Bill aims to eliminate fed recreation use fees
A bill introduced this month by three U.S. senators would restore free access to millions of acres of public lands managed by the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation.
The Fee Repeal and Expanded Access Act of 2007 would repeal 2004's Federal Lands Recreation Act, which critics say has led to higher use fees, declining visitation and closure of facilities that cannot pay their own way.
National parks would still be allowed to charge entrance fees but returns all other federal land management agencies to the provisions of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965, which governed recreation use fees for 32 years. Fees would be allowed in developed campgrounds, swim sites and boat-launch facilities but prohibited for the use of roads, drinking water, visitor centers, toilets, picnic tables, scenic overlooks and dispersed camping.
"Recreation user fees were originally sold as a way for the agencies to raise supplemental funds to address their backlogged maintenance," Western Slope No-Fee Coalition president Kitty Benzar said in a press release.
"Instead, fee revenue was used for day-to-day operations and to build facilities that have only added to long-term maintenance needs. And now we are facing thousands of site closures and being told they are necessary because there is still no money for the backlog."
In addition, S2438 would repeal the $80 America the Beautiful Pass, restore the $50 National Parks Pass and stop the National Park Service from attaching park entry fees to the Consumer Price Index.
The bill is co-authored by Montana senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester and Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo.
The Orvis Guide to Personal Fishing Craft
Author: Rickey Noel Mitchell
Publisher: The Lyons Press
Why fish from shore when it's so easy to be out there in the middle of the action?
That's the question Mitchell tackles in his second book, a how-to guide to personal watercraft. The Fresno-based fishing guide details everything from float tubes to pontoon boats to canoes and kayaks, including the correct paddling strokes, rigging techniques and how to be properly equipped for a day on the water. Each chapter also contains a section on fishing tactics unique to each vessel.
Clearly written and illustrated by dozens of photographs, the book has a list price of $15.95. It is available in Fresno at Barnes and Noble.
News & notes
Sports show season is right around the corner. The International Sportsmen's Expo has stops in San Mateo (Jan. 10-13) and Sacramento (Jan. 17-20). The Central Valley Sportsmen's Show returns to the Fresno Fairgrounds from March 14-16.
The Sierra Foothill Conservancy is offering a free 6-mile guided hike Saturday to the top of Table Mountain. No reservations are required. Meet at 9 a.m. Details: www.sierrafoothill.org.
Local expert Buck Deaner will discuss Pine Flat Lake trout techniques at 6:15 p.m. Thursday at Fisherman's Warehouse in Fresno. A free raffle follows.
Learn the basics of land navigation Jan. 19-20 at the Tejon Ranch in Kern County through the Department of Fish and Game's Advanced Hunter Education Program. Cost is $60 and space is limited. Register at www.dfg.ca.gov/huntclinics.
If the New England Patriots can win three more consecutive games, a new benchmark in NFL history would be established. Do you want to see the Patriots achieve this goal? Why or why not?Jason said:
Don't worry James your "Boys" won't have to worry about being the team facing the Pats in the Super Bowl after the GMEN post a whooping on them this weekend. But if it's any consolation you can root for the Pats when they face the GMEN in the Super Bowl.