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payaso

Forest Service Pass - Consequences of Not Having One?

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Ok, I've read all the posts about the evils of the Fee Demo Program and am considering going without one in protest this year. I think this thing really sucks and will only open the flood gate for further fees and more bureaucrats. I want to hear from some of you who have been beating your chest about not paying for these things about what have been the consequences. Who has actually 1)gotten a ticket, and then 2)not paid it, and then 3)taken it to court. Has this just gone to private collection agencies? Have the tickets just faded away, or are they like fine wine and just get more expensive with age? No theory here please, just comments from actual climbers (or others) who have actually gone through the whole process.

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I haven't paid a couple of 'em and have yet to hear from anyone. But I guess my credit could be going south as we speak . .. .

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You might check out Wild Wilderness if you have not already. There are several case studies on there and a section on what to do if you are caught, and the consequences. Scott Silver has been taking up the slack for many of us who oppose the fee, but don't do crap to help fight to get rid of it. Thanks Scott.

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Also check out the issues/news section of

http://www.i-world.net/oma/ (Oregon Mountaineering Assn) for discussions of "Notice of Exemption" and "Notice of Non-Compliance."

 

Personally, I object less to the $$ than I do to the Forest Service's practice of representing my payment as approval. It'd be interesting to see if they had a check box labeled "paying under protest" or something, what percentage of people were paying the fee willingly. Not many, I'd expect.

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What Phil said. It was a "notice of noncompliance". Received somewhere in the Skykomish area.

 

I have heard of two people (Charlie, and another guy) who got letters in the mail demanding payment. Both of these "infractions" were on the Eastside. I think Charlie's was from Tieton (?), and the other guys was received at Vantage.

 

[ 04-18-2002, 11:29 AM: Message edited by: chucK ]

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web page

 

Here's some more on the subject of passes (not compliance, sorry for the thread drift) as discussed on nwhikers.net. Looks like there's talk of a seamless pass for all Federal lands, has its advantages and disadvantages in my opinion.

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I collect these things. I have a stack of them in my car one from just about every national forrest in WA. I have been collecting them ever since the program started. I have never been contacted. And the one time when a ranger was in the parking lot giving me a ticket when I got back to my car I told him that it wont be paid and his comment was "thats fine no one else does".

 

Keep a few in your car. When you pull up to a parking area with a bunch of cars with tickets just take one out of you stack and place it on your car. They will leave you alone. In short... Never payed never will.

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THere is a big difference between the USFS tickets and the Fish and wildlife tickets. Dont pay the USFS ones they cant do shit. The fish and wildlife will send you a ticket from the local sherrifs office. Those you should pay.

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I have a few decorating a door at home. I got a nasty letter from the East side after gettin one at the TH to Maude, but I ignored it, and haven't heard from them again.

I have heard that the courts don't want to be bogged down with hearing cases of non-payment, and have said "Don't bring these cases to us.", but I have not had this confirmed.

My advice to anyone who reads this is to NEVER buy a Park Pass, and to NEVER pay a fine. The rationale that "Most of the money stays local." is BS. We pay taxes to use this land, where did all that money go? Cruise missles. Any revenue generated by the "Fee Demonstration Project" ends up going towards making signs that tell you to pay, printing tickets, and paying a Ranger to stand there and issue them. It's a self-supporting system with no appreciable benefits.

DON'T PAY!! EVER!! If we "demonstrate" that the fee doesn't work, it will go away.

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quote:

Originally posted by Necronomicon:

My advice to anyone who reads this is to NEVER buy a Park Pass, and to NEVER pay a fine. The rationale that "Most of the money stays local." is BS. We pay taxes to use this land, where did all that money go? Cruise missles. Any revenue generated by the "Fee Demonstration Project" ends up going towards making signs that tell you to pay, printing tickets, and paying a Ranger to stand there and issue them. It's a self-supporting system with no appreciable benefits.

DON'T PAY!! EVER!! If we "demonstrate" that the fee doesn't work, it will go away.

I agree. However, the fee won't go away. This is government and it never goes away; they will just raise the price to cover the cost of tree-cops writing tickets. Screw 'em, they get too much of my money as it is.

 

Greg

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I received a notice from the Cle Elum ranger district last summer and ignored it. I later received a couple of letters and ignored them. Then I received a summons to appear in court in Yakima. I thought, uh-oh, they're getting serious.

 

So I went to the wildwilderness.org website and started reading. My conclusion was that, unfortunately, the USFS has legitimate authority from Congress to enforce this program if they want to. It appears that the Cle Elum district was doing so last summer. People have tried arguing technicalities, like they weren't recreating and so on, but I don't think the courts take that very seriously. The "demo" part of fee-demo is about how the program will be administered, not whether we like it or not. I paid the $50 fine instead of going to court.

 

My bottom line: Like it or not, USFS has the authority to bring you to court and throw the book at you. I believe we have to fight the fees in the political system. The legal system is stacked against us.

