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Tom
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PostSun Feb 24, 2002 7:33 pm 
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Admin note:  the original posts in this topic have disappeared.

It's such a small fee it doesn't really bother me.  What's it actually supposed cover though?  Road maintenance would make more sense IMO, but I assume it's for trail maintenance.
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Backpacker Joe
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NWH Joe-Bob
PostSun Feb 24, 2002 7:44 pm 
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It MAY be small now, but it was smaller when it was first implemented and will comtinue to grow.  Give an inch take a mile bit.  Soon it'll be 100.00 a year.  Then it'll be more and more and more.

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"If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide."

— Abraham Lincoln
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-lol-
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PostSun Feb 24, 2002 8:11 pm 
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Allison
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PostSun Feb 24, 2002 10:30 pm 
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I think if I felt like I was getting MORE for paying for a pass, like in terms of enhanced services/TM whatever, then I would be fine with it. But I feel like I'm getting LESS, like the fact that the Montlake Terrace MBSNF office is no longer open to the public, and money is being spent on Pass enforcement that used to be spent for other things. If I pay for it, make me feel like I'm getting something extra for it. Plus I have a really hard time with all of the different passes I need to use lands. There's the Trail Park Pass, the Access Stewardship Pass, the Sno-park Pass, and even if I were to get all THREE of the passes named the NPs are a seperate fee structure altogether. BS!!!

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Lazyboy
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PostMon Feb 25, 2002 10:13 am 
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It's almost like the postal service, rates go up, service goes down.  Sorry they don't deserve anymore of my money.
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McPilchuck
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Joined: 17 Dec 2001
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PostMon Feb 25, 2002 2:27 pm 
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Most everyone knows how I feel on this subject, as i have hammered on it from the getgo, but for those who don't, I feel fees should not be charged for access in National Forests overall and less used trailheads (example: Malladry Ridge Walt Bailey Trail - constructed and maintained by volunteers to include the road just dead ends, as in no parking lot) unless there is a specific need for repair or improvements but only in areas where there is that need such as in heavy use areas, perhaps where santitation toilets are needed.  If a parking area or road needs more work than already taxes can't pay for, then they can charge a fee for that specific spot. My main beef, is it's too wide spread, the pay to play thing.  Ever since the Forest Service old growth logging revenue declined, which by the way was proven not cost effective as it costs more to do than the revenue generated, the FS has gotten into the recreational revenue avenue, with considerable lobby to congress to maintain much of the budget, create projects and programs. In other words, to have a budget, things have to exist to pay for them.  Similar to when more metermaids are hired, justification is then to install more meters thus expanding the budget, it's called job security.

heres' a web site to visit about the Fee Pass thing.
http://www.wildwilderness.org

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in the granite high-wild alpine land . . .
www.alpinequest.com
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kleet
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meat tornado
PostMon Feb 25, 2002 3:09 pm 
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This is the official line: "The fee demonstration program began in 1996 to determine if recreation sites can recover a portion of maintenance and other costs through fees paid directly by recreation visitors. Eighty percent of the funds collected remain in local areas, providing increased maintenance, enhanced services, better public safety, and greater resource stewardship for increased public demand."

Back when I worked for the USFS, we had a minimum of three Wilderness Rangers (one year we had five) who patrolled the district, did minor trail maintenance and revegetation projects, picked up litter and were able to get out and at the very least be a public presence on the trails. We also had a trail crew that worked the entire summer clearing downed logs, doing erosion control and rebuilding damaged trail. This was well before any fee system was in place. Last year with the fee system in my former district, the number of Wilderness Rangers is ZERO. There are two volunteer Rangers (a retired married couple) and they employed a 3 person trail crew for a total of TWO weeks. This is for a district that contains a wilderness area of 393,360 acres with over 450 miles of trails.

If the USFS wants public support for this, they need to explain where the money we pay for Trail Park Passes is going. In 2000, something like 10 percent of the routine, annual trail maintenance done was completed with congressionally appropriated funds. The other 90 percent supposedly came from user fees. At least 20 percent of user fees are used for <i>administration and cost of collection</i>. Enforcement apparently is not included in that; it comes out of the portion that is supposed to be used for trail projects. Why do we now have more money coming into the individual Ranger Districts (supposedly) and less being spent on trails?

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A fuxk, why do I not give one?
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Brian Curtis
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Joined: 16 Dec 2001
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Trail Blazer/HiLaker
PostMon Feb 25, 2002 5:36 pm 
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Listings by year of MBSNF projects completed with trail pass funds are available here. Click on the ranger district links at the bottom of the page for a listing of the trails maintained, and by whom they were maintained.

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that elitist from silverdale wanted to tell me that all carnes are bad--Studebaker Hoch
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Backpacker Joe
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NWH Joe-Bob
PostMon Feb 25, 2002 7:48 pm 
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Yet again Mr. Brian comes up with some great info.

2-shay-turtle Brian.

TB

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"If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide."

— Abraham Lincoln
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Brian Curtis
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Trail Blazer/HiLaker
PostMon Feb 25, 2002 9:53 pm 
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The Gifford Pinchot NF is going to reduce the number of trailheads that require a pass from the current 140 to between 40 and 50. Here's an article.

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that elitist from silverdale wanted to tell me that all carnes are bad--Studebaker Hoch
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Rich Baldwin
Mister Eddie



Joined: 21 Dec 2001
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Mister Eddie
PostMon Feb 25, 2002 11:56 pm 
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I have mixed feelings about it. I think it was Ron Judd who wrote a few years ago, "Remember when the Government did things for the public good because it is good for the public?"

Recreation on public lands falls in this category, in my opinion. It is good for the public to experience outdoor recreation, and Congress should fund it. The incremental affect on taxes would be miniscule.

