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ryland_moore

Fee Demo Extended

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"What's the big deal? It's only a yellow star. You can still leave the ghetto and walk around." rolleyes.gif

 

So having to pay a user fee to get the privies cleaned is the same as living in Nazi Germany?

 

Please.

 

No, the fee just encourages the Forest service to install the outhouses. And that is only because they want to have the minimum "improvements" to be able to charge fees. They are under no obligation to maintain them whether you pay or not.

 

One of the things that bugs me about supporters of the fee is that they don't do it based on reality. If you believe the money goes to the trail maintainence you are for the fees. Yet if the Forest Service were a charity soliciting for funds, they would be taken to court for fraud for how little money actually makes it to the purported cause. Wake up, the money is not going to the trails (at least not in the proportions that they would like you to believe).

 

Lest we forget, the GAO report revealed that the Forest Service misrepresented how much it costs to administer the program. For every dollar that comes in, 1/2 is spent in administering the collection program. This is before they have made a decision as to what to spend the money on. There is no obligation as to what they are able to spend the funds on. In addition, they have no idea if they are contributing in any meaningful way to the reknown "maintenance backlog", because they don't track it. Nor do they even have appropriate accounting of what these maintenance needs are.

 

http://www.americanwhitewater.org/archive/article/851/

 

Now this new legislation proposes to make permanent a mismanaged, inefficient program. That is like taking the Chairman of Enron and putting him in charge of national energy policy (oops, now why does this sound familiar?)

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Hire me.

 

I will make sure the money is spent in the right places for only trails.

 

I will never build a new outhouse.

I will never build picknick tables.

I will never post anything at a trailhead.

I will never make any signs for trailheads.

For current outhouses I will never put in toilet paper.

I will never spend money on any type of road service or repair.

I will never spend any money on trailhead security.

I will never spend any money on enforcing a person who has or does not have a trailhead pass.

All money will go strictly for trails.

I will not build new trails.

I will hire horsepackers and the WTA to clear the trails.

I will tell those horsepackers and WTA to use chainsaws and I will look the other way in regards to "non-motorized" designation.

 

 

Hire me. wave.gif

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That's the beef I have with it. It's a sloppy piece of legislation that basically gives the forest service an open ended slush fund. Sure some of the money goes into trail upkeep, but how much are they spending on enforcement?

In theory it sounds like an equitable policy, but thanks to those fat fucks in DC that are busy lining their own pockets, they enact a shitty piece of law that's poorly conceived and executed. There's no accountability. Fuck, our government is harder on non profits than they are their own agencies. They should get the GAO on them. Or at least include some user groups in drafting the bill that get further into the woods than a roadside campground.

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This is how the Forest Service Claims the fees are being spent:

 

Expense Category

Amount

% Total

 

Fee Collection

$22,941,356

18%

 

Repairs & Maintenance

$28,875,197

22.6%

 

Interpretation & Signing

$15,402,958

12%

 

Facility Enhancement

$8,167,305

8.4%

 

Resource Preservation and Enhancement

$4,995,968

3.9%

 

Visitor Services and Operation

$36,611,135

28.6%

 

Security and Enforcement

$5,065,108

4%

 

Inter-Agency Transfers

$458,629

0.4%

 

Other

$2,639,778

2.1%

 

Total Expenditures

$127,995,560

100.0%

 

from this link.

 

..although, as noted above, the GOA brings those numbers into question.

 

Even so, only 25% of my Fee Demo money goes into trail maintenance, and another 4% into resource conservation. The rest of it goes into services I DON'T WANT. I'm being selectively taxed to pay for other people's Labor Day campsites and eyesore 'Visitor Centers'.

 

That's a good reason to dislike it, Marylou.

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Well, thanks at least for posting that.

 

I get a little tired of hearing people complain about how the FS is subsidizing the timber industry when there is almost zero cutting going on in the NFs of the PNW at present.

 

Personally, I use almost all of those categories, so I guess it's not such an affront to me to pay 30 bucks for a permit. I certainly get my money's worth. thumbs_up.gif

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I get a little tired of hearing people complain about how the FS is subsidizing the timber industry when there is almost zero cutting going on in the NFs of the PNW at present.

It's a very valid complaint based on their history.

