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114th Congress    }                                     {       Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session      }                                     {      114-373

======================================================================



 
                YELLOWSTONE AND GRAND TETON PADDLING ACT

                                _______
                                

December 8, 2015.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Bishop of Utah, from the Committee on Natural Resources, submitted 
                             the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 974]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 974) to direct the Secretary of the Interior to 
promulgate regulations to allow the use of hand-propelled 
vessels on certain rivers and streams that flow in and through 
certain Federal lands in Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton 
National Park, the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway, 
and for other purposes, having considered the same, report 
favorably thereon with an amendment and recommend that the bill 
as amended do pass.
    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Yellowstone and Grand Teton Paddling 
Act''.

SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

  For the purposes of this Act:
          (1) Hand-propelled vessel.--The term ``hand-propelled 
        vessel'' means a vessel designed for river travel that is 
        propelled by one or more people using paddles or oars, such as 
        canoes, inflatable kayaks, kayaks, packrafts, and rafts.
          (2) Paddling.--The term ``paddling'' means the use of hand-
        propelled vessels for descending, crossing, or otherwise 
        floating upon rivers and streams.

SEC. 3. PROMULGATION OF REGULATIONS.

  (a) In General.--Not later than 3 years after the date on which funds 
are first made available for this section, the Secretary of the 
Interior shall promulgate regulations to allow the use of hand-
propelled vessels on waters within Yellowstone National Park in the 
States of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, and Grand Teton National Park 
and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway in the State of 
Wyoming. Waters where such use shall be allowed under the regulations 
shall include, at a minimum, the segments listed in subsection (b).
  (b) Applicable Waters.--The waters referred to in subsection (a) are 
the following:
          (1) Beaverdam creek.--The approximately 5.6-mile segment of 
        Beaverdam Creek from 8085' to Yellowstone Lake.
          (2) Bechler river.--The approximately 17.4-mile segment of 
        Bechler River from Three River Junction to the confluence with 
        Falls River.
          (3) Boundary creek.--The approximately 15.3-mile segment of 
        Boundary Creek from 7455' to the confluence with Bechler River.
          (4) Cache creek.--The approximately 12.2-mile segment from 
        7737' to the confluence with Lamar River.
          (5) Coulter creek.--The approximately .9-mile segment from 
        the Yellowstone National Park south boundary to the confluence 
        with the Snake River.
          (6) Falls river.--The approximately 20.4-mile segment from 
        7316' to the Yellowstone National Park south boundary.
          (7) Fan creek.--The approximately 7.7-mile segment from Fan 
        Creek upper forks (7526') to the confluence with the Gallatin 
        River.
          (8) Ferris fork.--The approximately 1-mile segment from 7455' 
        to Three River Junction.
          (9) Firehole river.--The approximately 4.5-mile segment of 
        campsite OA3 to Kepler Cascades.
          (10) Gallatin river.--The approximately 22.3-mile segment 
        from 7650' to the Yellowstone National Park northwest boundary.
          (11) Gardner river.--The approximately 23.6-mile segment from 
        Fawn Creek to the confluence with Yellowstone River.
          (12) Grayling creek.--The approximately 7.4-mile segment from 
        Grayling Creek canyon mouth (7088') to the Yellowstone National 
        Park west boundary.
          (13) Gregg fork.--The approximately 1.7-mile segment from 
        7795' to Three River Junction.
          (14) Heart river.--The approximately 4.8-mile segment from 
        Heart Lake to the confluence with Snake River.
          (15) Hellroaring creek.--The approximately 6.4-mile segment 
        from the Yellowstone National Park north boundary to the 
        confluence with the Yellowstone River.
          (16) Howell creek.--The approximately 5.4-mile segment from 
        Howell Creek upper forks to the confluence with Mountain Creek.
          (17) Indian creek.--The approximately 7.7-mile segment from 
        8030' meadow to the confluence with Gardner River.
          (18) Lamar river.--The approximately 27.3-mile segment from 
        8167' to Specimen Ridge trail.
          (19) Lamar river.--The approximately 7.5-mile segment from 
        the top of Lamar Canyon (6478') to the confluence with 
        Yellowstone River.
          (20) Lewis river.--The approximately 8.5-mile segment from 
        the top of Lewis Canyon (7730') to the confluence with Snake 
        River.
          (21) Little lamar river.--The approximately 3.7-mile segment 
        from 8200' to the confluence with the Lamar River.
          (22) Middle creek.--The approximately 4-mile segment from 
        7265' to the Yellowstone National Park east boundary.
          (23) Miller creek.--The approximately 10-mile segment from 
        7655' to the confluence with Lamar River.
          (24) Mountain ash creek.--The approximately 5.7-mile segment 
        from 6555' to the confluence with Falls River.
          (25) Mountain creek.--The approximately 7.9-mile segment from 
        the Yellowstone National Park east boundary to the confluence 
        with Yellowstone River.
          (26) Nez perce creek.--The approximately 8.2-mile segment 
        from 7310' to Grand Loop Road.
          (27) Pebble creek.--The approximately 10.3-mile segment from 
        7954' trail crossing to the confluence with Soda Butte Creek.
