Residents Protest Forest Fees

Kernhuntr

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Residents protest fees to use public lands
By Andrea Cavanaugh, acavanaugh@insidevc.com
June 16, 2002
Dar-El Portier says that as a taxpayer, he's already paid for the right to use National Forest lands.
That's why the Los Angeles resident joined several dozen demonstrators in Ojai on Saturday to protest a government program requiring visitors to the Los Padres National Forest and other wilderness areas to purchase Adventure Passes.
"It's double taxation," Portier said. "We have the right to walk upon public lands without being taxed twice."
Waving signs with slogans such as "Smokey Says Prevent Forest Fees," the demonstrators protested against the Adventure Pass program, which requires visitors to pay $5 per day or $30 per year to use some national forests.
The Ojai demonstration was part of National Day of Action, a nationwide protest against what organizers call a growing trend toward "pay-to-play" recreation.
"The public is upset about having to pay to park or walk on public lands," said organizer Alasdair Coyne of Ojai. "There's a 100-year tradition of public lands being free and paid for with the public purse."
Congress authorized the Recreational Fee Demonstration Program, or "Fee Demo," in 1996, allowing the National Parks Service and other agencies to implement temporary fees for recreational users. Congress is expected to hold hearings this summer on whether to make the fees permanent.
"It's getting the public used to paying for what already belongs to us," said demonstrator Pamela Miller of Santa Barbara.
The legislation was enacted because less government funding and more visitors are taking a toll on public lands, according to the NPS.
Surveys show a majority of park users support the fees, according to the NPS.
But the protesters in Ojai urged passers-by to boycott the program by refusing to buy Adventure Passes.
"People think they're helping the forests by buying these passes, but the money's not going where it's supposed to be going," said Heidi Mauer, chairwoman of Free Our Forests, a local group that opposes the fees.
Organizers also contend the fees discriminate against low-income people who can't afford to buy the passes.
Although many passing motorists honked their horns in support of the protest, some Ojai residents said the Adventure Pass fees are both necessary and reasonable.
"They have to maintain the forest and I don't think there's enough money for that," resident Sandy Grotsky said. "Besides, they're not asking for a fortune. What's five bucks?"
On the Net:
http://www.nps.gov/feedemo
http://www.freeourforests.org
 

huntducks

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We need more of these i'll bet they got ZERO media coverage, but if they would have been protesting hunting or cutting down some weeds up there or saving some snail darter the media would have been all over it like a cheap suit.
 

limit7

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Is the $30 used for anything other than law enforcement?  When I was fishing last week up at Piru creek, you could not believe the trash.  I felt cheated.  My license pays for the stockers and my $30 pays for the officer ciiting everyone without a pass.  I thought the $30 was to be used for protection for the forests.  I have yet to hear of or see anything my adventure pass pays for.  
 

huntducks

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I think it pays for new trash can's that all the low lifes throw there diapers next to, and the keep out no hunting signs, and of course smokey to write tickets.
 

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