Act by November 1 to preserve railbanking.
The Surface Transportation Board (STB) just initiated a notice of proposed rulemaking to consider a rule proposed by opponents to railbanking that would significantly limit the ability of trail proponents to preserve rail corridors for interim trail use.
The proposed rule would restrict railbanking negotiations to six 180-day extensions—essentially three years—except under “extraordinary circumstances.” Many rail-trail managers know that negotiations can unfortunately persist beyond that time, whether for regulatory, funding or other legitimate reasons.
In their announcement of the rulemaking proceeding, the STB rejected proposals to eliminate the fee waiver for public entities filing for railbanking and to enact burdensome notification requirements on trail advocates and railroads. While we are pleased the STB rejected these attacks, the intent behind these attempts and the rule to be considered is clear: Opponents want to make railbanking as difficult as possible to impede the preservation of rail corridors and development of rail-trails.
Trail managers and advocates have until Nov. 1 to file comments in opposition to the proposed rule. Commenters will then have an opportunity to reply to the comments received. While anyone can file, it will be particularly valuable for the STB to hear from those who have benefited from railbanking negotiations lasting longer than three years.
There are two ways to file:
· Use the STB’s e-filing system to attach your comments as a file. Be sure to follow all the instructions listed. Comments are classified as “Other Submissions,” which do not require a filing fee nor the creation of a user account. The docket number is EP-749-1.
· Submit a comment in paper format by sending an original and 10 copies of the filing to the Surface Transportation Board, Attn: Docket No. EP 749 (Sub-No. 1), 395 E St., SW, Washington, DC 20423-0001.
This threat to railbanking is real and worrisome.
Please add your voice to ensure the STB knows how crucial the existing railbanking process is to the development of rail-trails around the country.
The American Trails Team
This Comprehensive Management and Use Plan / Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Oregon, California, Mormon Pioneer, and Pony Express National Historic Trails is shaped, in part, by the planning requirements found in section 5(f) of the National Trails System Act. It focuses on the trails’ purpose and significance, issues and concerns related to current conditions along the trails, resource protection, visitor experience and use, and long-term administrative and management objectives. Elements of the proposed plan have been developed in cooperation with federal, state, and local agencies, as well as nonprofit trails organizations — the entities that form the core of any partnership for national historic trails.
The strategy described here provides guidance for the administration of the entire trail and a vision to be fulfilled through future, specific resources studies, and site and segment management plans. Much of the basis for the “Comprehensive Administrative Strategy” was developed during the earlier comprehensive management plan efforts.
The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) National Landscape Conservation System Office is pleased to provide you with the National Scenic and Historic Trails (NSHT) Strategy and Work Plan. The purpose of this national-level strategy is to provide a 10-year framework for the development of program guidance and direction for improved management of the BLM’s NSHT Program.
This manual provides the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) policy and program guidance on administering congressionally designated National Trails as assigned by the Department of the Interior within the National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS) and this manual describes the BLM’s roles, responsibilities, agency interrelationships, and policy requirements for National Trail Administrators