for the rural 
status of Delta Junction, or the communities in the immediate vicinity. 
In applying the grouping criteria as indicators of economic, social, 
and communal integration, the Board believes that the four Delta 
Junction vicinity CDPs assigned for analysis (Delta Junction, Big 
Delta, Deltana, and Fort Greely) should be grouped as an area for 
purposes of rural/nonrural analysis because they fulfill the three 
guidelines for grouping: (1) All four CDPs are road connected and 
proximal; (2) the majority of the high school-aged students from Big 
Delta, Deltana, and Fort Greely attend high school in Delta Junction; 
and (3) in the two outlying CDPs, over 30 percent of the workers 
commute within the vicinity (41 percent of the workers living in Big 
Delta commute to either Delta Junction, Deltana, Fort Greely, or to a 
Remainder area within the Southeast Fairbanks Census Area, and 45 
percent of the workers in Deltana commute to Delta Junction or Fort 
    The four places grouped into the Delta Junction Area should remain 
rural in status. The population size of the grouping (3,921) places it 
in the nonpresumptive midrange, and information on the characteristics 
of the grouping, although somewhat limited, is indicative of a rural 
character. The recent economic upswing to the area due to construction 
of the Missile Defense system at Fort Greely and development of the 
Pogo Mine is thought to be temporary.
    Seward Area: No changes to this nonrural grouping are recommended. 
In applying the grouping criteria as indicators of economic, social, 
and communal integration, the Board believes that the Moose Pass, Crown 
Point, and Primrose CDPs should remain within the Seward Area grouping. 
Moose Pass, Crown Point, and Primrose CDPs meet all the criteria for 
grouping: proximity and road-accessibility to the Seward Area; their 
students attend the high school in Seward; and the level of workers 
commuting to Seward for employment is greater than 30 percent.
    Wasilla/Palmer Area: Include the Point MacKenzie CDP in the 
nonrural Wasilla/Palmer Area grouping; do not include the Willow CDP. 
The Board believes that the Point Mackenzie CDP meets all the criteria 
for grouping with the Wasilla/Palmer Area. The Point Mackenzie CDP is 
in proximity to the Wasilla/Palmer Area and road-accessible; their 
students attend Wasilla High School; and the level of workers commuting 
to the Wasilla/Palmer Area for employment is at 50 percent. This change 
would make Point McKenzie part of a nonrural area, a change from its 
current rural status. The Board recommends that the Willow CDP not be 
included in the Wasilla/Palmer Area grouping. Students in the Willow 
CDP are located in two attendance areas for high schools, within and 
outside of the Wasilla/Palmer Area. The level of commuting for workers 
to the Wasilla/Palmer Area is at 23.9 percent, which is below the 
criteria identified for grouping.
    Kenai Area: Adjust the boundaries of the nonrural Kenai Area to 
include all of the current Sterling CDP, and propose no change to the 
current grouping and status of Clam Gulch CDP as part of the nonrural 
Kenai Area. It appears that Clam Gulch CDP should continue to be 
included in the Kenai Area grouping because, although students of Clam 
Gulch CDP attend high school outside of the Kenai Area, the commuting 
of workers to the Kenai Area is on the order of 30 percent, and Clam 
Gulch is connected by paved highway to the Kenai Area, with which it 
has been grouped since initial determinations were made in 1990. It 
also appears that Cohoe CDP should remain within the Kenai Area 
grouping. Cohoe students attend a high school in the Kenai Area and the 
level of work commuting, at 69.5 percent, is significantly above the 
minimum criteria for grouping. The Sterling CDP has been part of the 
nonrural Kenai Area since 1990. For the 2000 census, the Sterling CDP 
has expanded in size, such that a significant portion of the CDP 
extends beyond the current boundary of the nonrural Kenai Area. The 
Board believes that the boundaries of the Kenai Area should be adjusted 
to include all of the current Sterling CDP. Students within the 
Sterling CDP go to high school within the Kenai Area and the level of 
commuting is at 61.2 percent of workers, well above the minimum 
criteria for grouping.
    Homer Area: Adjust the boundaries of the nonrural Homer Area to 
include all of the Fritz Creek CDP (not including Voznesenka), and the 
North Fork Road portion of the Anchor Point CDP. This change would make 
Fritz Creek East, except for Voznesenka, and the North Fork Road 
portion of the Anchor Point CDP nonrural, a change from their current 
rural status. The Board has tentatively concluded for Fritz Creek East 
that, except for Voznesenka, the residents are economically, socially, 
and communally integrated with the Homer Area. Fritz Creek East is in 
proximity and road-connected to the Homer Area. The Homer High School 
attendance area includes their students, and 43.8 percent of their 
workers commute to the Homer Area. It appears that Voznesenka should 
not be included in the Homer Area because, while it is in proximity and 
road-connected to the Homer Area, the number of jobs shown as being 
located within the Homer Area is only 19.5 percent, and Voznesenka 
students attend high school in Voznesenka.
    The Board believes that residents of the North Fork Road area fully 
meet two of the three criteria, proximity and commuting of workers. For 
the third criteria, although students have the option of attendance in 
Nikolaevsk School or Ninilchik High School, the vast majority go to 
Homer High School. This is sufficient basis for considering the North 
Fork Road area of the Anchor Point CDP to be economically, socially, 
and communally integrated with the nonrural Homer Area.
    The Board believes that residents of the Happy Valley CDP fulfill 
only the proximity criterion for grouping with the Homer Area. Happy 
Valley students are within the Ninilchik School high school attendance 
area, and less than 30 percent of Happy Valley workers commute to the 
Homer Area (14.4 percent). It appears that residents of the Happy 
Valley CDP should not be included with the Homer Area.
    It appears that the Nikolaevsk CDP, north of the Anchor Point CDP 
and connected to the Homer Area by the North Fork Road, does not 
warrant inclusion in the Homer Area. There is a K-12 school in 
Nikolaevsk, and data show that only 22 percent of jobs held by 
Nikolaevsk residents were located in the Homer Area.
    It appears that residents of Fox River CDP, primarily in the 
communities of Razdolna and Kachemak Selo, do not meet any of the three 
criteria, which would indicate that Fox River residents are not 
economically, socially, or communally integrated with the Homer Area.

