[Federal Register: August 7, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 151)]
[Page 44700]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Area Closure to Off-Road Vehicles for Subsistence Use 
in Area Adjacent to King Cove Access Project, Izembek National Wildlife 
Refuge, AK

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of permanent closure.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that the Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Alaska Region, is permanently restricting off-road vehicles 
(ORVs) within a portion of the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge 
(Izembek Refuge) consistent with Federal law and regulations, Izembek 
Refuge management plans and objectives, and provisions of the King Cove 
Access Project Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) published 
December 2003.

DATES: The effective date of this notice is November 1, 2006.

ADDRESSES: Sandra Siekaniec, Refuge Manager, Izembek National Wildlife 
Refuge, P.O. Box 127, Cold Bay, AK 99571.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sandra Siekaniec, (877) 837-6332 or 
(907) 532-2445 phone; (907) 532-2549 fax; Sandra_Siekaniec@fws.gov e-

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This notice advises the public of a 
permanent closure to the use of off-road vehicles (ORVs) within an 
approximate 4-square-mile (10.4 km \2\) area encompassing approximately 
2,670 acres of the Izembek Refuge that has not traditionally been used 
for ORV access for subsistence purposes. We define off-road vehicle as 
any motor vehicle designed for or capable of cross-country travel on or 
immediately over land, water, sand, snow, ice, marsh, wetland, or other 
natural terrain, except snowmobiles as defined by regulation. This 
definition includes, but is not limited to, four-wheel-drive or low-
pressure-tire vehicles, motorcycles, and related two-, three-, or four-
wheel vehicles, amphibious machines, ground-effect or air-cushion 
vehicles, air-thrust boats, recreation vehicle campers, and any other 
means of transportation deriving motive power from any source other 
than muscle or wind (50 CFR 36.2).
    The King Cove Access Project Final Environmental Impact Statement 
(FEIS), December 2003, proposed a marine-road link between the 
communities of King Cove and Cold Bay, including construction of a 
17.2-mile (27.5-km) road along the east side of Cold Bay between the 
King Cove airstrip and a proposed Northeast Cold Bay hovercraft 
terminal. A 5.6-mile (9-km) portion of this road is being built on King 
Cove Corporation lands located within the legislative boundary of the 
Izembek Refuge. The proposed closure area is restricted to Izembek 
Refuge lands in portions of Sections 9 and 10 and Sections 15, 22, 27, 
and 34 in their entirety of Township 57 South, Range 87 West, Seward 
Meridian. We selected this area since it provides the minimum area for 
closure adjacent to the King Cove Access Project of lands currently 
managed by the Izembek Refuge under Section 906(o) of the Alaska 
National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980 (16 U.S.C. 410hh-3233) 
(ANILCA), which requires that Native-selected lands be managed as 
Refuge lands until conveyed. The FEIS directed that no road-related ORV 
access would occur within the Congressionally designated Wilderness 
Area of the Izembek Refuge and identified the need for mitigation 
measures where the road is within 1/2 mile (.8 km) of the Refuge 
boundary. Research has shown ORV use for subsistence did not 
traditionally occur either pre- or post-ANILCA on these lands due to 
the steep, rocky terrain and thick vegetation, so this limited closure 
will not change current use of the area.
    We issue this notice of closure pursuant to 50 CFR 36.42(e), which 
describes the process to be followed in implementing permanent closures 
or restrictions on Alaska National Wildlife Refuges. We held public 
hearings explaining the proposed closure in Cold Bay and King Cove on 
May 2 and 3, 2005, respectively, followed by a 30-day public comment 
period. We held final closure hearings in Cold Bay and King Cove on 
August 23 and 24, 2005, respectively. We made available to the public 
maps delineating boundaries of the proposed closure and provided/posted 
news releases and public notices announcing public meetings and other 
details of the proposed closure to news media in local communities. 
Prior to closure implementation, we will post a cable barrier and signs 
in the immediate vicinity of the restricted area. Authorities for this 
action can be found within the National Wildlife Refuge System 
Administration Act of 1966, as amended by the National Wildlife Refuge 
System Improvement Act of 1997 (16 U.S.C. 668dd-668ee), the Refuge 
Recreation Act of 1962 (16 U.S.C. 460k, 460k-4), and ANILCA.

Notice of Permanent Closure

    We close portions of Sections 9 and 10 and Sections 15, 22, 27, and 
34 in their entirety of Township 57 South, Range 87 West, Seward 
Meridian, within the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, to the use of 
off-road vehicles (ORVs) for subsistence purposes. For purposes of this 
closure we define ORVs in 50 CFR 36.2 (2005).

    Dated: July 11, 2006.
E. Laverne Smith,
Acting Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
 [FR Doc. E6-12416 Filed 8-4-06; 8:45 am]