Red Rock Pass Lies

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Jim_H
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Red Rock Pass Lies

Post by Jim_H » May 18 2010 9:54 am

The real title of the thread should be Red Rock Pass BS, but I didn't think Joe would want that in thread title.
I managed to drive my civic all the way to the Dry Creek Trailhead yesterday via FR 251 or Dry Creek Road. The road had been closed for four days during the previous week for maintenance, even though the FS didn't do anything to the road that actually improved it. I had walked almost the entire length of the road when it was closed, and I can say they hardly did anything to the road. They only thing the incompetent FS did was dump gravel in the areas where puddles had been. They didn't do anything about dumping gravel on the slopes that were badly eroded, did nothing about the huge rocks that stick up out of the road on slopes and level areas, and overall they made no improvements to the road; things that would have made my drive easier even though I did make it in and out. It took them 4 days of having the road closed to do absolutely nothing. I suppose that people without SUVs, trucks, or a rented Sedona Jeep aren't supposed to hike the trails up there, Red Rocks Pass holder or not.

I guess the Red Rocks Pass money must have run out for road maintenance, you know, since they spend it all on that Fire Engine they boast about at trail heads. I know I proudly pay a fee to hike so I can buy Sedona Fire Equipment and not have the roads to trails actually improved, not have trails that aren't sissy tourist trails improved, and not really get anything for the price of a pass besides knowing that 50% of it goes to "administrative costs" so that I have the good warm feeling of employing someone in a private outfit who has a contract with the FS to make sure people at trail heads bought a pass.

Does it make any sense to have a Red Rocks Pass run by a private company which uses half of that money to employ its pass workers, and then buy Sedona Fire Engines? When did Sedona's fire department become my concern as a hiker? Why am I paying for this? Maybe Sedona's High School needs a new soccer field, why don't we pay for that too? How about a Sedona DARE program, they could use one of those, too, I am sure. What the hell is a pass with proceeds that are supposed to be about improving trail conditions and trail heads doing buying fire engines? The wealthy pricks who buy those McMansions in the brush of Sedona might have their precious out of place over compensation piece burn down, so I have to pay to protect it? That engine cost a huge amount of money. I would have much rather seen that money go towards trail maintenance on trails I use, not on something the taxes from Sedona residents and businesses should be buying.

My pass expires shortly. I plan to keep hiking in Oak Creek Canyon this summer, and then move back down to the Sedona area by Autumn, but I have no intention of buying a pass. I don't care if it's $20 for a yearly pass. I get it at Safeway, so you know they get a cut. How much do you think actually goes towards trails? If it wasn't about money, they would give yearly passes away to people who put in 8 hours of trail work a year. That I could get behind, but not what currently exists.
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AZLOT69
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Re: Red Rock Pass Lies

Post by AZLOT69 » May 18 2010 10:10 am

No more taxes ! : app :
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base871
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Re: Red Rock Pass Lies

Post by base871 » May 18 2010 10:17 am

Just get a national parks pass. Covers everything, and the red rock rangers HATE seeing them!
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Re: Red Rock Pass Lies

Post by Jim_H » May 18 2010 10:17 am

AZLOT69 wrote:No more taxes ! : app :
You know, it's not that. It's that the pass claims to be about one thing: maintaining trails, trail heads, and improving hiking conditions, but from the FS's own reports, that is not the case. It's in their reports to the public that they tell you 50% of the pass money is administratively spent, and they have advertisements boasting about buying the fire engine at numerous trail heads. I first remember seeing it at the Wilson Mt trail head.

