The success of the Recreation Fee Demonstration Program (Fee-Demo) is critical to the recreation-industry lead efforts to commercialize, privatize and motorize America's public lands.
Before Fee-Demo, the recreation industry had extremely limited ability to directly profit from the development of our public lands. In their attempt to generate larger profits and to exert their domination upon America's wild lands, these corporate entities have literally forced Fee-Demo upon the citizens of this nation. Simply stated, the tradition of free public access to public lands stood in the way of business.
On January 2, 1999, the Biodiversity Legal Foundation of Boulder, Colorado wrote:
"We are confronted with what may be one of the severest challenges ever to face environmental preservation - the current big money/industrial drive toward developing mass outdoor recreation..."
This threat, what many are calling "Industrial Strength Wreckreation" or "Industrial Tourism" (a name coined by Edward Abbey) is dependent upon the success of the Recreation Fee Demonstration Program. Without Fee-Demo, there are extremely limited financial incentives associated with the management of recreation activities upon public lands.
If, however, permanent fee collection authority is approved by Congress, as is now being sought by the American Recreation Coalition and their member corporations, then "Wreckreation" on public lands will come to be managed in accordance with free-market doctrine. Environmental consideration will become secondary to revenue generation. And, when public lands are managed to ensure satisfactory financial returns, we will have turned recreation into just another extractive industry, no different than mining, logging, or grazing.
Wild Wilderness has dubbed this situation "The Corporate Takeover of Nature," and it is for this reason that we strongly urge you to oppose Fee-Demo.
When you are next asked to purchase a recreational "product" made possible by the Recreation Fee Demonstration Program, please reflect upon the warnings of Thoreau and Abbey and join us in boycotting the Fee-Demo program.
(Source for following quotes:
"Forest Service: Barriers to Generating Revenue or Reducing Costs,"
United States General Accounting Office GAO/RCED-98-58 pg.14-15.)
- COMPARE BEFORE FEE-DEMO
"The Forest Service is prohibited by law from obtaining a fair return for certain goods or recovering costs for certain services. According to the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1964 (P.L. 88-578), the Forest service can charge fees only for the use of (1) boat launching facilities that offer services such as mechanical or hydraulic boat lifts and (2) campgrounds that offer certain amenities such as toilet facilities, drinking water, refuse containers and tent or trailer spaces."
- WITH FEE-DEMO
" The Omnibus Consolidated Rescissions and Appropriations Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-134), as extended by the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 1997 (P.L. 104-208), directs the Forest Service and three other federal land management agencies to test the collection, retention, and reinvestment of new entrance and user fees for recreation at a variety of sites."
- AND NOW WITH THE RAT (Recreation Access Tax)
" The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act of 2004 was passed as a last-minute rider attached to the Omnibus Appropriations Bill. Commonly known as the "Recreation Access Tax" or "THE RAT", this legislation authorizes the US Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Reclamation to charge of a wide range of "standard", "expanded" and "special" recreation fees.
(Read a shockingly honest explanation of how the USFS intends to commercialize and privatize the lands we, the American people, have entrusted to it.)
Agreement Between ARC and the U.S. Forest Service
USFS pays private consultant $250,000 to make Fee-Demo work
(In 1988 ARC led President Ronald Reagan's Commission on Americans Outdoors to conclude that our public lands should be commercialized, privatized, and motorized.)
(When Ronald Reagan and James Watt introduced their National Parks fee legislation the stated purpose was to free the parks from appropriated funding and force the NPS to be self-funded.)
(The Corps describes a "win-win-win" scenario in which privately financed recreation infrastructure is build on public lands.")
(View the new product logos of the US Forest Service. This page is directly related to the page listed immediately below. Both are very important.)
(Forest Service top executive asks - "Have we fully explored our gold mine of recreation opportunities in this country and managed it as if it were consumer product brands?")
(This is legislation ARC is shopping around the House of Representatives. So far, no one in Congress is willing to sponsor this bill. Look out, this will be introduced in the 106th Congress.)
(This official Policy Document is what now guides Congress in its effort of Commercialize and Privatize America's public lands. Painful to read, but truly enlightening!)
(Chairman Frank Murkowski introduces this "reader" by reminding committee members that recreation is not only about "fun and games." It's about money and partnerships with the private sector!)
(Congressional testimony from May 6, 2004 explains precisely how the recreation industry wants to take control of the fee-demonstration program.) [MUST READ]
(Hear the true story straight from ARC's spokesman. This testimony should make your hair stand on end. KOA's are coming to a forest near you, and Fee-Demo is nothing but the nose of the camel.)
(ARC Board Member, Susan Bray, let's Congress know their members support fee-demo so long as it provides campgrounds optimized for RVers, paved roads into Wild lands and plenty of roadside attractions.)
(The motorized recreation community has only one complaint about fee-demo. They are worried that some of the money is not being spent to provide new motorized trails, snow groomers, and ACCESS!)