          (28) Polecat creek.--The approximately 2-mile segment from 
        7050' to the Yellowstone National Park south boundary.
          (29) Robinson creek.--The approximately 4.4-mile segment from 
        6555' to the Yellowstone National Park southwest boundary.
          (30) Slough creek.--The approximately 13.4-mile segment from 
        the Yellowstone National Park north boundary to Slough Creek 
        trail head/campground.
          (31) Snake river.--The approximately 31.8-mile segment from 
        the Yellowstone National Park southeast boundary (8059') to the 
        Yellowstone National Park south boundary (6867').
          (32) Soda butte creek.--The approximately 10.3-mile segment 
        from the Yellowstone National Park northeast boundary to the 
        confluence with Amphitheater Creek.
          (33) Specimen creek.--The approximately 2.6-mile segment from 
        7170' to the confluence with the Gallatin River.
          (34) Thorofare creek.--The approximately 4.4-mile segment 
        from the Yellowstone National Park southeast boundary to the 
        confluence with Yellowstone River.
          (35) Trail creek.--The approximately 3-mile segment from 
        Trail Lake to Yellowstone Lake.
          (36) Yellowstone river.--The approximately 36-mile segment, 
        including Grand and Black canyons, from Sevenmile Hole to the 
        Yellowstone National Park north boundary.
          (37) Yellowstone river.--The approximately 26.7-mile segment 
        from Yellowstone National Park southeast boundary to 
        Yellowstone Lake.
          (38) Arizona creek.--The approximately 4.8-mile segment from 
        the Grand Teton National Park east boundary to Jackson Lake.
          (39) Berry creek.--The approximately 9.9-mile segment from 
        7560' to Jackson Lake.
          (40) Buffalo fork river.--The approximately 8.7-mile segment 
        from the Grand Teton National Park east boundary to the 
        confluence with Snake River.
          (41) Cottonwood creek.--The approximately 7.3-mile segment 
        from Jenny Lake to the confluence with Snake River.
          (42) Ditch creek.--The approximately 7.3-mile segment from 
        the Grand Teton National Park east boundary to the confluence 
        with Snake River.
          (43) Gros ventre river.--The approximately 12.7-mile segment 
        from the Grand Teton National Park southeast boundary to the 
        Grand Teton National Park south boundary.
          (44) Lake creek.--The approximately 3.9-mile segment from 
        Phelps Lake to the Grand Teton National Park south boundary.
          (45) Owl creek.--The approximately 2.2-mile segment from 
        7312' to the confluence with Berry Creek.
          (46) Pacific creek.--The approximately 4.6-mile segment from 
        the Grand Teton National Park northeast boundary to the 
        confluence with Snake River.
          (47) Pilgrim creek.--The approximately 6.8-mile segment from 
        Grand Teton National Park northeast boundary to Jackson Lake.
          (48) Pilgrim creek east fork.--The approximately .8-mile 
        segment from the Grand Teton National Park northeast boundary 
        to the confluence with Pilgrim Creek.
          (49) Polecat creek.--The approximately 3.9-mile segment from 
        the Yellowstone National Park south boundary to the confluence 
        with Snake River.
          (50) Spread creek.--The approximately 4.3-mile segment, 
        including both channels of Spread Creek, from the Grand Teton 
        National Park east boundary to the Snake River.
  (c) Applicable Waters by Boundaries.--The boundaries of any river 
proposed in subsection (b) shall generally comprise that area measured 
within one-quarter mile from the ordinary high water mark on each side 
of the listed rivers and streams. This subsection shall not be 
construed to limit the scope of the regulation to address areas which 
may lie more than one-quarter mile from the ordinary high water mark on 
each side of the river.
  (d) Applicable Laws.--The regulations required by subsection (a) 
shall be promulgated in accordance with--
          (1) laws, regulations, and policies generally applicable to 
        units of the National Park System; and
          (2) sections 551 through 559 of title 5, United States Code 
        (commonly known as the ``Administrative Procedure Act'').
  (e) Commercial Use.--
          (1) No expansion of use.--The regulations issued under this 
        section shall not consider any expansion of commercial use of 
        hand-propelled vessels in the parks.
          (2) Savings provisions.--Nothing in this Act shall be 
        construed as authorizing the commercial use of hand-propelled 
        vessels.
  (f) Coordination of Recreational Use.--When promulgating regulations 
under this section, the Secretary of the Interior shall consult with 
the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the 
Director of the National Park Service to help ensure that the 
regulations provide that recreational use of hand-propelled vessels on 
the Gros Ventre River within the National Elk Refuge adjacent to Grand 
Teton National Park is consistent with the requirements of the National 
Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 (16 U.S.C. 668dd et 
seq.).
  (g) Previous Regulations.--Upon issuance of the final regulations 
required by subsection (a), the following regulations shall have no 
force or effect:
          (1) Section 7.13(d)(4)(ii) of title 36, Code of Federal 
        Regulations (regarding vessels on streams and rivers in 
        Yellowstone National Park).
          (2) Section 7.22(e)(3) of title 36, Code of Federal 
        Regulations (regarding vessels on lakes and rivers in Grand 
        Teton National Park).
  (h) Cost Recovery.--The Secretary is authorized to recover all costs, 
in accordance with section 103104 of title 54, United States Code, 
associated with monitoring the use of hand-propelled vessels, including 
the cost of inspecting and decontaminating vessels to prevent the 
introduction or spread of invasive or injurious species in Yellowstone 
National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and the John D. Rockefeller, 
Jr. Memorial Parkway.

