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End Forest Fees - Call your Senators

This is an email from Keep Sespe Wild received March 3, 2008 concerning S.2438 - Fee Repeal and Expanded Access Act (the FREA Act) - which will end forest service fees.

Senators Smith and Wyden are both on the committee this bill is parked in, so make sure you let them know what you think about fees and ask them to co-sponsor this. (Smith is also facing the end of his current term soon.) Please make calls through the month of March.

  • Senator Gordon Smith - (202) 224-3753
  • Senator Ron Wyden - (202) 224-5244

The new no-fee bill introduced in the US Senate last December, S.2438, needs more cosponsors to help it move promptly through the Senate. Your calls will demonstrate that citizens support an end to fee programs for access to large parts of our four National Forests. (Contact info for all Senators is listed below.)

BACKGROUND:

S. 2438, the Fee Repeal and Expanded Access Act (the FREA Act), will terminate access fees for all lands administered by the US Forest Service, BLM, US Fish & Wildlife Service and Bureau of Reclamation. (These fees began in 1996 with the Fee Demo program and were extended in 2004 by the current fee legislation, which was attached as a rider to a must-pass appropriations bill. This rider was part of a trade that Sen Steven made for pork spending in AK.)

For National Parks, S.2438 will require Congressional approval of entry fee increases, and terminate second layer fees such as those for backcountry access and interpretive programs in National Parks. The new $80 America the Beautiful Pass will be scrapped, and replaced by the former $50 National Parks Pass.

WHO TO CALL IN DC

Please make calls through the month of March.

Can you ask family and friends also to make these brief calls? This no-fee campaign is entirely a grassroots effort - no nationwide organization is sending out a mass mailing on this. The success of S.2438 depends on all of us.

Senators in OR

  • Senator Gordon Smith - (202) 224-3753
  • Senator Ron Wyden - (202) 224-5244

Senators in WA

  • Senator Patty Murray - (202) 224-2621
  • Senator Maria Cantwell - (202) 224-3441

Senators in CA

  • Senator Barbara Boxer - (202) 224-3553
  • Senator Dianne Feinstein - (202) 224-3841

If you live in another state check out http://www.senate.gov/ for a list of Senators and their DC phone numbers.

WHAT TO SAY

When somebody answers the phone at the Senator's office, simply leave a message asking the Senator please to cosponsor S.2438. Leave your name and the city or county you live in.

You may also add a brief reason why the Senator should support S.2438, but it's not necessary to go into much detail.

Please note that Democratic Senators from Montana, Max Baucus and Jon Tester have already sponsored S.2438, as have Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Senator Ken Salazar (R-CO).

Fee opponents have waited over ten years now for legislation with a good chance of ending fees for access to the public lands we love to visit. Now that it's here, S.2438 will need our determined and consistent support over the coming year, maybe longer.

Thank you to all who have supported the no-fee cause for all or part of those last ten years. We've made a lot of headway with support in Congress, and things really are looking up. You'll hear from us next time we need to get the no-fee message to our legislators in DC.

Thank you,
Alasdair Coyne
Keep Sespe Wild

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