Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Federal Recreation Access Tax (RAT) or Pay to Hike the Backcountry

Currently, both Congress and the Senate are taking steps to re-evaluate RAT and opefully repeal it. If you're not up to speed on what I'm talking about, keep reading - the explanation is at the bottom. Otherwise, I have two actions you can take now.

********#1 HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES**********************

"The U.S. House of Representatives has decided to take a serious look at the much-criticized implementation, if not over-implementation, of the Federal Lands Recreational Enhancement Act (FLREA), This is the law that has saddled us the pandemic of new and ever-increasing recreation fees to enter and use our public lands, which is why it’s called RAT, for Recreation Access Tax, by its distracters." Read the rest of the article

The public can submit written testimony for the hearing record until July 2. Send testimony as email attachments to Domenick.Carroll@mail.house.gov with a cc to Laurel.Angell@mail.house.gov.

********#2 SENATE**************
Senate Bill 868, the Baucus-Crapo bill is entitled, Fee Repeal and Expanded Access Act of 2007. The bill's major objectives:

* Repeal the FLREA
* Reinstate the fee authorities established by the Land and Water Conservation Act
* Reinstate the National Parks Pass system
* Cap the amount that can be charged for entrance to national parks.
For more info on the senate bill or this article.

Call or write both your senators today and ask them to support Senate Bill 868.

Contact info for all US Senators.

*************BACKGROUND INFO************************

For those of you who haven't followed the play by play on this issue, it started more than 10 years ago as a pilot project to charge people to hike on our public land -- not just developed campgrounds, but remote areas as well. Then Alaska Senator Ted Stevens traded the infamous "Road to Nowhere" for an Ohio Congressman's slight of hand that embedded legisltation making this tax permanent into the Omnibus Appropriations Bill with no congressional hearings about 5 years ago. For more info on the history of RAT, visit Western Slope No Fee Coalition or Wild Wilderness. The primary goal of RAT is for public/private partnerships to develop "enhanced recreational opportunities" on our public lands and was sponsored by the likes of Disney and Suzuki. (think golf courses and hotels)

PLEASE take the time to do this now.

Please forward this information to all your lists (don't forget people who are allied with us on this issue but perhaps not other issues - like the off road vehicle community in your area).

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