General Comments

Section 251.54--Special Use Applications.

This section of the existing rule prescribes procedures and requirements for processing applications for special use authorizations.


Section 251.54(a) of the existing rule encourages all proponents to contact an authorized officer as early as possible so that potential constraints may be identified, the proposal can be considered in forest land and resource management plans (forest plans) if necessary, and processing of an application can be tentatively scheduled.

The proposed rule offered a technical amendment to Sec. 251.54(a) to make clear that the proponent will be given guidance and information about the items listed in Secs. 251.54(a)(1) through (a)(8) only to the extent applicable to the proposed use and occupancy.

Three respondents commented on this provision. One respondent commented that the word ``encourage'' in Sec. 251.54(a) is too vague. Another respondent commented that Sec. 251.54(a) is too vague and allows the Forest Service to delay processing of an application by asking for more information. Anotherrespondent noted that ``providing for consideration of proposals in forest plans if necessary'' allows the agency either to move existing uses or activities that conflict with a proposal or to deny a permit for the proposal.


These comments address a provision in the existing rule that was not proposed for amendment and which is therefore beyond the scope of this rulemaking.

However, the Department wishes to assure those who commented that the intent of Sec. 251.54(a) is to encourage proponents to talk to the Forest Service about proposed uses and activities as early as possible and even before an application is submitted so as to facilitate, not delay, the processing of applications.

The rules in subpart B of part 251 apply to all special uses, both commercial and noncommercial. The amendment proposed to Sec. 251.54(a) was in the last sentence and was necessary to ensure that applicants for noncommercial group uses receive relevant information. For example, as noted in the preamble of the proposed rule, fees and bonding requirements listed in Sec. 251.54(a)(4) do not apply to applications for noncommercial group uses.

Section 251.54(e)

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