OK, here’s your chance to make a big difference in the way you and everyone else will experience the back country in the future. I am writing about the Federal Government’s Recreational Fee Demonstration Program–the ill conceived idea that everyone who parks a vehicle inside the boundaries of a National Forest area must purchase and display an Adventure Pass. We?re not talking about national parks–these forest fees cover federal lands that comprise almost one third of our country. Any of you who are not yet affected by the Adventure Pass program, or simply aren?t aware of it, should be forewarned. The program is being sold as a way to enhance the park system by charging users a fee to park their vehicles anywhere in our national forests, whether in formerly free parking lots, or even off the side of the road, and then using the proceeds for local facilities. In truth, it is another form of taxation that: 1–Creates another new and wasteful bureaucracy. 2–Covers the back country with ugly and expensive signs. 3–Diverts forest service personnel from useful and productive duties and converts them into gun-toting meter maids. 4–Destroys a 250-year tradition that federal and state common lands belong to the people–not government officials. 5–Allows Congress to steal your tax money that they agreed to use to purchase and maintain these common lands–and spend it on unrelated pet projects. 6–Turns you, the owners of federal lands, into paying customers who now must buy a special pass to play on your own property. 7–Excludes low-income citizens from enjoying their wilderness heritage. 8–Sets a dangerous precedent–because once you need a special pass to use the back country–that pass can be revoked at any time! The present penalty for not displaying an Adventure Pass is as high as $100.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO TO PREVENT IT
The House Interior Appropriations subcommittee is meeting on April 6th to discuss the probability that the Recreational Fee Demonstration program–which was originally scheduled to end in Sept. 2001–will become a federal law. Although the fee program is opposed by every population where the program is being tested–including local governments, the Sierra Club, and almost every wilderness organization–the proponents maintain that the American public has no problem with forest fees! Tell them you want it stopped–now! 1–Write Congressman Ralph Regula, House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, B-308,Rayburn, Washington DC. 20515 2–Tell them in a short a note to: End the demo fee Adventure Pass program. Properly fund the Forest Service. Maintain the national forests without charging forest fees. *Ask that your letter or postcard be made part of the record for Public Witness day on April 6.
Click here for the closest thing that Ralph has to e-mail. It is still a pain but not as bad as licking a stamp. Send your letter by the 4th of April to be sure (later is still OK) and tell all of your friends. You will have done your country a great service by stopping this foolish program in its tracks. End the Adventure Pass!
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