 

Note: I'm not a lawyer and I haven't talked to one.

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Easy for me to say w/o a subpoena in front of my face, but I wonder what the fine would have been had you agreed to defend your case and lost, and if it would go on your criminal record.

It's difficult to call the USFS on a bluff when they are threatening a court battle, but many people who have accepted the court case over the fine end up w/ their cases dismissed.

 

I'm certainly no lawyer, but I think you also have the right to request a district judge over a magistrate judge for your case. As I understand it, the prosecution needs a very good case to appear before a district judge, and they are frequently dismissed due to lack of decent evidence. The magistrate judge is more a means for the defense to feel they have had their day in court, and usually the DA's office wins. Even so, many of the trail park pass cases have been dismissed in a magistrate court.

 

That said, I'm not sure if I would be able to put up with a court case, particularly when there is the possibility for serious consequences should I lose.

 

The "demo" is to show that we are a viable source of revenue and that the system is politically possible. As the most recent leaked documents about the trail park pass system have shown, the USFS is very concerned about the upwelling of resistance over the program, particularly in the Northwest.

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I'm not saying you should buy a pass. It's probably better to make them enforce the program than to give in. But it may cost you and I don't have any confidence you could win in court.

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Personally, who needs the hassle? I give them their $30 annual blood money and don't worry about it. I have other shit to worry about.

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Not sure if that's a troll or not, but allowing the program to ramp up could lead to disneyland-style managed access to forest land, and in fact disney has been in discussions with the USFS in the past. Yet's it's your forest land they are discussing. USFS has lost a tremendous amount of revenue with decreasing timber sales and they need to find a way to recupe that money desperately. Certainly worries me.

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Has anyone heard of criminal charges being filed against people who have sccumulated multiple infractions? I know that the Washington State Patrol will come and arrest you if you accumulate unpaid traffic tickets, can or has the USFS done the same thing? I can tell you this: getting something removed from your federal record, even just a misdemeanor is a major pain in the ass.

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quote:

Originally posted by Heinrich:

Arrrrgggghhhh NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! Trask has fallen to the dark side. . . .

No, I've paid all along. Like I said, I don't have the time or energy to fight the system, and my job requires me to keep my nose clean...like it or not. Life's too short to fuck with chicken scratch.

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Hey folks.. Boston Tea Party ring a bell?

 

I've received three of these things and not paid. Received one letter demanding payment, called the district and explained that I would not be paying it, that I oppose fee demo, and that I feel that as long as the feds use the number of passes bought as "evidence supporting people's willingness to pay" or "people's support of the program" I would never pay. I went on to tell the young lady that the only way I was able to express disapproval of the program was non-compliance. She said she sympathized and realistically I shouldn't worry about it. These all occured near Cougar, while mtn biking. One other occasion I returned to find a ranger waiting, when questioned about not having a pass, I again explained my feelings, told him to write the ticket if he needed to, but to show my disapproval of the program I would engage in civil disobedience by refusing to pay the fine. He declined to write the ticket.

 

I have not received a summons, but I do believe I would go to court and fight it (with the help of some action groups' lawyers of course, there are plenty of organizations who would provide legal counsel I'm sure).

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The NW has the full attention of the Bushies. They want this fee demo thing to stop being a demo and become permanent, they know there's a lot of grumbling about it out here, so they're trying to do some PR work. I read about it in the paper, there was some memo about "putting the fires out in the NW." Like a few non-improved camp sites would no longer require a pass, or something lame like that.

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Basically it's like any other ticket. I received a ticket at Vantage and 8 months later received a bill. The tickets are issued from the F&W and they are dumbfucks for the most part, they take forever to do their supposed investigations which I think just means learning enough about reading and writing to effectively write a ticket, then they send the ticket to the local district court and the ticket makes its next stop in your mailbox. If the fee isn't paid it will be sent to a collection agent and the next time you need a CC or something like that, anything that demands a credit check, this unpaid ticket will show up. They're a pain but the way I see it there are a ton of people in the backcountry these days and why not pay. Things need to be kept up, of course some of the money gets misused, it's the government we're talking about, they can't wipe their ass without wasting paper, but the trails we all use and the trailheads we all park at, the roads we drive on and the killing of the wildlife from overuse all need money to continue. The fees go towards that to some degree, if you use all that stuff why not pay it? You pay to go to a movie, doing outdoor rec is still alot cheaper. By the way, has anyone been to the Canyonlands lately. I thought it was managed so much better than the fee parks in WA, i.e. Enchantments. I saw far fewer people, less damage, and far fewer people!

 

[ 04-18-2002, 06:59 PM: Message edited by: Jarred Jackman ]

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Well, you'll be seeing far fewer people around here also, as soon as Boeing and Microsoft pull out. Adios Kaliforicators...don't let the door hit ya's in the ass on the way out of the state. [Moon]

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