(Read about a disastrous new USFS program designed to attract private investment to finance commercial, privately owned facilities upon public lands. After the camel's nose, comes this!)
(Senator Murkowski's statement on his proposed omnibus legislation, with notes provided by Wild Wilderness. This is ARC- sponsored legislation, written for recreation industry special interests such as KOA, Disney, REI and others.)
(Derrick Crandall, ARC President, explains the legislation his team has co-authored with Senator Murkowski.)
(Learn who ARC represents. It's certainly not you. Link to ARC's web page.)
(Follow the money. Find out which politicians receive campaign contributions for ARC member corporations.)
(An agreement between Disney and the U.S. Government to conduct joint research and educational projects involving natural resource management issues. Read it and try not to cry.)
(List of Recreation Roundtable Members and their corporate affiliations. These are the players calling the shots in Washington.)
(Follow the money. See whose pockets Derrick Crandall lines.)
(List of corporations who support ARC's Recreation Exchange. The exchange is a monthly get-together of recreation industry executives and federal policy decision makers.)
(How can ARC possibly qualify as a 501(c)3 Tax Exempt Corporation?)
(Discover who's on ARC's Board of Directors. We've provided their names, addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses. They'd love to hear from you!)
(ARC's Feb. 26, 1998 Congressional statement in support of its Fee-Demo program. Listen to the man who brought you Fee-Demo.)
(ARC's May 7, 1998 Congressional statement in support of pay-to-play, commercial, recreation. Derrick Crandall tells congress how National Forests and Parks should be run.)
(ARC's Feb. 4, 1999 Senate Hearing statement in support of Fee-Demo. Crandall, once again, instructs Congress on Fee-Demo and outdoor recreation.)
(This document was recently removed from the web by the USFS. We suspect they didn't want you to read it!)
(The NFF "is the official nonprofit partner of the U.S. Forest Service"... created by Congress, no less! What a boondoggle.)
("This report (1) identifies the lessons that can be learned from efforts by nonfederal land managers to generate revenue or become financially self-sufficient from the sale or use of natural resources on their lands and (2) discusses legal and other barriers that may prevent the Forest Service from implementing similar efforts on its lands.")
("Overall, our past work has shown that frequently the Forest Service charges considerably less than fair market prices for the use of the land for these major commercial activities and that as a result federal fee revenues are millions of dollars less than they could be.")
("Many areas are now charging fees and having those fees returned to the site where collected thanks to this innovative congressional program. Marketing plans and business plans are now becoming part of the Forest Service lingo. Outfitter and Guide service operations and other private concessions are now being seen more as partners...")
(More Dirt on the American Recreation Coalition and its president, Derrick A. Crandall.)
A Bad Program That Must be Stopped!
The following references pertain to a proposal currently being evaluated by Congress and the Department of the Interior. If enacted, this program would remove 2100 lakes from federal management and turn control over to local, state and corporate interests.
This is the most egregious legislation currently being advanced by the American Recreation Coalition and under no circumstances must this program be allowed to proceed beyond the study phase.
("The commission will study how improvements in roads, utilities, buildings, and management of facilities at these sites could be accomplished through innovative partnerships with the private sector and evaluate the viability of private sector development of public attractions at the lakes, including marinas, lodgings, nature centers, golf courses, visitor centers, and other amenities.")
("Pristine under-utilized lakes" should be upgraded, using private investments, so they can handle increased boating demands.")
("For industry it should mean more boat and related equipment and service sales.")
("The report also concluded that enhanced recreation opportunities were readily achievable through public/private partnerships and management changes.")
(Provides excellent historical context, outlines ARC's 25 year-long campaign and gives a current update of where ARC would like to see Army Corps recreation policy head.)
(Testimony from public hearings in Aurora, Kentucky. Officials try to promote "privatization" to a crowd that wanted none of it.)
("This level of support can best be accomplished by using 30 to 50 year lease agreements, clear rights of ownership, reduced annual payments on the lease agreement until the properties are profitable, and favorable financing to the investor willing to make the capital investments ...")
(A blessing for the National Recreation Lakes Program endorsed by dozens of recreation and tourism organizations . . . and ARC members.)
("Vice Chairman Richard Davies played a very positive role. Among his observations was the comment that prior to fee demo, visitors were solely expense items and thus a "problem" for federal recreation site managers.")
("the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be a partner with the American Recreation Coalition...")
("Her bill follows the goals of the Lakes Commission closely, including provisions for a demonstration program, involving up to 20 lakes, where creative partnerships between the public and private sectors would be allowed.")
("Move over Disneyland. Water is the No. 1 recreation attraction in America...")
("To enhance public/private partnership opportunities, is almost a primary -- (is) the primary goal of this Commission...")
("One of the tasks of the Commission work plan is to identify barriers to private sector development at federally-managed, man-made lakes and reservoirs.")
(The Recreation Rountable and ARC lobby for a piece of the action by promoting the National Recreation Lakes Study.)