                          PURPOSE OF THE BILL

    The purpose of H.R. 974 is to direct the Secretary of the 
Interior to promulgate regulations to allow the use of hand-
propelled vessels on certain rivers and streams that flow in 
and through certain federal lands in Yellowstone National Park, 
Grand Teton National Park, and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. 
Memorial Parkway.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    On the opening day of fishing season in 1950, the rivers 
and streams of Yellowstone National Park were closed to 
paddling to reduce fishing pressure exerted on park waters 
during the post-war period. In 1962, Grand Teton National Park 
implemented a similar policy prohibiting paddling on all park 
rivers and streams, except the Snake River and the stream 
connecting Bearpaw Lake and Jackson Lake.
    Each park policy was codified in federal regulations, which 
are now over 50 years old. Numerous Americans have been 
subjected to arrest and fines for paddling these rivers. The 
National Park Service (NPS) has other common management tools 
to prevent overfishing, rendering the original purpose of the 
paddling closures and the regulations moot.
    Hand-propelled paddling is typically considered an 
appropriate activity in National Parks and other protected 
federal lands, and is usually managed commensurate with other 
similar forms of recreation. H.R. 974, as amended, opens 50 
specified river and stream segments throughout Yellowstone and 
Grand Teton National Parks, as well as the John D. Rockefeller 
Jr. Memorial Parkway in the states of Idaho, Montana, and 
Wyoming, to paddling. It would be under full discretion of the 
NPS, and encourages the NPS to actively manage paddling as an 
appropriate and sustainable activity.
    H.R. 974 builds upon legislation introduced by 
Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis in the 113th Congress. The 
previous bill, H.R. 3492, was favorably reported from the 
Committee on Natural Resources by unanimous consent on February 
28, 2014 (House Report 113-369).