 

Personally, I use almost all of those categories, so I guess it's not such an affront to me to pay 30 bucks for a permit. I certainly get my money's worth. thumbs_up.gif

 

I shouldn't have gone down that road. Government should be about something more than 'getting your money's worth.' Our government is in place to protect our freedoms, and I believe that democratic (read: free) access to public lands should be a protected liberty. I believe it is fundamental to our identity as a nation. Any fee for access to wilderness areas is an affront.

 

Here are some other opinions:

Mazamas statement on the User Fee Demo Program

 

The Mazamas is a three thousand member club headquartered in Portland, Oregon and devoted to climbing, hiking and other non-motorized outdoor recreational activities. Mazamas oppose user fees on public lands with the exception of the National Park System or other developed facilities. We are absolutely opposed to fees for entering or using lands already owned by the public. The program commonly known as the Fee Demonstration Program was originally supposed to last thirty months and then be subject to a thorough review. Extensions have been made which seem to have the intent to turn it into a permanent program without review.

 

This program raises serious questions about tax payer supported public access to public lands. The lands managed by the US Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management are already publicly owned and American citizens should have free and open access to them. Our taxes already support, among many other things, the professional management and upkeep of these lands. The fallacy that user fees are necessary to make up for Congressional budget shortfalls in trail maintenance is just that - a fallacy. Given its size relative to the Federal budget, Congress can easily assure sufficient maintenance funding in coming years if it chooses.

 

It is not sound policy to charge use fees for low-impact recreational activities such as climbing and hiking while subsidizing such destructive activities as logging and mining. The recreational fee demo program has the potential to turn recreational management of our public lands from a public service to the tax payer to a commercial enterprise orientation, and this is the true issue. Recreational interests that have the heaviest impact on the land but which generate the highest revenue, such as downhill skiing, resort development, power boating and off-road vehicle use will end up taking precedence over lower impact activities such as hiking, cross country skiing and camping.

 

Mazamas support all State and Federal proposals which seek to end the imposition of access fees on public lands and will support efforts to fight privatization and retain citizen control of our public lands.

 

Mazamas Access Committee

Mazamas

 

The Access Fund's Position on the Recreational Fee Demonstration Program

In 1996 Congress authorized the Recreational Fee Demonstration Program ("Fee Demo") authorizing federal land management agencies to implement and test new use fees across the country. Instituted as a three-year test program, Congress approved another 2-year extension of the Fee Demo Program in the FY 2002 Interior Appropriations Bill.

 

The Access Fund supports use fees on public lands in many situations, such as where services are provided or agency budgets are substantially burdened. The Access Fund, however, opposes charging recreational use fees for access to wilderness areas and other backcountry sites where (1) administrative support is neither required nor desired by recreationists, and (2) where recreational impacts do not significantly impact agency budgets or degrade the environment. That is, there should be no "pay-to-play" where "playing" costs the agencies nothing. The Access Fund opposes such fees where inequitably applied to wilderness and backcountry users.

 

The Benefits of the Fee Demo Program

 

The constructive role of the Fee Demo Program is apparent on several fronts.

 

Many federal land managers currently rely on funds acquired through Fee Demo to support infrastructure, maintenance and critical resource management projects such as wildlife monitoring, resource inventory, and education.

Recreation on public lands that burdens land managers should pay for itself; public lands visitors should be charged for the cost of services provided to them.

Fees authorized under the Fee Demo Program are primarily retained by the unit that collects them, allowing visitors to see their dollars at work.

Depreciative use, such as often occurs near urban areas, is lessened in fee areas.

 

Negative Consequences of the Fee Demo Program

 

The Fee Demo Program is often unfair, arbitrary, unpopular, and inconsistently applied.

 

Fee Demo unfairly targets some recreational users who desire no administrative support and whose use has negligible impacts on public lands. Moreover, Fee Demo receipts from backcountry users consist of only 5-15% of total Program revenues.

The collection of fees often unfairly target low-impact users to the benefit of high impact users†that is, fees charged to backcountry recreationists are often not being used to "improve" the backcountry, but instead benefit front-country facilities such as visitor centers, campgrounds, and picnic areas.

Fee Demo conflicts with the mandate of the Wilderness Act when applied to wilderness area users, because the Act prohibits improvements.

