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I saw this article in the times yesterday, some new info on how (or how they want us to think) fee demo funds are being used:


Last year, the fee program raised $6.5 million in Washington and Oregon, nearly double the amount raised during the first year of operation in 1997.

This year, the fees will remain the same for the regionwide Northwest Forest Passes - $5 for a day pass, $30 for an annual pass - but the Forest Service hopes to boost revenue by getting more people to comply with payment rules.

In years past, Forest Service rangers who found a car without a pass might simply leave a payment envelope on the windshield. But as of May 1, under new rules, rangers are supposed to record the license plate of any vehicle found without a pass and then issue a warning. . Those who fail to pay will risk a fine that could be as high as $50.

check out the rest of the article here



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I have been in contact with Scott Silver at http://wildwilderness.org/

He has been keeping me up to date on other issues similar to my experience.

Interesting stuff if you like to get into it. I think it is good to know about. Here is a recent one:

------ begin quoted ----------



Forest fee enforcement will intensify in Northwest

The Forest Service is expanding a trial program that may be entering a make

or break season

Saturday, January 27, 2001


By Michael Milstein of The Oregonian staff

Hikers and other visitors to the Northwest's national forests will have to

pay fees at more trailheads and other recreation sites this summer and will

face stiffer penalties -- including fines -- if they don't.

The stepped-up enforcement is part of a push by the U.S. Forest Service to

show that its trial fee program works before Congress decides whether to

make recreation fees, such as the regionwide Northwest Forest Pass, a

permanent fixture on the nation's public lands.

The Northwest Forest Pass costs $5 a day or $30 a year. It is required at

more than 1,000 trailheads and other recreation sites in Oregon and

Washington national forests and in North Cascades National Park. The pass

raised $2.1 million last year and is the broadest regional test of the

notion that hikers, boaters, picnickers and others who enjoy public lands

can and should pay their way.

Federal land recreation fees have generated millions for maintaining trails,

campgrounds and other visitor facilities since Congress in 1996 gave

agencies permission to try them. But public surveys have raised nagging

doubts about whether the public is willing to pay for some activities, such

as hiking.

Congressional Republicans and Democrats, including Rep. Peter DeFazio,

D-Ore., have tried to kill the fee program. An attempt last year by former

Sen. Slade Gorton, R-Wash., to enact permanent recreation fees also failed,

and Congress later temporarily extended the trial fee program until

September 2002.

Lawmakers must decide by then whether to make fees permanent or to extend

them again, so this summer could be a make or break period for agencies such

as the Forest Service that have come to rely on fees for facilities and

operations once financed by Congress.

A memo issued last week to national forest supervisors in the Northwest

urges them to "keep in mind the long-term view" when charging fees and to

promote public support by making clear that fees pay for the upkeep of

recreation sites. The memo also outlines plans to increase use and

enforcement of the Northwest Forest Pass this summer:

. The number of regional "free days," when visitors can use forests without

buying a pass, will drop from four to one. Individual forests can designate

other free days.

. Less-visited national forests that have not made use of the pass, such as

the Malheur and Ochoco forests in Eastern Oregon and the Fremont in Southern

Oregon, will mandate it in some places this summer.

. The Forest Service will encourage privately operated facilities such as

marinas to honor the pass in place of their own fees.

. Forests that already require the pass, such as the Mount Hood National

Forest near Portland, will mandate it at new locations so it is used more

consistently within each forest. Some sites still will remain free.

. Instead of leaving reminder envelopes so people without passes can pay by

mail, forest officers will issue warnings to any vehicle without a pass and

record its license plate. Officers also could issue a citation carrying a

$50 fine.

Last year, officers issued about a dozen citations throughout Oregon and

Washington to people who failed to pay fees, said Jocelyn Biro, the Forest

Service's recreation fee coordinator for the Northwest. Officials estimate

that 30 percent to 80 percent of those using fee sites in the region paid

the fees, with fewer paying at more remote locations.

The tougher enforcement this year probably will lead to more citations but

should keep some people from dodging the fees. "It's not fair for one person

to pay and then see six other cars that haven't paid and have gotten away

with it," Biro said.

But drawing a line could amplify opposition to the fees. A public survey

conducted for the Forest Service in the Northwest found that although most

people are willing to pay to use developed campgrounds, boat ramps and

off-road vehicle areas, they are unwilling to pay for picnicking, trail

hiking or stopping at viewpoints.

"You're going to see more signs, more development and more people in

uniforms as they try to tell people they should pay and then make them pay,"

said Scott Silver of Bend, founder of Wild Wilderness, an anti-fee group.

"It's changing the whole character of what our national forests look like."

You can reach Michael Milstein at 503-294-7689 or by e-mail at




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