I think Flagstaff should institute a "We do what we want with the money pass". Everyone who parks at any trail head within 25 miles of Flagstaff has to pay $5 to park. Half of that will go to paying someone's salary to make sure those passes are being bought, and then the other half will go towards what ever Flagstaff wants to do with the money.
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Re: Red Rock Pass Lies

Post by Jim_H » May 18 2010 10:18 am

base871 wrote:Just get a national parks pass. Covers everything, and the red rock rangers HATE seeing them!
Good, good!
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Re: Red Rock Pass Lies

Post by Jeffshadows » May 18 2010 10:21 am

Sounds like BS to me; and I second what base said.
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Re: Red Rock Pass Lies

Post by joebartels » May 18 2010 10:49 am

Hike Arizona it ROCKS!

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Re: Red Rock Pass Lies

Post by Jim_H » May 18 2010 10:52 am

We needed a new one.
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Re: Red Rock Pass Lies

Post by toddak » May 19 2010 9:42 pm

A mountain bike works well - no abuse on the car, more fresh air and exercise and no pass (although I wouldn't ride in Oak Creek Canyon, at least not on a weekend).

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Re: Red Rock Pass Lies

Post by PaleoRob » May 20 2010 3:27 pm

Federal Recreation Pass. +1 to that.
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Jim_H
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Re: Red Rock Pass Lies

Post by Jim_H » May 20 2010 9:03 pm

toddak wrote:A mountain bike works well - no abuse on the car, more fresh air and exercise and no pass (although I wouldn't ride in Oak Creek Canyon, at least not on a weekend).
I used to work with someone who claimed he liked to run people off the road when he drove up canyon and came across cyclists on 89A. I like the bicycle method, too, but I think 30 to 50 miles of riding followed by a hike is a bit much for me.

One thing I was wondering was if motorcyclists who park in Red Rocks Country need a pass? Sure, they can buy one, but it is really easy to steal that little pass that hangs from your rear view mirror. A car can be locked, but a motorcycle can't be.
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Re: Red Rock Pass Lies

Post by chumley » May 20 2010 11:01 pm

Just out of curiosity ... what is the penalty for not having a Red Rock Pass? Who enforces it and how?
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Re: Red Rock Pass Lies

Post by azbackpackr » May 21 2010 5:22 am

Wasn't there a deliberate violator at some time in the past, in the Red Rocks area? I know there have been some in other areas who deliberately got themselves in court, but they lost.
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Re: Red Rock Pass Lies

Post by hikeaz » May 21 2010 6:38 am

Nat'l 'America the FEEutiful Pass" has stickers available for use on motorcycles.

A citation is left on the vehicle - called a 'notice of non-compliance'. I believe that the first step is a $25 fine in RR country. Remember.... the wording in the federal bill is that's it a fee for participating in RECREATION in the area, not parking. Just like photo-radar, the enforcement folks have to prove that it was YOU that was there (not just your vehicle) and that you were RECREATING (that's wreck-re-A-ting, not the other ;) ). They merely put the notices on vehicles because it's easier than patrolling the trails.

What's funny is that you can access many of the Sedona trails from Woody Mountain Road (and other forest roads in the area) and no RRP is required.
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Re: Red Rock Pass Lies

Post by Jim_H » May 21 2010 9:22 am

Plus, the pass is for the vehicle parking, not a person on a trail or elsewhere.

Does anyone know when the RR Pass got started and under what Administration?
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Re: Red Rock Pass Lies

Post by hikeaz » May 21 2010 9:40 am

Chet P wrote:Does anyone know when the RR Pass got started and under what Administration?
As part of the 'Omnibus Consolidated Recissions and Appropriations Act of 1996' (PL 104-134), the Recreation Fee Demonstration (Fee Demo) gave the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Forest Service authority to collect fees which could be used to enhance visitor facilities and services. This authority was not permanent, but Congress has extended the program numerous times and has also lifted the initial one hundred site limit per agency.
Last edited by hikeaz on May 21 2010 9:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Red Rock Pass Lies

Post by Jeffshadows » May 21 2010 9:46 am

azbackpackr wrote:Wasn't there a deliberate violator at some time in the past, in the Red Rocks area? I know there have been some in other areas who deliberately got themselves in court, but they lost.
A women here in Tucson just lost her appeal last year for intentionally violating the Coronado fee; now she bills herself as an "activist" and is planning a class-action. Get a life!!! :wrt:
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Re: Red Rock Pass Lies

Post by Jim_H » Sep 24 2010 1:42 pm

http://azdailysun.com/news/local/articl ... bec60.html
A Sedona backpacker has won a legal victory in a case questioning whether hikers, horse riders and others must buy a pass to visit much of the unimproved 160,000-acre forest surrounding that city.