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    H.R. 974 was introduced on February 13, 2015, by 
Congresswoman Cynthia M. Lummis (R-WY). The bill was referred 
to the Committee on Natural Resources, and within the Committee 
to the Subcommittee on Federal Lands and the Subcommittee on 
Water, Power and Oceans. On October 7, 2015, the Natural 
Resources Committee met to consider the bill. The Subcommittees 
were discharged by unanimous consent. Congresswoman Lummis 
offered an amendment designated .025, which was adopted by 
voice vote. No additional amendments were offered and the bill, 
as amended, was ordered favorably reported to the House of 
Representatives on October 8, 2017, a roll call vote of 23-15, 
as follows:

[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]

            COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

    Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee on Natural Resources' oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH HOUSE RULE XIII

    1. Cost of Legislation. Clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives requires an estimate and 
a comparison by the Committee of the costs which would be 
incurred in carrying out this bill. However, clause 3(d)(2)(B) 
of that Rule provides that this requirement does not apply when 
the Committee has included in its report a timely submitted 
cost estimate of the bill prepared by the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office under section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974. Under clause 3(c)(3) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section 
403 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has 
received the following cost estimate for this bill from the 
Director of the Congressional Budget Office:

H.R. 974--Yellowstone and Grand Teton Paddling Act

    H.R. 974 would nullify, within three years of the bill's 
enactment, existing regulations prohibiting hand-propelled 
vessels on various streams and rivers in the Yellowstone and 
Grand Teton National Parks as well as the John D. Rockefeller 
Jr. Memorial Parkway in the states of Idaho, Montana, and 
Wyoming. Hand propelled vehicles include canoes, kayaks, and 
rafts propelled by paddles. The legislation also would direct 
the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service 
(NPS) to coordinate policies allowing the use of hand-propelled 
vessels on waterways in those areas. Under existing 
regulations, NPS has prohibited boating on certain waterways 
within the parks. The bill would require NPS to promulgate new 
regulations concerning the affected streams and rivers and 
conduct environmental and feasibility studies.
    Based on information provided by NPS, CBO estimates that 
implementing H.R. 974 would cost about $4 million over the 
2016-2020 period, subject to the availability of appropriated 
funds. Because the legislation would allow NPS to recover 
increased operating costs through special permits, H.R. 974 
would increase collections from permit fees and associated 
direct spending; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. 
However, CBO estimates that the net effect on direct spending 
would be insignificant in any given year. The legislation would 
not affect revenues.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 974 would not increase net 
direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2026.
    H.R. 974 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Mann Burnett. 
The estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.
    2. Section 308(a) of Congressional Budget Act. As required 
by clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives and section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget 
Act of 1974, this bill does not contain any new budget 
authority, credit authority, or an increase or decrease in 
revenues or tax expenditures. According to the Congressional 
Budget Office, implementing H.R. 974 would cost about $4 
million over the 2016-2020 period, subject to the availability 
of appropriated funds. The bill would also allow the NPS to 
recover increased operating costs through permit fees; the net 
effect of this authority on direct spending would be 
insignificant in any given year. The legislation would not 
affect revenues.
    3. General Performance Goals and Objectives. As required by 
clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII, the general performance goal or 
objective of this bill is to direct the Secretary of the 
Interior to promulgate regulations to allow the use of hand-
propelled vessels on certain rivers and streams that flow in 
and through certain federal lands in Yellowstone National Park, 
Grand Teton National Park, and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. 
Memorial Parkway.

                           EARMARK STATEMENT

    This bill does not contain any Congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined 
under clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of rule XXI of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 104-4

    This bill contains no unfunded mandates.