[[Page 46420]]

    Kodiak Area: Define the Kodiak Area to include the road system, 
including the City of Kodiak, the Mill Bay area, Womens Bay, Bell's 
Flats, and the Coast Guard Station, but not including Chiniak, 
Pasagshak, and Anton Larsen, and change the status of the Kodiak Area, 
as defined, from rural to nonrural. The Board believes that the Kodiak 
Station CDP should be included in the Kodiak Area grouping. The Kodiak 
Station CDP directly fulfills two of the three criteria for being 
grouped in the Kodiak Area, and special consideration is warranted in 
relation to the third criterion: (1) The Kodiak Station CDP is road-
connected and adjacent to the City of Kodiak; (2) the Kodiak Station 
CDP does not have a high school; all students attend high school in the 
City of Kodiak; and (3) the special circumstance of enlisted employment 
accounts for the overall commuting level of workers to Kodiak City 
being an estimated 11 percent of all working residents. However, this 
can be attributed to the fact that enlisted personnel residing on the 
base are by duty assignment bound to the base. Working dependents, who 
are not bound to employment on the base, virtually all work in Kodiak 
City. While the worker commuting criterion is thereby not met if one 
pools enlisted personnel and working dependents, ties to the Kodiak 
Area are otherwise evident. The Board believes that the Womens Bay CDP 
should be included in the Kodiak Area grouping. Womens Bay CDP fulfills 
all three criteria for being grouped in the Kodiak Area: (1) Womens Bay 
CDP is road-connected and proximal to the City of Kodiak; (2) Womens 
Bay CDP does not have a high school; students attend high school in the 
City of Kodiak; and (3) more than 30 percent of the working residents 
are employed in the City of Kodiak.
    The Board believes that the Chiniak CDP should not be included in 
the Kodiak Area grouping because (1) although there is a road from 
Chiniak to the City of Kodiak, it is a minimum of a one-hour trip, and 
the 14 miles closest to Chiniak are unpaved; (2) there is a partial 
high school in Chiniak to grade 10, and only two-fifths of the high 
school-aged children attend school in Kodiak.
    The Board believes that the road-connected Remainder area should be 
included in the Kodiak Area grouping, with the exception of the 
Pasagshak and Anton Larsen portions. The road-connected Remainder area, 
with the exceptions as noted, is proximal to the City of Kodiak; 
students from the road-connected Remainder area attend high school in 
the City of Kodiak; and more than 30 percent of the working residents 
of the Remainder area are employed in the City of Kodiak. The road-
connected Remainder area of the Kodiak Area includes people residing in 
Anton Larsen and Pasagshak. There is no information about these ``sub-
areas'' of the road-connected Remainder area, thus it is unknown if 
students living in these areas are taught through correspondence, home-
schooled, or travel to Kodiak to attend high school. It is also unknown 
how many people commute to Kodiak City to work. However, the Board 
determined that despite the lack of information regarding the three 
criteria for grouping, the remoteness of Pasgashak and Anton Larsen is 
comparable to the remoteness of Chiniak, and therefore elected to 
propose no change in the rural status of these areas.
    The population of the Kodiak Area--estimated at approximately 
12,000 in 2005--is well above the presumptive nonrural population of 
7,000 in Federal regulations. The population has increased slightly 
since 1990. Kodiak's per capita income is relatively high and it also 
has a 2-year college, high diversity of services, a large national 
retailer, fast food restaurants, and roads linking the outlying area to 
the city. Of the communities examined during this analysis, the Kodiak 