On the other hand, it seems clear that the odds of Congress funding it sometime within the next decade are slim to none, whether or not folks like us support the fee program. If it comes down to a choice between a fee program with poorly funded trail/trailhead maintenance vs. no fee program and zero funding, I'll take the fee program - particularly since there is an option to earn the pass for volunteerism.

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Was you ever bit by a dead bee?
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Timber Cruiser
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PostTue Feb 26, 2002 4:13 pm 
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McPilchuck said;
[Ever since the Forest Service old growth logging revenue declined, which by the way was proven not cost effective as it costs more to do than the revenue generated, ]

My experience with FS timber sales ended in 1990 with the appearance of the spotted owl.  Up until that time, I bid on many sales that had revenue earmarked for recreational projects such as trailheads, outhouses, trail bridges, etc.  Now you can argue all you want about the profitability of these sales (accountants are as skilled at twisting the "facts" as lawyers can be) but the bottom line is we have benefited from an access system that was built and maintained by the timber sale program.  Proper road maintenance is critical to water quality and safety.  It's also very expensive.  Without  timber revenue the only choices are to go to the taxpayer or abandon road systems.  I haven't read many favorable opinions of either option.

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"Logging encourages the maintenance of foilage by providing economic alternatives to development."
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polarbear
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PostTue Feb 26, 2002 9:34 pm 
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"The fee demonstration program began in 1996 to determine if recreation sites can recover a portion of maintenance and other costs through fees paid directly by recreation visitors."  

This statement to me is also a nobrainer.  Of course you can recover fees by charging users.  The fee demo is a shoe-in based on this.  The questions that should be asked are do we really want fund another beaurocracy of collection, monitoring, and ticketing?  Does the pass exclude those hikers on lower incomes?  Do we really want the outdoor experience to be equated with going to see a movie?  Is having to buy the pass an obstacle to someone who sees the Seattle sun poke through the clouds and decides to hit the mountains?  I bought very few passes last year as most of my hikes were spur of the moment.  The few times I've checked, only 50-60% of the cars are displaying passes (Ingalls, Surprise, Snow).  That is not overwhelming support in my book.  

One thing we need to do is make trail maintenance easier. Chainsaws should be allowed for clearing trails.  Some trails get a large number of blowdowns over the winter.  Do you want trail funds to go to using handsaws?

I agree that a great and rich country like ours should be able to fund what I would call primitive recreation--walking and hiking, at a city, county, and federal level.  I shouldn't have to pay to walk through a city or county park, or through Forest Service Lands.  Unfortunately,  we seem to be having trouble with the funding even on the local level:

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/59760_parks26.shtml

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...and a window that looks out on Corcovado...  Corcovado Hill
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McPilchuck
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Wild Bagger
PostWed Feb 27, 2002 9:28 am 
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The Bear hits it right on the head as far as I am concerned, though I like the other takes, too. I guess my main beef is I believe it's too wide spread: affecting trailheads that never have hardly any work done to them except for fancy new signs. Typically, I have seen some trailheads that haven't changed in over 30 years, even since the Pass Fee was installed. As far as road maint. is concerned, unless slated for "putting to bed or restoration" most FS roads are to be kept open for one thing or another...future logging, fire danger, etc. Funding that through recreation fees swap seems rather absurd, but I guess we would be caught between a rock & hard place for access if there is no road maint., on the other hand other agencies are gating roads (DNR) which is one reason to buy a mountain bike, eh?  Lastly, I think if an area really needs some work & maint.or toilets, fee charging for that specific area is probably the call, through volunteers service though similar to WTA and other organizations, the fee could be reduced to minimal. But then, that plays into collecting a tax base, doesn't it?  Food for thought.

The Bear said:
"The fee demonstration program began in 1996 to determine if recreation sites can recover a portion of maintenance and other costs through fees paid directly by recreation visitors."  

"This statement to me is also a nobrainer.  Of course you can recover fees by charging users.  The fee demo is a shoe-in based on this.  The questions that should be asked are do we really want fund another beaurocracy of collection, monitoring, and ticketing?  Does the pass exclude those hikers on lower incomes?  Do we really want the outdoor experience to be equated with going to see a movie?  Is having to buy the pass an obstacle to someone who sees the Seattle sun poke through the clouds and decides to hit the mountains?  I bought very few passes last year as most of my hikes were spur of the moment.  The few times I've checked, only 50-60% of the cars are displaying passes (Ingalls, Surprise, Snow).  That is not overwhelming support in my book."

--------------
in the granite high-wild alpine land . . .
www.alpinequest.com
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catwoman
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PostWed Feb 27, 2002 10:12 am 
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I think it's obvious what everyone (or at least most everyone) feels on this.  I agree that public lands should be readily available (at no extra cost to the user) to all of us.  The government wastes soooooooo much money on useless stuff.  I know we all know this.  But, let me tell you about an example..... some years ago I used to skydive.  The army has skydive teams that skydive JUST for the competition of it.  That's their 'job'.  This has nothing to do with combat.  This is sport.  They compete in national and world sport competitions.  (Combat jumping and sport jumping are completely different.)  They train 5 days a week on government money - utilizing aircraft and fuel and gear.  This is extremely costly. And you know what.... they compete (and most often win) against teams that have to pay their own way and have no sponsorship.  I don't have a problem if they have army teams, but I think they should have to do it outside of their work and have to pay for it individually, like civilians have to do. rant.gif

Sorry I went off on a rant.  Kinda drifted the thread a bit, but my  point is there should be plenty of government funds to cover any necessary road/parking/trail maintenance.  The government just choses to allocate it in what I'd call frivolty.  We shouldn't have to pay extra fees to be able to park at a trailhead!
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