The Future of Public Lands Recreation

Recreation user-fees now being charged by the US Forest Service and other federal land management agencies are part of a national program that was created by Sen. Frank Murkowski (R-AK), Rep. Jim Hansen (R-UT) and the American Recreation Coalition in the mid 1990's.

Murkowski and Hansen were (they've both retired) anti-environmental Congressmen who were engaged in an effort to privatize management control of our public lands. ARC is the wise-use, business consortium leading the effort to bring the profit motive to outdoor recreation planning and management. ARC’s ultimate objective is to acquire, for its corporate members, the “rights” to develop and PROFITABLY operate recreational facilities upon public lands.

Unnecessary and inappropriate budget cuts to recreation programs were orchestrated by Murkowski and Hansen so as to create an apparent maintenance crisis for federally managed recreation lands and facilities. The rescue of a visibly decaying public system by ARC's private investors and corporate sponsors is the intended outcome. Fee-Demo does not exist to raise needed funding for trail and facility maintenance. It exists to circumvent and eventually repeal the long-standing legal prohibitions upon the charging for recreation on federally managed lands.

Amongst ARC’s 130-plus corporate members, not one is a friend of low-impact recreation or of the environment. Access to public lands is being manipulated through fee-demo for the benefit of private campground associations, motorized user groups and equipment manufactures, by park concessionaires, ski-resort developers and the Walt Disney company, just to name a few of ARC’s members.

Wild Wilderness is an 13-year-old outdoor recreation and conservation organization with a proven track record. We would support an honest, equitably-applied trail fee system if such a system were truly necessary. We vigorously oppose fee-demo and will oppose any fee imposed upon wilderness hikers and other low-impact recreationists by commercial developers, motorized special interest groups and the like.

In an act of justified civil disobedience, the windshields of our cars sport the “NO TRAIL FEE” sticker instead of the official sticker. Wild Wilderness urges you to boycott this program and to complain vociferously.


Stickers are FREE upon request

This document was prepared by Wild Wilderness. To learn more about ongoing industry-backed congressional efforts to motorize, commercialize, and privatize America's public lands, contact:

Scott Silver, Executive Director,
248 NW Wilmington Avenue,  Bend  OR 97701
Phone (541) 385-5261    E-mail: