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Are You Ready to Pay Fees Everywhere?

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Are You Ready to Pay Fees Everywhere?

Postby Aaron Johnson » Sun Apr 27, 2014 3:52 pm

Greetings fellow climbers and hikers.

I'm posting this notice for those interested and concerned about the ongoing fee debacle quietly infesting all of America. They've made sure this process is done at a time when it escapes YOUR attention. Thankfully, the WSNF is on the case and appeared in Washington D.C. before Congress on YOUR behalf. Due to processes and other more important matters, the fee conspiracy will likely be detained another year, but believe me, I've been around long enough to know that year will race by and next thing you know, YOU will be paying fees everywhere you go.

I took up the battle and fought the good fight for 8 years here in Colorado over the Mount Evans Fee scam, which was viewed by many as precedent-setting. Coupled with the Mount Lemon case in Arizona, we were victorious and it seemed the tide had been turned. As if in ravenous revenge, the applicable parties returned fire with a ruling from a judge clearly in kahoots with them. He passed a ruling allowing said parties to charge fees anywhere and anyway they choose.

Kitty Benzar, president of the WSNF has posted a report concerning this matter and her testimony at D.C. and you can check it out here: http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?ca=b6e588db-6080-4627-bf69-3f68c6a7ac1d&c=0f343130-202e-11e3-a7ed-d4ae5292c426&ch=0f90d020-202e-11e3-a7ef-d4ae5292c426

I spent the bulk of my life exploring this fabulous country's wilderness for free, so I understand the value of that privilege, and endeavored to resist those that would remove it when they reared their heads nearly twenty years ago. The resulting showdown at Mount Evans proved that you can take a stand in America and you can make a difference. During the Roman occupation of Israel, Rome declared a tax and simply made what little money the residents had theirs. History repeats itself without fail. The same is happening right now. They get away with this and they will take everything you have. Freedom isn't free. It must constantly be fought for. I was fortunate enough to enjoy that freedom and fight for it as well. But now I am retiring at the end of May. My scope of activities and causes is being refocused and scaled down. A number of young rebels that believe in and love this country and its values, and are willing to take a stand, will need to take up the torch and carry on the cause. I wish you all well and continued success! God bless.

AJ
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Re: Are You Ready to Pay Fees Everywhere?

Postby rgg » Sun Apr 27, 2014 11:48 pm

I accept that it's reasonable to charge for certain things, such as access to national parks. But if there is a price tag at all, it should be small, as in "not for profit". And I would like to see the money invested in the parks again, in the broadest possible sense, i.e. from paying park rangers and maintaining some basic facilities to educating people about nature in general. However, if any particular publicly owned wilderness area has no facilities at all, there shouldn't be any fees for those that want to visit it.

Now, since I don't live in the USA and I'm no US citizen, Congress will surely ignore me. If it were just me, I couldn't blame them. But there are billions more like me. So, perhaps some representatives actually look further than the next ballot, their sponsors and their electorate, especially if they realize that if these billions do not come to areas because there is too much red tape or fees, the local economy will suffer for it.

I mean, I travel (quite a lot actually) and there are plenty of mountain ranges to visit all over the world. When I'm considering where to go, red tape and fees are definitely good reasons to look elsewhere. As a result, not only do I avoid paying significant fees for the privilege to visit certain areas, but I also don't spend any money on car rental, hotels, restaurants and shopping. Consequently, if I stay away from the US, that's missed income to the voters - let's hope that the local entrepreneurs realize that, and elect their representatives accordingly. Fortunately, red tape and fees in most of South America are small or absent altogether, and the locals are still happy to see me come and spend my money.

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Re: Are You Ready to Pay Fees Everywhere?

Postby fatdad » Mon Apr 28, 2014 5:42 am

Thanks for the post Aaron, but I think your position would be furthered and you'd better inform those on this site if you dumped the hokey rhetoric and simply provided the facts and what parties can do to get involved. This is a fee issue; they're not forcing you to quarter foreign soldiers in your residence. I am against unreasonable fees and those that are essentially use fees simply to recreate in public lands, but I don't have any clue what type of fees you are opposing and what legislation is being contemplated to further their reach.
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Re: Are You Ready to Pay Fees Everywhere?

Postby Buz Groshong » Mon Apr 28, 2014 4:06 pm

Why is it the "WESTERN SLOPE NO-FEE COALITION"? Does this organization believe in charging fees in the east but not in the west?
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Re: Are You Ready to Pay Fees Everywhere?

Postby Bubba Suess » Tue Apr 29, 2014 5:45 pm

Buz Groshong wrote:Why is it the "WESTERN SLOPE NO-FEE COALITION"? Does this organization believe in charging fees in the east but not in the west?


My understanding is the organization began to combat fees in western Colorado but has since grown to advocate for free access to federal lands everywhere in the country.
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Re: Are You Ready to Pay Fees Everywhere?

Postby Buz Groshong » Tue Apr 29, 2014 7:14 pm

Then they ought to change their name; it could help them gain more membership. I could also perhaps help them gain more influence, especially at the national level.
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Re: Are You Ready to Pay Fees Everywhere?

Postby willytinawin » Tue Apr 29, 2014 11:19 pm

This whole fee issue has really upset me. I remember when you could go just about anywhere for free, and when a fee was required, it was low and reasonable. It used to be affordable to be a dirt bagger, now only the middle income on up can afford to dirt bag. The government has just gone crazy, exacting money from us any and every which way it can. It's not just the Feds, the State is even worse, they are really greedy. Even if you vote, the choices are not good. No choice has the interest of the people. The sad part is that with all the drought and fires, you now have to pay for a rundown version of what was once glorious and free. You can't go anywhere unless all your paperwork is in proper order. Land of the free? Ha, yeah right. We, the people of this country are being stripped of our money, rights, privacy, and just about everything we used to take for granted. I'm glad I'm getting old, today's youth will probably never know what they missed. Tracked and cached from cradle to grave. And they just eat all this technology up, the very thing that is enslaving them. But I digress.
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Re: Are You Ready to Pay Fees Everywhere?

Postby Aaron Johnson » Wed Apr 30, 2014 11:57 pm

RULING VICTORY

"This ruling is a victory for the American public, be they hikers, equestrians, hunters or fishermen. The nationwide fee law has clearly prohibited fees solely for parking since 2004, and the U.S. Forest Service should now cease charging these fees immediately, across southern California and beyond," said Alasdair Coyne, Conservation Director of Keep Sespe Wild and one of the four plaintiffs in the case.
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Re: Are You Ready to Pay Fees Everywhere?

Postby Buz Groshong » Thu May 01, 2014 6:17 pm

It's appalling that it took 10 years to get them to obey the law.
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Re: Are You Ready to Pay Fees Everywhere?

Postby dadndave » Fri May 02, 2014 5:05 am

Anybody keep their receipts?
The strawman is evil and must be punished,
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Re: Are You Ready to Pay Fees Everywhere?

Postby willytinawin » Fri May 02, 2014 6:25 pm

Anybody keep their receipts?
I know in California a bill was introduced that would require the State to refund any resident or taxpayer who pays a fee or tax that is later declared illegal or unconstitutional. This bill was introduced last month. It was killed in committee on Apr 28th. The California legislature is currently a supermajority constantly on the lookout to get more money.

In other words, in California if you pay any tax or fee that was charged or passed and later determined to be unlawful, the State gets to keep the money. I am not making this up, it is true. The minority tried to make the State do refunds automatically, but they lost.

If you bought an annual Adventure Pass for the past 10 years, about $300, you can probably kiss it goodbye, even though it's Federal. I seriously doubt any refunds will be forthcoming.

(Actually they may be one vote short of supermajority now because of Leland Yee)
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Re: Are You Ready to Pay Fees Everywhere?

Postby fatdad » Fri May 02, 2014 6:34 pm

Buz Groshong wrote:It's appalling that it took 10 years to get them to obey the law.

Here, in So Cal, they stopped enforcing the Adventure Pass program after the Adams decision came down in 2012. I haven't read the recent decision, but there clearly must have been some ambiguity in the law or concern about its application to the current situation or it would not have been enforced for the prior eight year period.

Interesting that the case was decided by Judge Hatter. I spent a semester in law school as a judicial extern at the Federal District Court and he was referred to as the "Mad Hatter" for his sometimes eccentric behavior.
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Re: Are You Ready to Pay Fees Everywhere?

Postby David Senesac » Fri May 02, 2014 11:42 pm

I'm not one that is against all fees nor for fees everywhere.

Generally don't have an issue with some fees to partially cover costs of implementing, using, and maintaining outdoor places that we use. This ain't 1914. The notion that everything ought to be free is a unrealistic and selfish pipedream. Generally if you vote for me, I'd have costs necessary to maintain places be a fair combination of general funds and modest enthusiast fees. Thus OHV enthusiasts ought to be paying for use of creating, maintaining, and using their massacred landscapes while part of general funds pay for the rest it. Same with our stuff.

Thus recently paid $15 buckos for making a wilderness permit reservation for a couple of us to go up Convict Creek later next month and that is fine. What I don't like is what they originally did with the Adventure Pass that made short notice weekend trips into those places ridiculous because for some destinations one had to go far from the route to pick one up at middling day station hours. Or how decades ago getting permits to do anything in Yosemite required waiting for permit stations to open at bankers hours on the same day permits were to be for. And am not a fan of high USNF campground fees for primitive sites. But hey most of those authorities heard all these complaints years ago and things are comparitively well now. One thing I particularly like being free is entering National Forest or BLM lands. And then being able to camp about legal dispersed camping zones there freely.

What about a fee to park at a trailhead to reach some peakbagging route or rock climbing zone? Well if it is a primitive trailhead, very much not. But if it is a paved improved road and trailhead with restrooms and the usual nicities because it is used alot, and need maintaining then fine.
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Re: Are You Ready to Pay Fees Everywhere?

Postby willytinawin » Sat May 03, 2014 12:18 am

I like the way it used to be. You and or your partner would drive up to Onion Valley or Glacier Lodge or whatever on Friday night, and get there late, and then lay on the ground next to your car swatting no seeums until the sun came up. Then you rubbed your eyes and got into line and waited for your permit, usually issued at a trailer or by the camp host, then got your stuff together and headed up the trail. Now I know that's not realistic or acceptable to folks today, but I liked it. It was simple, no frills, no six months in advance, just show up and get a permit and head into the wilderness. And if you laid on the ground no one made you pay $15. But you had to watch out for the sprinklers at the Whitney Station, don't sleep on the grass. We were poor then, I guess that had something to do with it, $15 was a tank of gas. Even in Yosemite you could do that (sleep on the ground by the car) and no one would force you to leave. Now, today, they would force you to leave. No reservation today means you cannot go into the wilderness. Or even sleep next to your vehicle. To me there's something wrong with that. But we also had ethics, we never left garbage or messed anything up, we tried not to step on or camp on anything fragile, we followed leave no trace to a "tee", we loved Yosemite and would never do anything to harm it. The fire there last year did more damage to Yosemite than millions of visitors could ever do. But somehow the people, people like me who were born here and lived our entire lives here, hauled many pounds of other people's trash out are treated as cattle, ...."where's your permit? No permit? got to leave then" go home. You can no longer take responsibility for yourself, that is now the job of the nanny state.
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Re: Are You Ready to Pay Fees Everywhere?

Postby phydeux » Sat May 03, 2014 4:05 am

fatdad wrote:
Buz Groshong wrote:It's appalling that it took 10 years to get them to obey the law.

Here, in So Cal, they stopped enforcing the Adventure Pass program after the Adams decision came down in 2012. I haven't read the recent decision, but there clearly must have been some ambiguity in the law or concern about its application to the current situation or it would not have been enforced for the prior eight year period.

Interesting that the case was decided by Judge Hatter. I spent a semester in law school as a judicial extern at the Federal District Court and he was referred to as the "Mad Hatter" for his sometimes eccentric behavior.



uh, not quite fatdad. I got cited at the Cougar Crest trailhead on the north side of Big bear Lake (San bernardino Natl Forest) in late summer 2013; I had a pass, but they cited me since it wasn't hung from the rear view mirror! I had a refelctive sun protection screen across my front window so the mirror's armature was blocked. I simply put it at the lower edge of the window where it could be seen, and they STILL cited me. Total a**holes. Worse thing is I was up there hiking Bertha Peak with a few "noobs", and they were less-that-impressed by the actions of the rangers.
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