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Fee Demo gets signed by Bush and the free ride is over

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November 09, 2001 09:49AM
President Signs fee-demo extension bill - permanent fees likely
to follow
Date:
Thu, 8 Nov 2001 10:26:39 -0800




On Monday Novermber 5, President Bush signed the Interior
Appropriations Bill which included provisions to extend and expand the recreation fee demonstration
program. The highly controversial fee demonstration program is now authorized until September 2004
and the pervious limitation of 100 sites per agency has been removed. In addition, the recreation
budget and Capital Improvement portions of the US Forest Service have been increased by a total of
$40,000,000. I have no doubt that this money will be spent on highly visible projects and that the USFS
will do its best to mislead the public into thinking that these improvements were made possible by
fee-demo dollars.

Amongst the bad news, there is some good news!!

In removing the cap on the number of recreation sites where fees
can be collected, the USFS is now free to introduce this program into parts of the country that had yet
seen these user fees. AND
because when fees are introduced, angry users write letters to their congressional delegation.We can
thus be assured that many more congressmen will be hearing from their constituency on the fee issue.

There is, unfortunately, more bad news.

The agencies sense victory and are aggressively preparing for
President Bush's anticipated new and improved fee program
scheduled to be introduced in the Spring of 2002. The bad news is that we almost certainly do not have
until September 2004 in which to kill the fee-demo program because a new program will be substituted
for fee-demo within the next 12 months. In fact, the bad news is that permanent fee legislation is on a
fast track and that we must become significantly more active in our effort to end this program and
prevent Bush's replacement program from going anywhere.

The sum of the bad news is simply this --- AS THINGS STAND,
opposition to fee demo will probably not reach critical
proportions until after recreation users fees are permanently authorized.

The sum of the good news is this --- the AMERICAN PUBLIC
WILL NEVER ACCEPT permanent recreation user fees and will
eventually overturn any such program and will restore free access
to public lands in the years to come.

The amount of pain and suffering that must be experienced between
now and then will depend upon how aggressively the proponents of these fees push their agenda and
upon how actively and effectively the opponents of user fees work to thwart them.

It's up to us. It's up to you. I appreciate your help.
SubjectAuthorViewsPosted

Fee Demo gets signed by Bush and the free ride is over

Free our Forests 1068November 09, 2001 09:49AM

Re: Fee Demo gets signed by Bush and the free ride is over

katrina 823November 10, 2001 01:38PM



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