Area is 34 percent larger in population than the next largest rural 
place, and its use of fish and wildlife is 24 percent lower. While the 
per capita harvest of subsistence resources is higher in the Kodiak 
Area than in some rural areas, it is well below the levels in some 
other rural communities.
    Ketchikan Area: Define the Ketchikan Area to include Pennock 
Island, parts of Gravina Island, and the road system connected to the 
City of Ketchikan, except for the community of Saxman. Saxman would 
retain its current rural status, and the Ketchikan Area, as defined, 
would retain its nonrural status. Saxman is directly adjacent to 
Ketchikan, connected by road, and surrounded by the outlying Ketchikan 
development. Visually, the only distinguishing feature to indicate the 
boundary between Ketchikan and Saxman is a sign on the South Tongass 
Highway. Saxman has clearly been overtaken and is surrounded by the 
geographic expansion of Ketchikan; Saxman students attend high school 
in Ketchikan; and 64 percent of the workers in Saxman commute to 
Ketchikan for their employment, with another 8 percent commuting to the 
Remainder area of the borough to work. Even though the grouping 
criteria would indicate including Saxman with the Ketchikan Area, 
social and economic characteristics indicate that Saxman should not be 
grouped in the Ketchikan Area. Saxman is a small, close-knit community 
that is socially and politically separate from Ketchikan. The residents 
of Saxman have two distinct entities to separate themselves from 
Ketchikan, the traditional government (Organized Village of Saxman) and 
the municipal government (City of Saxman). Socioeconomic indicators 
suggest distinctions between the two communities. For example, Saxman 
has a higher unemployment rate, lower per capita income, higher 
percentage of residents below the poverty level than those found in 
Ketchikan, and a 70 percent Native population. Another distinguishing 
characteristic of the community is that Saxman residents depend much 
more heavily on the harvest of subsistence resources. Saxman's average 
per capita harvest of 217 pounds is substantially more than has been 
estimated for the Ketchikan Area. Thus, while the grouping criteria 
lead to including Saxman with the Ketchikan Area, the unique 
socioeconomic characteristics of Saxman suggest that it should remain 
separate from the Ketchikan Area.
    The Remainder fulfills all three criteria for grouping with the 
Ketchikan Area: (1) The Remainder, other than nearby Gravina and 
Pennock Islands, is road-connected to the City of Ketchikan; (2) 
Students in the Remainder attend high school in Ketchikan; and (3) Over 
30 percent of the workers from the Remainder commute to work in the 
City of Ketchikan. Presently, most of the Remainder is included in the 
nonrural Ketchikan Area, established in 1990, except for extensions of 
the highway to the north and south that have since occurred.
    The population of the Ketchikan Area was estimated at 12,720 in 
2005 (excluding Saxman), having decreased slightly from 1990. Ketchikan 
possesses many nonrural characteristics, including having a 2-year 
college, a large national retailer, car dealerships, fast food 
restaurants, and roads linking the outlying surrounding area to the 
city. Although the pulp mill closed, there is still some diversity in 
the economy with tourism, fishing, fish processing, timber, retail 
services, and government providing the majority of employment. There is 
a hospital and a high diversity of services offered. The Ketchikan Area 
had the sixth highest population in the state in 2005, considering 
community groupings as defined by the Board. All other areas with 
higher populations are currently considered nonrural in Federal 
subsistence regulations. Three areas