 

The Access Fund requests that the Congressional Interior Appropriations Subcommittees consider revising future Fee Demo extensions to alleviate the unintended inequitable consequences on the current Program. Specifically, we ask Congress to revoke the authority of the federal land agencies to charge use fees to low-impact recreationists who access backcountry and wilderness area, while at the same time increase general funding of recreation programs on federal public land.

The Access Fund

 

Sierra Club

Recreational User Fees on Public Lands:

Sierra Club Position

The Sierra Club supports, and urges its members to promote, efforts in Congress to restore needed public funding to the Forest Service and other federal public land agencies for their recreation programs.

 

The Sierra Club opposes recreation access and use fees on federal lands, other than lands managed by the National Park Service. Consistent with this position, the Sierra Club opposes the current Congressionally-mandated recreation fee demonstration program, except for National Park System lands. We oppose any efforts to privatize, commercialize, and motorize recreation on the public lands.

 

The Sierra Club supports the Capps-Bono bill (now HR 786) and/or other legislation that seeks to end the imposition of recreation access and user fees on public lands, other than lands managed by the National Park Service.

 

The Sierra Club will inform and educate Sierra Club members nationwide on the long range consequences of public land recreational access and user fees. The recreation fee demonstration program, specifically, is not just a benign effort to fund needed programs but is the leading edge of the recreation industry's attempts to transform public land recreation into commercial "products".

 

[Resolution adopted unanimously by Sierra Club's California/Nevada Regional Conservation Committee Sept. 1998, and subsequently endorsed by chairs of all the Sierra Club regional conservation committees.]

Sierra Club

 

What is the WTA's position?

 

What is the WCC's position?

 

Is getting 'a good deal' on parking lots and Port-a-Johns worth sacrificing the ideals of democratic access to our wild places?

 

 

 

Holy shit. Sorry for the monster post.

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I get a little tired of hearing people complain about how the FS is subsidizing the timber industry when there is almost zero cutting going on in the NFs of the PNW at present.
But this is the central issue, Marylou. Does it really matter if it is happening in the PNW or elsewhere within the Forest Disservice's boundaries? And, actually, it is happening in the PNW if you want to include the Tongass in this region.

 

Why should Joe Public pay into a program to make things work when instead the FS should redistribute toilet-flushed funds (money losing subsidies to timber companies) from wherever they're happening--be it Appalachia, the Sierra, or the Tongass--into the funds needed to upkeep the trailheads, trails, etc.. This is, of course, the very thing they were doing before the Fee Demo was enacted. Maybe on a smaller scale but it was being done.

 

An analogy, of sorts:

Say you come upon a homeless person in the street who asks you for a quarter. At the same time you note he's smoking a cigarette. Okay, so maybe he "bummed" it from someone, perhaps another homeless person. You decide to give him a quarter because you feel for him, that he could put the money to use to better himself, thereby bettering society as a whole. So you give him a quarter then go and sit down at a coffee shop. You watch as the homeless man eventually gets up, goes into a convenience store, and comes out with a fresh pack of cigarettes. He proceeds to open the pack and have a smoke. You've just wasted your quarter for a consumptive act: him buying something he doesn't need. You also did society no service. Why would you give money to a lost cause? And yet, this is a black & white case. In reality (98% of the time), people who give money to homeless people don't know what these people do with the money. It can only be assumed they're spending it on things they don't need. If they cleaned up their act they wouldn't need to bum the money. And so it is with the FS and the Fee Demo Prograb.

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WTA's position on the parking pass is not posted on their site, but I can tell you that they support it.

 

That money helps with TM, and WTA does TM for the FS.

 

Let me ask you this:

 

You have to pay for sno-park for various winter recreation

 

you have to pay for hunting tags to kill Bambi

 

you have to pay for a fishing license even if you catch and release

 

Should all of these other recreation user fees be abolished, or are hikers and climbers somehow special?

 

If there were to be no user fee, would you also be okay with the elimination of all amenities, including privies, both backcountry and trailhead, no more road maintenance, no more trail maintenance, and no more ranger offices?

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Another analogy:

Two men accost you at a trailhead. One is a FS employee, the other is a logger. The FS employee asks you for five one dollar bills. He says he'll put the money to good use in the very lot you're standing in. You fork over five one dollar bills. The FS guy immediately takes three of those bills and gives them to the logger, keeps one in his hand, and the remaining one he mysteriously buries in the ground.

