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Wild Wilderness believes that America's public recreation lands are a national treasure that must be financially supported by the American people and held in public ownership as a legacy for future generations
HOME BLOG The Fix Goes On
Written by Guest Kitty Benzar - Western Slope No Fee Coalition
Monday, 16 February 2009
All of the Forest Service and BLM Recreation Resource Advisory
Committee members have been selected and each committee has met at least once.
With very few exceptions, the members of these committees - hand selected by the
Forest Service and BLM - have become willing collaborators with the agencies in
turning our public lands into profit centers.
Known as RecRACS, they are mandated by the fee law to act as
representatives of the public, recommending for or against new fee areas and fee
increases. They are required by law to see documentation of general public
support before recommending fee proposals.
But instead of acting as the
public's firewall against ill-conceived, illegal, and poorly supported fee
proposals, time after time they have recommended approval even when there is
evidence of general public opposition, when the agencies have done no public
outreach at all, and/or in the face of evidence that many fee proposals do not
meet the requirements in the law.
In September, 2008, the WSNFC released an analysis of the RecRAC
process entitled The Fix
. The report exposed the process as a sham of public participation that
actually serves to exclude the general public. Despite the abuses documented in
that report, they continue to occur. Since the report was published:
New fees and fee increases have been approved despite documented
public opposition in California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, the
Northeast, and the Southeast
Minutes from the June 2008 meeting of the Colorado RecRAC have
still not been published, eight months after the meeting
Minutes from the September 2008 meeting of the Arizona RecRAC
have still not been published, five months after the meeting
The Montana, Idaho, and Arizona committees have held meetings
with little or no public notice, no published agendas, and no published details
about the proposals to be considered
The Nevada RecRAC took public comment at their November 2008
meeting only after all the fee proposals had been presented and
The Pacific NW committee refused to allow public comment by
teleconference, even though committee members and Forest Service staffers were
allowed to appear by teleconference
What You Can
Do: WSNFC officers and members have personally attended RecRAC
meetings in Colorado, California, Nevada, and Oregon, submitted verbal comments
by teleconference in the Northeast, and submitted written comments to every
committee meeting that we have been able to find out about. We have made a
good-faith effort to use the Public Participation section of the law to
participate in fee decisions, to no avail.
It has become clear that the process is hopelessly flawed. The
best thing you can do is contact your Senators and your Representative and ask
them to repeal the FLREA.
Every single provision in the law that was meant to
protect public access and ensure public participation is being subverted by the
agencies. It has become crystal clear that no amount of public opposition will
stop the juggernaut of fees. The law that authorizes them must
For Additional Information, please visit the website of Western Slope No-Fee Coalition at http://www.westernslopenofee.org
Last Updated ( Monday, 16 February 2009 )
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