Moderator: HAZ - Moderators
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.AZLOT69 wrote:No more taxes !
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.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).
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.Chet P wrote:Does anyone know when the RR Pass got started and under what Administration?
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!!!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 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.
"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.
I thought this had already been legally established.Jim_H wrote:- the agency couldn't require someone to have a pass just to visit an unimproved trailhead, or a wilderness.
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.Jim_H wrote:The Forest Service offered to drop its case in the spring if Smith would pay the $100, he said.