 

The logger then separates out two of the bills and stuffs them in his pocket. He then walks, with the FS guy, to the local outhouse, whereupon they both simply throw the two bills they're carrying into the toilet. Flushed money, as it were. Then, magically, an informational kiosk pops up at the very spot the other dollar was buried. Impressed with this new service, you forget all about the two dollars flushed and the two dollars stuffed.

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Okay, then can someone show me when and where the Forest Service is currently subsidizing logging or timber companies?

 

Please use specifics. Maybe I'm not mad about something I should be mad about with this Fee Demo dealo.

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What is the WCC's position?

 

Seems to me like they are in a position to exist but not to talk about any real issues so far. I'd like to see some action.

 

ML has offered up the usuals. But those services were in place before the user fee demo. There is evidence it doesnt all necessarily go into what you might call hiker or backcountry user - I found info MS Helens had bought some movie projectors with user demo money..

 

Lie about how they use it too.

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Fishing license money actually goes to the hatcheries to raise more fish so that you can actually be out there fishing. Hunting licenses go to monitoring hunts, scientific studies on population trends of specific game species, and habitat improvement and controlled burns for game species. Unlike the Fee Demo program, my license dollars go back to what I am using the license for.

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Okay, then can someone show me when and where the Forest Service is currently subsidizing logging or timber companies?

 

Please use specifics. Maybe I'm not mad about something I should be mad about with this Fee Demo dealo.

 

Tongass National Forest

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Any time the FS sells timber to the logging companies, the FS then goes in and builds the road for the logging companies to do their bidness.

F/E, here's a link to an Alaskan group who estimates the FS spent $1 billion constructing road for timber companies.

AlaskaWild

 

Yes, you should be pissed.

 

There are folks on this site who have a better grasp of the details than me.

 

edit: scooped by the bigger brain of cj000xyz

Edited by Squid

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That's the link of choice, cj100f. Thanks. thumbs_up.gif

Marylou, suggest you read. And keep in mind, The Tongass is just one national forest. Some multiplier of that lost revenue can be used if you consider all national forests. Don't know what the multiplier is. Don't need to know.

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And the sno park pass pays for the plowing of the parking areas.

 

I might be willing to pay a fee to help maintain roads trails, etc. but there has to be some accountability. There's now fucking way you'd use a bank that only gave you 26% of your money back. the money going to trail maintenence should be at least 50%

Maybe I'm missing the point of the whole demo project, but it seems to me that if the forest dis-service is collecting fees at trailheads, their intent would be to use that money for trail upkeep and access. not an interpretive kiosk by the side of the road.

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"In addition to the SRC program, the Temporary Road Costs (TRC)program provides a direct subsidy to the timber industry. As part of this program, the estimated cost of building so-called temporary roads, or roads that will not become part of the Forest Service's permanent road network, is deducted from the appraised price of timber. According to an analysis of 104 national forests, Temporary Road Costs applied between FY 1998 and FY 2001 resulted in taxpayer losses exceeding $14 million"

 

More on the Forest Dis-service's mismanagement at:

 

http://www.taxpayer.net/forest/lostintheforest/executivesummary.htm

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For all these years, I have expressed my willingness to pay to be in a National Park. Some provide more service than others and how the dollars are split doesn't concern me so much. At least I know all that land is preserved FOREVER to be pristine and unaccosted by loggers, miners, farmers and cattlemen.

 

The NFS and BLM lands are not exclusive to hikers,climbers, skiers, snowmobilers,hunters, fishermen, etc who mostly leave the land unaffected. They are open to loggers, miners, farmers, cattlemen and other entities that radically affect the original shape and condition of the land. At the same time they MAKE MONEY while doing it! Therfore if I pay to use that same land, I am subsidizing their use. Get it?

 

What's the big deal? It's called legal precedence. Imagine now you wish to go boating. But now as you leave your protected harbor there is Larry the Tool in a boat as you enter Puget Sound. Now you must pay to cruise their waters because there are navigational bouys out there and they cost money. But wait, you say, the Coast Gurd maintains them and they are funded as a branch of the government through appropriations. BINGO! Get it now?

