Fee Site Surveys
The new permanent form of forest service access fees (known as RAT, or Recreation Access Tax) requires that fee sites offer certain very specific amenities.(*) Many of the sites where fees are being charged DO NOT meet these requirements. Several groups, including wildwilderness.org, are working together to collect site surveys which "ground proof" the systematic misapplication of fees. You can help - download a survey form in either Word or PDF, fill it out, and return it to WildWilderness per the instructions at the top.
Site Survey Form:
(*) Requirements for Fee Sites (from HR 4818)
Sites must have all of the following if fees are collected:
There are also restrictions which specifically omit locations from having access fees, such as scenic pullouts, picnicing along roads and trails, charging solely for parking, etc. [See Sec 803(d)].
Here is the email which accompanied this form, from WildWilderness:
The USFS's implementation of their new Recreation Access Tax (RAT) is not going well for them. On some National Forests, such as the Deschutes here in Oregon, as many as half of all fee sites fail to meet the requirement set forth in the law. Simply put, the USFS is currently charging fees at recreation sites where it has NO authority to do so. In so doing, the USFS is defying the intent of the US Congress who, many will recall, gave the recreating public its assurances that fees would only be charged Where, When and If certain specified requirements were met.
Many in Congress have an inkling that problems exist, but no-one yet knows the full extent to which the USFS is abusing the RAT. That's where we need your help. We'd like your assistance in groundtruthing this ever-contentious and always-unpopular program!
Appended is a easy to complete site survey. Every time you visit a USFS fee site, please complete a fresh form. You can print and mail them to me or you can use e-mail, if you prefer. It matters not how you get me the info, but it is vital that a steady steam of completed surveys begins to flow quickly and continues to flow throughout the summer of '05. I will make certain that this valuable information finds its way into the right hands.
Please help, please forward this message as you wish -- and thanks so much!
PS... We are working with WSNFC on this project. If you are using their survey form, please carry on as you've been doing!