By Richard J. Cunningham
Once again, your present elected government officials are trying to sneak legislation under your nose that will undermine your access to National forest and BLM land. If you haven?t heard me rant against the Recreational Forest Fee Demonstration Program, you should know that it is a badly conceived attempt to force all users who park their vehicles alongside roads within the national forest or BLM boundaries to purchase and display an Adventure Pass. The $5, one-day pass or $30 yearly pass is deemed necessary to fund the forest service, whose maintenance budget has been nibbled down to 28 million dollars annually for the entire country. If you don?t comply, you?ll face a $110 ticket.
RECAPPING THE EVIL ADVENTURE PASS
There are many reasons why the Adventure Pass program is wrong. Here are the bullet points: 1–A pass can be revoked–and that means your right to set foot on your public lands would be turned into a privilege: 2–The government has money to fund the maintenance budget, they simply wont cut a check (28 million is less than it costs to buy a single military helicopter–less we paid for Bill Clintons legal bills during his impeachment): 3–the fee program discriminates by locking out the poor: 4–The fee program is a tax in disguise that lines the pockets of liquor stores, gas stations and sporting goods retailers, and makes ordinary folks into criminals if they choose not to comply. 5–almost every penny that the program has stolen from you and I has been spent to erect Adventure Pass warning signs, purchase new patrol vehicles and hire more rangers to hand out tickets (nice touch); 6–once the program is in place, the fees will go up and those who become dependent upon the income–the forest service, adventure pass retailers and the court system–will never allow it to be revoked.
WHAT YOU MUST DO TODAY
There are not enough votes in congress to make the fee demonstration program into a permanent law, but the margin is slim. To keep the Adventure pass alive, its selfish supporters are trying to extend it for another year–for the third time. DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN!
Write a letter before Sept 8th. to:
Senator Ted Stephens
Chair of the Committee on Appropriations,
Senator Dianne Feinstein
Tell them nicely, but clearly that you want them to cancel the one-year extension to the Forest Fee Demo Program in the Interior Appropriations Bill. Add a note that you want them to fund our public lands from our tax dollars as they should have been doing.
Be sure to print you name and address clearly to assure that your views are noted. Letters make a difference–your individual effort will be noticed. Please act now. You?ll be very happy in the future if this wasteful and misguided legislation does not pass.
Thanks again for your attention. I wouldn?t waste the time writing to you about this if I didn?t think you cared.