                       COMPLIANCE WITH H. RES. 5

    Directed Rule Making. The Chairman believes that this bill 
directs the Secretary of Interior to conduct one specific rule-
making proceeding.
    Duplication of Existing Programs. This bill does not 
establish or reauthorize a program of the federal government 
known to be duplicative of another program. Such program was 
not included in any report from the Government Accountability 
Office to Congress pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139 
or identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal Domestic 
Assistance published pursuant to the Federal Program 
Information Act (Public Law 95-220, as amended by Public Law 
98-169) as relating to other programs.

                PREEMPTION OF STATE, LOCAL OR TRIBAL LAW

    This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or 
tribal law.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    If enacted, this bill would make no changes in existing 
law.

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

         H.R. 974--``YELLOWSTONE AND GRAND TETON PADDLING ACT''

    H.R. 974 would require the Secretary of Interior to 
authorize paddling and other non-motorized boating in certain 
streams and rivers within Yellowstone and Grand Teton National 
Parks. On its face, this seems like a reasonable objective; 
however, the bill dictates a predetermined management outcome 
that jeopardizes the authority of the National Park Service 
(NPS) to deteimine when and where it is appropriate for certain 
recreational activities to occur. Proponents of H.R. 974 claim 
that it provides the NPS with ample flexibility to manage 
paddling on these rivers. In reality, the bill would require 
access for paddling, whether it is appropriate or not.
    As amended, the bill lists 50 separate river segments that 
must be opened to recreational paddling without consideration 
under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) or any other 
environmental review. While paddling is a legitimate 
recreational use in national parks and other federal lands--
many lakes and rivers throughout Yellowstone and Grand Teton 
are open to paddling--decisions about recreational access must 
be made by professional land managers, not according to the 
whims of Congress or narrow special interests. NPS currently 
has the flexibility it needs to make management decisions about 
park resources.
    The river segments forced open by this bill are some of the 
most remote and pristine in the world; they provide habitat for 
iconic endangered species, like grizzly bears and wolves, and 
are an important breeding grounds for native cutthroat trout. 
For example, the Lamar River, which would be open to paddling 
under this bill, is a popular destination for both recreational 
fishing and backcountry wildlife viewing. This bill would 
change the management of this remote and wild river, without 
any review or consideration of the on-the-ground resource 
needs, forcing a new use that may detract from the current 
visitor experience and possibly damage park resources. The 
introduction of boats could lead to conflict with wildlife and 
even the introduction of invasive species.
    Furthermore, given that many of the river segments 
identified in the bill are extremely remote, far removed from 
population centers and medical services, safety is another 
major concern. Search and rescue efforts related to paddling 
activities authorized under this legislation could bear on 
management costs, diverting resources from other important 
priorities. According to NPS, the last two rescue efforts that 
occurred on river segments impacted by this bill cost 
Yellowstone National Park $112,401 and $140,756, respectively. 
In just the past ten years, the NPS budget has shrunk by 
approximately 22 percent; opening these areas to non-motorized 
boating is a potential strain on an already financially 
stretched agency.
    This bill did not receive a hearing in the 114th Congress. 
In advance of markup, the Committee received several letters 
outlining opposition to the bill from the Greater Yellowstone 
Coalition, American Rivers, the Montana Chapter of Trout 
Unlimited, and the National Parks Conservation Association.
    Striking a balance between resource preservation and public 
access is a critical component of the park service's mission 
that should be left up to professional land managers. H.R. 974 
threatens that authority and could lead to lasting resource 
damage at two of the nation's most well-known national parks. 
At best, this amendment is Congressional micro-managing. At 
worst, it is special interest legislation that could damage the 
special character of the very resources that these parks were 
established to protect. For these reasons, we strongly oppose 
H.R. 974.

                                   Raul M. Grijalva,
                                           Ranking Member,
                                           Committee on Natural 
                                               Resources.
                                   Niki Tsongas,
                                           Ranking Member,
                                           Subcommittee on Federal 
                                               Lands.
                                   Alan S. Lowenthal,
                                           Member of Congress.
                                   Grace F. Napolitano,
                                           Member of Congress.

                                  [all]