 

The National Forest Service is in the business of deciding how every acre of their land is used. We all agree that they don't do the best job, but they are learning and doing the best they can as a branch of the Government. We pay them in taxes. We shouldn't pay them more.

 

BTW, BLM land makes up far more acrage than NFS land. It is far less regulated and therfore abused.

 

If I drive up a forest service road into the Olympic mountains and park at the end and hike on the trail to access a climb, I don't see why I should pay one dime. If I go through the gate to drive up a paved road to Hurricane Ridge where there are services at the top and they plow the road all year, I should pay.

 

To me the Senators Craig (ID-R) and Craig (WY-R) have it right. (surprizing for R's?) It is pretty friggin' clear to me. I can't see any legitimate argument to anything else.

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For all these years, I have expressed my willingness to pay to be in a National Park. Some provide more service than others and how the dollars are split doesn't concern me so much. At least I know all that land is preserved FOREVER to be pristine and unaccosted by loggers, miners, farmers and cattlemen.

 

So are Wilderness areas. Locally, our NFs have a LOT of Wilderness land contained within.

 

The NFS and BLM lands are not exclusive to hikers,climbers, skiers, snowmobilers,hunters, fishermen, etc who mostly leave the land unaffected. They are open to loggers, miners, farmers, cattlemen and other entities that radically affect the original shape and condition of the land. At the same time they MAKE MONEY while doing it! Therfore if I pay to use that same land, I am subsidizing their use. Get it?

 

Here in the Northwest where we have the Nortwest Forest Pass, there is almost no extractive work going on in the NFs. That's the stuff that hits the land hard, and it's simply not happening here at present. If I am not mistaken, farmers have to pay use fees to have their critters graze on the land.

 

What's the big deal? It's called legal precedence. Imagine now you wish to go boating. But now as you leave your protected harbor there is Larry the Tool in a boat as you enter Puget Sound. Now you must pay to cruise their waters because there are navigational bouys out there and they cost money. But wait, you say, the Coast Gurd maintains them and they are funded as a branch of the government through appropriations. BINGO! Get it now?

 

Boats have to pay license tag fees. Fishermen pay for fishing licenses. Additionally, the markers in the waterways are used by many more than us recreational types, which is more than you can say about a trailhead privy.

 

 

The National Forest Service is in the business of deciding how every acre of their land is used. We all agree that they don't do the best job, but they are learning and doing the best they can as a branch of the Government. We pay them in taxes. We shouldn't pay them more.

 

Congress allocates the FS's budget to them. Money "earned" by timber sales goes into the General Fund, and does not stay in the local district that generated it.

 

In order to assure there are still amenities there in the future, buy your Forest Pass locally (money from the sales of passes stay in the district where they were bought) or better yet, do two days of volunteer service and get your pass for free. That way, you get the opportunity to give something back, and you don't have to worry that your money's being wasted by the FS.

 

 

 

If I drive up a forest service road into the Olympic mountains and park at the end and hike on the trail to access a climb, I don't see why I should pay one dime. If I go through the gate to drive up a paved road to Hurricane Ridge where there are services at the top and they plow the road all year, I should pay.

 

The difference here is merely scale. The road and trail to the remote location need maintenance too.

 

Everything costs money.

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Here in the Northwest where we have the Nortwest Forest Pass, there is almost no extractive work going on in the NFs. That's the stuff that hits the land hard, and it's simply not happening here at present. If I am not mistaken, farmers have to pay use fees to have their critters graze on the land.

There's stilling logging going on in the Northwest marylou - and W wants to increase the amount done. The Grazing Fees charged to farmers don't begin to cover the costs of managing them or the damage they do to the land. The Forest Service doesn't have to manage these programs profitably why should recreation be any different?

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The difference between National Parks and Wilderness areas are the amenities and services provided. Yosemite, Yellowstone, Mt Rainier, Olympic, North Cascades all provide services whether we choose to use them or not. They have administrations to run. Wilderness areas are merely that and there is very little on the land to physically administer that should require user fees. So what am I paying for to go there?

 

Allison, please try to understand, I am not unequivocally against user fees. Just Fee Demo for FS and BLM land. I understand you see Fee Demo as a source for much needed dollars for trail maintenance. But Fee Demo is an albatross.

 

I believe our public lands are just that and should be inclusive. Any time you add a fee to use something,it makes it exclusive. Is that freedom?

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