[[Page 46421]]

with smaller populations are currently classified as nonrural and are 
not proposed for a change in status: the Homer Area, Seward Area, and 
Valdez. Harvest of subsistence resources in the Ketchikan Area is lower 
than is characteristic of rural communities.
    This change would make the extended road connected areas of 
Ketchikan nonrural, a change from their current rural status.
    The list of nonrural communities and areas, along with those other 
nonrural communities or areas whose status would remain unchanged, is 
published herein as the proposed rule. All other communities and areas 
of Alaska not listed herein would retain their rural determination. We 
propose to amend Section ----.23, which identifies those communities 
and areas of Alaska that are determined to be rural and nonrural. We 
have made maps available for the nonrural areas. The purpose of these 
maps is to provide to the subsistence user an overall graphic 
representation of the extent of the nonrural areas. To view maps, go to 
the Office of Subsistence Management Web site at http://alaska.fws.gov/asm/home.html.
 If you do not have access to the internet, you may 

contact the Office of Subsistence Management at the address or phone 
respectively, and we will send the maps to you.
    During August-October 2006, the public and Federal Subsistence 
Regional Advisory Councils are invited to comment on the proposed rule. 
Hearings in Kodiak, Sitka, Saxman, and Ketchikan will be held in 
September and October 2006. The specific dates, times, and locations 
will be announced in locally and Statewide--circulated newspapers or 
you may call the phone number shown at FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. 
Additional hearings may be scheduled by the Board, as appropriate. In 
December 12-13, 2006, in Anchorage, Alaska, the Federal Subsistence 
Board will meet to consider the comments received and may make changes 
to the proposed rule. From the decisions made in December, the Board 
will develop a final rule for publication in the Federal Register. The 
effective date of any community or area changing from a rural to 
nonrural status is 5 years after the date of publication of the final 
rule in the Federal Register. For communities or areas that change from 
nonrural to rural, the effective date is 30 days after the date of 
publication of the final rule in the Federal Register.
    Because the Federal Subsistence Management Program relates to 
public lands managed by an agency or agencies in both the Departments 
of Agriculture and the Interior, we propose to incorporate identical 
text into 36 CFR part 242 and 50 CFR part 100.

Conformance With Statutory and Regulatory Authorities

National Environmental Policy Act Compliance

    A Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for developing a 
Federal Subsistence Management Program was distributed for public 
comment on October 7, 1991. That document described the major issues 
associated with Federal subsistence management as identified through 
public meetings, written comments, and staff analysis, and examined the 
environmental consequences of four alternatives. Proposed regulations 
(Subparts A, B, and C) that would implement the preferred alternative 
were included in the DEIS as an appendix. The DEIS and the proposed 
administrative regulations presented a framework for an annual 
regulatory cycle regarding subsistence hunting and fishing regulations 
(Subpart D). The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) was 
published on February 28, 1992.
    Based on the public comments received, the analysis contained in 
the FEIS, and the recommendations of the Federal Subsistence Board and 
the Department of the Interior's Subsistence Policy Group, the 
Secretary of the Interior, with the concurrence of the Secretary of 
Agriculture, through the U.S. Department of Agriculture--Forest 
Service, implemented Alternative IV as identified in the DEIS and FEIS 
(Record of Decision on Subsistence Management for Federal Public Lands 
in Alaska (ROD), signed April 6, 1992). The DEIS and the selected 
alternative in the FEIS defined the administrative framework of an 
annual regulatory cycle for subsistence hunting and fishing 
regulations. The final rule for Subsistence Management Regulations for 
Public Lands in Alaska, Subparts A, B, and C, published May 29, 1992, 
implemented the Federal Subsistence Management Program and included a 
framework for an annual cycle for subsistence hunting and fishing 
regulations. The following Federal Register documents pertain to this 

Federal Register Documents Pertaining to Subsistence Management Regulations for Public Lands in Alaska, Subparts
                                                     A and B
 Federal Register citation     Date of publication          Category                       Detail
57 FR 22940................  May 29, 1992..........  Final Rule...........  ``Subsistence Management Regulations
                                                                             for Public Lands in Alaska; Final
                                                                             Rule'' was published in the Federal
                                                                             Register establishing a Federal
                                                                             Subsistence Management Program.
64 FR 1276.................  January 8, 1999.......  Final Rule (amended).  Amended 7 FR 22940 to include
                                                                             subsistence activities occurring on
                                                                             inland navigable waters in which
                                                                             the United States has a reserved
                                                                             water right and to identify
                                                                             specific Federal land units where
                                                                             reserved water rights exist.
                                                                             Extended the Federal Subsistence
                                                                             Board's management to all Federal
                                                                             lands selected under the Alaska
                                                                             Native Claims Settlement Act and
                                                                             the Alaska Statehood Act and
                                                                             situated within the boundaries of a
                                                                             Conservation System Unit, National
                                                                             Recreation Area, National
                                                                             Conservation Area, or any new
                                                                             national forest or forest addition,
                                                                             until conveyed to the State of
                                                                             Alaska or an Alaska Native
                                                                             Corporation. Specified and
                                                                             clarified Secretaries' authority to
                                                                             determine when hunting, fishing, or
                                                                             trapping activities taking place in
                                                                             Alaska off the public lands
                                                                             interfere with the subsistence
66 FR 31533................  June 12, 2001.........  Interim Rule.........  Expanded the authority that the
                                                                             Board may delegate to agency field
                                                                             officials and clarified the
                                                                             procedures for enacting emergency
                                                                             or temporary restrictions,
                                                                             closures, or openings.

