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Jamin Smitchger
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Jamin Smitchger
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PostMon Dec 06, 2004 4:43 pm 
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This trail pass stuff is a piece of junk. I have never supported it and don't believe that it really helps maintain our trails. I also do not believe a person should have to pay for access to public lands. They are there for the public and the public should not have to pay exorbitant fees to use them. Moreover, I believe we should be encouraging people to visit public lands rather than making them pay.  frown.gif What about the people who go hiking once a year or less, having to pay 30 bucks is not going to encourage new people to come into the sport.
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Newt
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PostMon Dec 06, 2004 7:00 pm 
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That word sport. Most sports at one time or another boil down to $'s. It costs more to be involved/compete and more to spectate. It really does suck, but it's all about money. I don't think it's so much that the less fortunate can afford it as it is that those that can will spend it.

JMO

Newt

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It's pretty safe to say that if we take all of man kinds accumulated knowledge, we still don't know everything. So, I hope you understand why I don't believe you know everything. But then again, maybe you do.
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Slugman
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Joined: 27 Mar 2003
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Slugman
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PostThu Jan 06, 2005 3:59 am 
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Maybe I'm slow, and everybody else already knew this, but I just found out that the bill re-athorizing the so-called "fee demo" now makes it a criminal offense punishable by up to 180 days in jail for not displaying a valid pass in an area that requires one. A perpetrator would have a criminal record, not a civil infraction. This could apply, theoretically at least, if you had a pass but forgot to display it at the trailhead. And the pass itself says that you are not supposed to drive with it hanging in the proper spot, so a person who follows the rules better have a darn good memory for hanging it at the trailhead.

Another thing I don't like is the new rule which says trailheads with no toilets and picnic tables are exempt. It sounds good at first, and maybe it would help a person who only hikes a few times per year as they could choose to hike only from these "unimproved" trailheads, but for most hikers a pass will be needed anyway for all the other hikes, so having some "freebies" is useless to us. And now the NFS will be spending our fee money to install toilets and picnic tables at these sites just so they can get more fees. Say goodby to any trail maintenance being done with the money.

I dislike the pass, but I have long since bowed to the inevitable, so the penalty for not having one doesn't affect me, but I still don't like it. I'm not against all penalties, since without enforcement of some kind the pass would become a joke, but a criminal offence seems disproportionate to me. A stiff monetary fine seems more like an appropriate penalty for scofflaws. We don't arrest and criminalize non-paying parkers at meters  in cities, do we? No, we don't, we fine them, and only bring charges in extreme cases of not paying multiple fines.

That reminds me, my pass just expired, so I better get my behind over to  REI to get a new one before this weekend. I'm still debating whether to go "whole hog" and get the Nat Park pass as well, a better overall deal, or just get the NFS pass. I went to Rainier NP and Olympic NP pay entrances seven times last year, so I got my money's worth for the $35 extra dollars I spent, but how many times can I go back to the same spots? With several entrances to ONP and all of North Cascades NP not charging fees, not getting the NP pass is a viable option.

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Just another tequila sunrise....
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mtnwkr
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mtnwkr
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PostThu Jan 06, 2005 4:24 am 
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i  get around the whole not having a pass thing by letting someone else drive...

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There's a mostly unspoken acknowledgment among the voluntarily impoverished that it's better to be fiscally poor yet rich in experience-living the dream-than to be traditionally wealthy but live separate from one's passions.
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mtnwkr
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PostThu Jan 06, 2005 4:29 am 
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the part about trails with no toilets or picnic tables are exempt confuses me... theres a sign stating i need a pass at mildred lakes, but theres niether of the requirements for needing one..and its not even a maintained trail...am i missing something?

