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Old 05-07-2009, 03:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act. S.868

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Todd Ockert
E-mail: landuse@ufwda.org
Tulare, Ca. 7 May 2009

Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act. S.868


The anti-access folks have found a new way to try and close some of our favorite areas that we recreate in. In these tough times, many of our public land managers charge a fee to enter the publicly managed lands under their control. These fees are used to maintain the following in the managed lands under their control:
(1) Repair, maintenance, facility enhancement, media services, and infrastructure, including projects relating to visitor enjoyment, visitor access, environmental compliance, and health and safety;
(2) Interpretation, visitor information, visitor service, visitor needs assessments, monitoring, and signs;
(3) Habitat enhancement, resource assessment, preservation, protection, and restoration relating to recreational uses; and
(4) Law enforcement relating to public use and recreation.

This new bill would prohibit the Secretary of the interior from charging fees at the following sites:
Prohibited Sites- the Secretary shall not charge a fee under subsection (a) for Federal recreational land or water managed by--
(1) The Director of the Bureau of Land Management; or
(2) The Commissioner of Reclamation.

Per the current laws, the fee’s if any, have to be used as mentioned above.

This current status of this bill is: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

Please take the time to call or write your representatives to stop this bill. The official stance of United Four Wheel Drive Associations is to not support this bill in its current form.

****

United Four Wheel Drive Associations (UFWDA) is the leading representative for four wheel drive enthusiasts. UFWDA is a group of individuals, clubs, state, regional, provincial and national associations and businesses in the United States and around the world; our members span the globe from the U.S. and Canada, New Zealand, Australia, England, Japan, South Africa, and Iceland. If you would like more information on how you can be a part of this effort contact United Four Wheel Drive Associations today at 14525 SW Millikan Way #22622, Beaverton, OR 97005-2343, 1-800-448-3932 or visit www.ufwda.org.
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Old 05-07-2009, 07:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I applaud UFWDA for stepping out with this stance.

I have listened to the pros and cons of this debate for years and I will gladly debate the issue with anyone.

Specific to the issue is that our public lands need assistance. And, each segment of land has certain needs that cannot be met by the appropriated tax dollars.

The core push behind FLREA was to encourage the land manager to engage in actions where they received a "reward" for their proactive support of recreation activities.

That "reward" is that if a land manager engaged in a program to promote and provide recreation opportunity, they were allowed to charge a fee that was used to support that activity. That "fee" did not go to the general fund. It stayed with the authorized program to fund the activities.

Is it "double taxation"? Not really. It is people willing to pay a fee for an increased level of service that are paying for that service.

BTW, the strongest opposition for the "fees" comes from the environmental community that want no services of any kind to be provided.
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Old 05-08-2009, 10:03 AM   #3 (permalink)
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John

Thanks for your support on this.
We (UFWDA) have talked about this one for a few days on the pro's and con's of this.
But we are taking this approach to show that we support the current use of fee's to help the land manager provide better services in that area.

Todd
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Old 05-08-2009, 10:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I was party to the effort to craft language in FLREA that allowed funds to be retained local to enhance recreation experience and not be diverted to fund studies or projects outside the management area.

Fees for recreation access are a delicate balance. Studies have shown that people are willing to pay for a quality experience.

It is up to recreation interest to ensure the funds collected are used to enhance recreation experience.

While it is a difficult task, the closure community seems to find a way to et their message accross....
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