[[Page 46422]]

67 FR 30559................  May 7, 2002...........  Final Rule...........  In response to comments on an
                                                                             interim rule, amended the operating
                                                                             regulations. Also corrected some
                                                                             inadvertent errors and oversights
                                                                             of previous rules.
68 FR 7703.................  February 18, 2003.....  Direct Final Rule....  Clarified how old a person must be
                                                                             to receive certain subsistence use
                                                                             permits and removed the requirement
                                                                             that Regional Councils must have an
                                                                             odd number of members.
68 FR 23035................  April 30, 2003........  Affirmation of Direct  Received no adverse comments on 68
                                                      Final Rule.            FR 7703. Adopted direct final rule.
68 FR 60957................  October 14, 2004......  Final Rule...........  Established Regional Council
                                                                             membership goals.
70 FR 76400................  December 27, 2005.....  Final Rule...........  Revised jurisdiction in marine
                                                                             waters and clarified jurisdiction
                                                                             relative to military lands.

    An environmental assessment was prepared in 1997 on the expansion 
of Federal jurisdiction over fisheries and is available from the office 
listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. The Secretary of the 
Interior with the concurrence of the Secretary of Agriculture 
determined that the expansion of Federal jurisdiction did not 
constitute a major Federal action significantly affecting the human 
environment and therefore signed a Finding of No Significant Impact.

Compliance With Section 810 of ANILCA

    The intent of all Federal subsistence regulations is to accord 
subsistence uses of fish and wildlife on public lands a priority over 
the taking of fish and wildlife on such lands for other purposes, 
unless restriction is necessary to conserve healthy fish and wildlife 
populations. A section 810 analysis was completed as part of the FEIS 
process. The final section 810 analysis determination appeared in the 
April 6, 1992, ROD, which concluded that the Federal Subsistence 
Management Program may have some local impacts on subsistence uses, but 
that the program is not likely to significantly restrict subsistence 

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This rule contains no new information collection requirements 
subject to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval under the 
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. The information collection 
requirements described in the CFR regulations were approved by OMB 
under 44 U.S.C. 3501 and were assigned clearance number 1018-0075, 
which expires August 31, 2006. We will not conduct or sponsor, and you 
are not required to respond to, a collection of information request 
unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

Other Requirements

    Economic Effects--This rule is not a significant rule subject to 
OMB review under Executive Order 12866. This rulemaking will impose no 
significant costs on small entities; this rule does not restrict any 
existing sport or commercial fishery on the public lands, and 
subsistence fisheries will continue at essentially the same levels as 
they presently occur. The number of businesses and the amount of trade 
that will result from this Federal land'related activity is unknown but 
expected to be insignificant.
    The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) 
requires preparation of regulatory flexibility analyses for rules that 
will have a significant economic effect on a substantial number of 
small entities, which include small businesses, organizations, or 
governmental jurisdictions. The Departments have determined that this 
rulemaking will not have a significant economic effect on a substantial 
number of small entities within the meaning of the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act.
    This rulemaking will impose no significant costs on small entities; 
the exact number of businesses and the amount of trade that will result 
from this Federal land--related activity is unknown. The aggregate 
effect is an insignificant positive economic effect on a number of 
small entities, such as tackle, boat, sporting goods dealers, and 
gasoline dealers. The number of small entities affected is unknown; 
however, the fact that the positive effects will be seasonal in nature 
and will, in most cases, merely continue preexisting uses of public 
lands indicates that the effects will not be significant.
    Title VIII of ANILCA requires the Secretaries to administer a 
subsistence preference on public lands. The scope of this program is 
limited by definition to certain public lands. Likewise, these 
regulations have no potential takings of private property implications 
as defined by Executive Order 12630.
    The Secretaries have determined and certify pursuant to the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act, 2 U.S.C. 1502 et seq., that this 
rulemaking will not impose a cost of $100 million or more in any given 
year on local or State governments or private entities. The 
implementation of this rule is by Federal agencies, and no cost is 
involved to any State or local entities or Tribal governments.
    The Secretaries have determined that these regulations meet the 
applicable standards provided in Sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive 
Order 12988 on Civil Justice Reform.
    In accordance with Executive Order 13132, the rule does not have 
sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a 
Federalism Assessment. Title VIII of ANILCA precludes the State from 
exercising subsistence management authority over fish and wildlife 
resources on Federal lands unless the State program is compliant with 
the requirements of that Title.
    In accordance with the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994, 
``Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal 
Governments'' (59 FR 22951), 512 DM 2, and E.O. 13175, we have 
evaluated possible effects on Federally recognized Indian tribes and 
have determined that there are no substantial direct effects. The 
Bureau of Indian Affairs is a participating agency in this rulemaking.
    On May 18, 2001, the President issued Executive Order 13211 on 
regulations that significantly affect energy supply, distribution, or 
use. This Executive Order requires agencies to prepare Statements of 
Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. As this rule is not a 
significant regulatory action under Executive Order 13211, affecting 
energy supply, distribution, or use, this