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There's a mostly unspoken acknowledgment among the voluntarily impoverished that it's better to be fiscally poor yet rich in experience-living the dream-than to be traditionally wealthy but live separate from one's passions.
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JimK
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PostThu Jan 06, 2005 8:24 am 
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Hey Sluggo,
It's not a matter of a criminal act or a stiff fine. You get both! Forget to hang that permit after a 3 hour drive and you can get up to 6 months in jail and a $5,000 fine! If people have the gall to defy the law you just have to make the penalties stiff enough. That'll teach them.

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Hiking Northwest
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jimmymac
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jimmymac
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PostThu Jan 06, 2005 8:49 am 
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Does anyone here know if it's possible to get a NP annual pass by volunteering service hours on a NP project?

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"Profound serenity is the product of unfaltering Trust and heightened vulnerability."
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Slugman
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Slugman
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PostThu Jan 06, 2005 9:31 am 
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melgwen wrote:
the part about trails with no toilets or picnic tables are exempt confuses me... theres a sign stating i need a pass at mildred lakes, but theres niether of the requirements for needing one..and its not even a maintained trail...am i missing something?

The rules are new. Anything you see out there today was done under the old rules. It was also not uniform before, and might not be uniform after. Different NF units can have different plans and accommodations to those plans. A year or so ago, the park pass requirement was dropped at the Snowgrass Flat trailhead because of no improvements (according to a sign at the trailhead), while passes were still required at Berry Patch just a mile away, since it had improvements. There is still a lot of experimentation going on with the fee project. I would expect Mildred lakes TH to get a toilet before it starts being a maintained trail. More poor prioritizing by the NFS. I would oppose the "Fee Demo" less if all money went into trail maintenance. But trailhead "improvements" are more visible and more easily quantified for justification purposes than actual trail maintenance.

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Slugman
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Slugman
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PostThu Jan 06, 2005 9:36 am 
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Jamin Smitchger wrote:
What about the people who go hiking once a year or less, having to pay 30 bucks is not going to encourage new people to come into the sport.

They only pay $5 for a day pass, or can find a non-improved trailhead and pay nothing. But I agree with you overall that it is a backdoor attempt to reduce hikers in the forests. Actually serving taxpayers is always an inconvenience to beaurocrats.

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oosik
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oosik
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PostThu Jan 06, 2005 12:32 pm 
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Slugman wrote:
I dislike the pass, but I have long since bowed to the inevitable, so the penalty for not having one doesn't affect me, but I still don't like it. I'm not against all penalties, since without enforcement of some kind the pass would become a joke, but a criminal offence seems disproportionate to me. A stiff monetary fine seems more like an appropriate penalty for scofflaws. We don't arrest and criminalize non-paying parkers at meters  in cities, do we? No, we don't, we fine them, and only bring charges in extreme cases of not paying multiple fines.

And because you pay for the pass, along with others willing to "do as they are told", you made it possible for these fees to become permanent.  Only by opposing unjust laws can you make them go away.  The fees will become the death of trail maintenance and result in more outhouses, trailhead signage and rangers driving around in shiney trucks issuing tickets.

Meanwhile the timber companies are still having roads constructed at taxpayer expense to remove logs at a net loss to the taxpayer in places like the Tongass.
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Melakwa Tea Party
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Melakwa Tea Party
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PostThu Jan 06, 2005 8:41 pm 
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I  wonder how the punishment compares with tresspassing on private property?  It seems way out of line.  Public property and heritage is being treated more like private property.  How did recreation (recreating the human body, mind, and spirt) get replaced with this awful "pay to play" concept?
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Slugman
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Slugman
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PostThu Jan 06, 2005 9:06 pm 
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I really don't mind the whole fee concept as much as some. Paying for parking is the norm in our society. And trailhead parking lots serve no purpose to society at large at all except to facilitate hiking, so hikers paying for them is no great outrage. My main gripe is that the funds are not used in a manner I feel is consistent with what we are told when we buy the pass, and that the new punishments are too severe. I'm too lazy to volunteer for trail maintenance with the WTA, so I don't mind paying something for what I use. Boat people pay a boat-launching fee, State parks charge for parking, the NPS has always charged, for my lifetime anyway, and other examples abound, like hunting/fishing licences, etc. As long as the fees aren't too steep, and are used solely for the benefit of the people who pay them, then it's no big deal to me. I understand that others feel diferently and I respect that. I "use" my NW Forest pass at least thirty, maybe forty, times per year, so at a buck a trip, even a slacker with a lousy job like mine can afford it. If several people joined a hiking car-pool club, the cost per trip per person could be reduced to a quarter or so. Gas for the trip is ten to twenty times as much. I guess I just can't get worked up over $30/year with all the stuff going on in the world today. I'd even be willing to pay more if it meant that virtually all necessary trail repairs were done in a timely manner. If someone starts a fund to replace bridges out on just the Grey Wolf river in ONF, count me in for ten or twenty more right there.