The case is important because it calls into question the legality of charging someone a fee to use a wilderness area or unimproved trailhead in more than 90 other Forest Service areas nationwide. It also opens the door for others to ask that some Red Rock pass citations be dismissed.

"We've got millions and millions of acres of public land that are going to be freed up by this decision" if it stands, said Kitty Benzar, president of the Western Slope No-Fee Coalition.

"If you're just on a forest road somewhere in the Coconino and Kaibab and you pull over and spend the night, they can't charge you for that," Benzar said.

A spokeswoman for the Red Rock Ranger District said the agency was weighing whether to appeal, and whether it would also reconsider where the passes are needed.

Retired geophysicist Jim Smith, of Sedona, went backpacking down the Dry Creek Trail in the Red Rock/Secret Mountain Wilderness last November without a Red Rock Pass.

The Coconino National Forest says the $5-per-day pass is required for hiking in about 160,000 acres of "high-impact recreation areas" near Sedona. The pass system raises $800,000 a year, which is used for things like trash removal, signs, restrooms and road maintenance.

Smith returned to his truck to find a $100 citation for hiking without a pass, and then spent the winter preparing legal briefs to fight it by looking up other cases on the matter.

The Forest Service offered to drop its case in the spring if Smith would pay the $100, he said.

He declined.

"It's sort of in the spirit of community service," Smith said. "I think that I'm right and it's going to be easier for someone else to file a motion to dismiss (a citation) if they have documents from another case already available."

U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark E. Aspey sided with Smith on Sept. 14, dismissing his citation.

In his written ruling, Aspey said that although the Forest Service could legally require passes and collect fees in areas with improvements -- like restrooms, picnic tables, parking spots or trash collection -- the agency couldn't require someone to have a pass just to visit an unimproved trailhead, or a wilderness.

That basically agrees with what the anti-fee group asserts.

Requiring a Red Rock Pass is not entirely illegal, wrote the judge, just in certain cases.

"However, dismissing this citation is not the death knell of the Red Rock Pass program," Aspey wrote. "The record before the court reveals numerous recreation sites and locations within the Red Rock (high impact recreation area) which qualify as 'areas' where charging a recreational amenity fee would not violate the other provisions" of the federal law governing where the Forest Service can charge fees."

This is called the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act.

Smith says he considered the odds before fighting the citation.

"It's a vast area, 10 miles to the nearest trash service ... I just found it difficult to figure out how the judge could find me guilty," Smith said.

He vowed to pursue the case higher if the Forest Service appeals last week's ruling.
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Re: Red Rock Pass Lies

Post by big_load » Sep 24 2010 2:07 pm

Jim_H wrote:- the agency couldn't require someone to have a pass just to visit an unimproved trailhead, or a wilderness.
I thought this had already been legally established.
Jim_H wrote:The Forest Service offered to drop its case in the spring if Smith would pay the $100, he said.
I don't get this part. Was there anything more at stake than the original $100? I don't see any benefit to forgoing the challenge. At the very least, they should have offered to let him off at $5/day. That $100 has surely already cost them thousands in legal fees, and will cost thousands more in future revenues if the ruling stands.

Thank you Jim Smith! I guess I should also thank the Forest Service for pushing its luck just a little too hard.

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Re: Red Rock Pass Lies

Post by AZLOT69 » Sep 24 2010 3:40 pm

More people need to stand up and defend our rights. Hear-Hear !
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