[[Page 46423]]

action is not a significant action and no Statement of Energy Effects 
is required.
    William Knauer drafted these regulations under the guidance of 
Peter J. Probasco of the Office of Subsistence Management, Alaska 
Regional Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Anchorage, Alaska. 
Chuck Ardizzone, Alaska State Office, Bureau of Land Management; Greg 
Bos, Carl Jack, and Jerry Berg, Alaska Regional Office, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service; Sandy Rabinowitch and Nancy Swanton, Alaska Regional 
Office, National Park Service; Dr. Warren Eastland, Pat Petrivelli, and 
Dr. Glenn Chen, Alaska Regional Office, Bureau of Indian Affairs; and 
Steve Kessler, Alaska Regional Office, USDA--Forest Service provided 
additional guidance.

List of Subjects

36 CFR Part 242

    Administrative practice and procedure, Alaska, Fish, National 
forests, Public lands, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, 

List of Subjects

50 CFR Part 100

    Administrative practice and procedure, Alaska, Fish, National 
forests, Public lands, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, 

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, the Secretaries propose to 
amend title 36, part 242, and title 50, part 100, of the Code of 
Federal Regulations, as set forth below.


    1. The authority citation for both 36 CFR part 242 and 50 CFR part 
100 would continue to read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 3, 472, 551, 668dd, 3101-3126; 18 U.S.C. 
3551-3586; 43 U.S.C. 1733.

Subpart C--Board Determinations

    2. In Subpart C of 36 CFR part 242 and 50 CFR part 100, Sec.  --
--.23(a) would be revised to read as follows:
* * * * *

Sec.  ----.23  Rural Determinations.

    (a) The Board has determined all communities and areas to be rural 
in accordance with Sec.  ----.15 except the following:
    (1) Fairbanks North Star Borough;
    (2) Homer area--including Homer, Anchor Point, North Fork Road 
area, Kachemak City, and the Fritz Creek area (not including 
    (3) Juneau area--including Juneau, West Juneau, and Douglas;
    (4) Kenai area--including Kenai, Soldotna, Sterling, Nikiski, 
Salamatof, Kalifornsky, Kasilof, and Clam Gulch;
    (5) Ketchikan area--including all parts of the road system 
connected to the City of Ketchikan (except Saxman), Pennock Island, and 
parts of Gravina Island;
    (6) Kodiak area--including the City of Kodiak, the Mill Bay area, 
the Coast Guard Station, Womens Bay, and Bells Flats;
    (7) Municipality of Anchorage;
    (8) Prudhoe Bay;
    (9) Seward area--including Seward and Moose Pass;
    (10) Valdez; and
    (11) Wasilla/Palmer area--including Wasilla, Palmer, Sutton, Big 
Lake, Houston, Point MacKenzie, and Bodenberg Butte.
    You may obtain maps delineating the boundaries of nonrural areas 
from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Subsistence 
* * * * *

    Dated: July 24, 2006.
Peter J. Probasco,
Acting Chair, Federal Subsistence Board.

    Dated: July 24, 2006.
Steve Kessler,
Subsistence Program Leader, USDA--Forest Service.
[FR Doc. 06-6902 Filed 8-11-06; 8:45 am]