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polarbear
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PostThu Jan 06, 2005 10:06 pm 
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I still maintain that the money and manpower spent on ticketing and collecting the fees could be better employed building the very toilets that the fee system is trying to create funds for.   lol.gif  lol.gif  rolleyes.gif  bawl.gif  bawl.gif  bawl.gif

The time spent checking passes and writing tickets could be spent digging pits, laying a little concrete, and putting in the commode.   Imagine what you could do with a skilled group of outhouse installers in one summer.  And if they made it a fee toilet they could even make more money off it. hmmm.gif

Oh Dig a little pit!
Make a little concrete!
Lay down the commode! up.gif
Lay down the commode! up.gif
(apologies to KC & Sunshine Band)

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jimmymac
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jimmymac
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PostThu Jan 06, 2005 10:55 pm 
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polarbear wrote:
...Oh Dig a little pit!
Make a little concrete!
Lay down the commode! up.gif
Lay down the commode! up.gif
(apologies to KC & Sunshine Band)

Shake, shake, shake
Duh da da da duh
Shake, shake, shake

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"Profound serenity is the product of unfaltering Trust and heightened vulnerability."
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oosik
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oosik
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PostFri Jan 07, 2005 1:34 pm 
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Slugman wrote:
I really don't mind the whole fee concept as much as some. Paying for parking is the norm in our society.

Do you pay to park in your own driveway?  These are national lands, YOU own them! 

Do you pay for the police to come to your house on a per-case basis?  Do you pay for the distance driven on the National Highway system per mile?    Do you pay per book you check out at the library?  Do you REFUSE to pay for your neighbor's children to go to public school with your property taxes?  National lands are preserved not for individuals, but the nation as a whole. 

Quote:
And trailhead parking lots serve no purpose to society at large at all except to facilitate hiking, so hikers paying for them is no great outrage.

Those roads were not installed for recreational benefit.  They were either put there for logging or mining.  The only exception is for National Parks which are developed for recreation and visitation.

Quote:
My main gripe is that the funds are not used in a manner I feel is consistent with what we are told when we buy the pass, and that the new punishments are too severe.

And they remain without obligation to have those fee monies go toward reducing the "maintenance backlog" which is the bill of goods that they fed you to get you to accept.

Quote:
I "use" my NW Forest pass at least thirty, maybe forty, times per year, so at a buck a trip, even a slacker with a lousy job like mine can afford it.

It isn't completely an issue of the money, it is the priorities.  If, to be able to charge you, they put more outhouses in, picnic tables, interpretive centers, and ignore trail maintenence, which is really all a hiker really is hoping to see, does that make you happy?  This plan doesn't promote nature, conservation, or maintenance, it promotes development.

It ain't gonna remain $30 a year either.  Early reports are suggesting $85-100 a year for Park/Forest access, and that is just the starting rate.  Once they figure out how much money is needed to actually get something done instead of just overhead to collect fees, they are going to go up and there is nothing to stop them from raising the fees.

How fair is it to give a $5,000 fine for a family parking at the side of the road for a picnic?
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