It, and several other embarassing documents were recently removed
from the Internet.
This information has been restored as a public service.
NFRA Winter 1994
To respond to this challenge, the Forest Service is seeking to develop a program that will encourage private sector investment in the development and management of recreation sites on the National Forests. The Southeast, Southwest, and Rocky Mountain Regions have been pioneering this private investment concept.
In 1992, the Southwest Region issued a Forest Service Prospectus inviting applicants to develop four new campgrounds. This Prospectus generated a lot of interest in the private sector, but also raised a variety of issues over permit terms and perceived "disincentives" to invest on the public lands.
In 1993, the Rocky Mountain Region started using a private sector approach in developing a Prospectus for private investment on three of its Forests. The Forest Service conducted a market survey and a series of economic viability studies prior to developing a Prospectus. This has resulted in a sample Prospectus and Permit designed to offer incentives for private investment.
In the Southwest Region, the Rio Grande National Forest has completed Region 3's first-ever "private investment market study". Four other Forests are now working on similar studies - each intended to explore the feasibility and necessary pre-conditions for attracting private investment to the Forests.
In July, 1994, the Washington Office agreed to pool the skills of the various regions with their own, with the objective of developing a Private Investment Guide for use by local Forests. Following a presentation of the concept to the Regional Foresters last August, a National Task Force was established to draft the Guide.
The Task Force met for several days in October in Crested Butte, CO. Task Force members include representatives from the Washington Office, Regional Offices, several National Forests, and the Department of Agriculture's Office of General Counsel. Members have backgrounds in special uses, management, law, rural economic development, business, procurement, marketing, NEPA, financing, recreation, and engineering. "These people bring a high level of professionalism to the project", says Task Force Leader, Mike Clinton of the Rocky Mountain Region. "They came with high expectations and everyone gave 120%."
It is the objective of the Task Force to create a business climate for private investment by "pre-solving" resource issues such as water rights, old growth, and grizzly bear management that have often been obstacles to private sector investment in the past. The Private Investment Guide that is being developed will include chapters on such topics as performing economic evaluations of the investment opportunity, how to do a market survey, soliciting private investor interest, the "prospectus process," how to evaluate responses, the permits, and the administration of the permit.
At the invitation of the Task Force, NFRA Vice President Gaylord Staveley (Kaibab Lodge, AZ) and NFRA Board member Steve Koch (Diamond Lake Resort, OR) also attended the initial meetings in Crested Butte. They were given an opportunity to voice NFRA's interest in this issue and reiterated NFRA's longstanding support for removing the existing impediments to private investment on the public lands.
"Private investment in recreation on the public lands is what the National
Forest Recreation Association is all about," notes Mr. Staveley. "Our members
already have investments on the Forests and have strong ideas about what
is needed to improve this process. NFRA will offer the Task Force any assistance
and support we can."
The structure of the Forest Service will be designed around five broad program areas - National Forest System (NFS), Operations (OPS), Research and Development (R&D), State and Private Forestry S&PF), and International Forestry (IF). This framework will be reflected in the management structure of each Forest Service office, at the Washington, Region, Forest, and District level.
Regional boundaries will be realigned to more closely follow natural ecological boundaries. The most significant changes are the inclusion of Alaska with the western portions of Washington and Oregon, the consolidation of the Rocky Mountain and Northern Regions into a new Northern Plains Region, the move of eastern Oregon and Washington into the Intermountain Region, the transfer of Texas and Oklahoma into the new Southwest Region and the shift of Virginia from the old Southern Region to the new Northeastern Region.
The number of Regional Offices (RO) will be reduced from 9 to 7. RO's will be located in Sacramento, CA; Portland, OR; Albuquerque, NM; Ogden, UT; Denver, CO; Milwaukee, WI; and Atlanta, GA. The current office in San Francisco will be moved to Sacramento. The Juneau and Missoula offices will be closed.
Consolidation is also anticipated at the Forest and Ranger District level.
Employment in the Washington Office will be reduced by at least 10% to 20%. The "Programs and Legislation Deputy" area will be eliminated. Agency-wide, the number of "full-time equivalent" employees will be reduced by close to 4,000.
Forest Service management in the future will be done primarily through "teams". Teamwork at all levels is to be facilitated through a streamlined approval process and the elimination of excessive levels of supervision. Leadership teams will be established under the new regional structure to foster this style of integrated management and to develop integrated budgets for the National Forest System, State and Private Forestry, Operations, and Research and Development programs.
The report also envisions a system of "contracting in" for many services currently delivered in in-house monopolies. An enterprise fund may be developed to provide start-up financing and incentives for innovative ideas and inviting competition for internal services.
Most of these initial action items - and only a few are discussed in this article - are scheduled to be completed by September of 1996.
The Forest Service reinvention effort was commissioned in response to the National Performance Review unveiled by Vice President Al Gore late in 1993. The Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service have also undertaken a reinvention processed. BLM released its final reorganization plan in September, 1994.
Summaries of both the Forest Service and BLM Reinvention Plans are available
through the NFRA offices at 619-934-2887.
It was enough for us "Old Dogs" that Al Gore decided to reorganize the Federal land management agencies. Now the voters have decided to dramatically reorganize Congress!
How does all of this change affect the recreation business? There's no reason to remain home moaning on the living room couch, as so many environmentalists and social program folks are doing yet today. Nor is there any real reason to get excited yet, since anything remotely connected to commercial recreation is pretty far down the list on the "contract" Republicans made with America.
The first evidence of change is merely (but significantly!) institutional.
At the agencies, the traditional top-down management structure has been converted into interdisciplinary management teams. More training, more experience and more minds will be focussed on a single problem - say, for example, a new policy for campground concessions.
A decision-making chain of recreation managers assigned to developed sites won't call that shot alone anymore. Instead, there will be equal input from a variety of team members who will examine a broad range of related issues like road and trail access, user conflicts, fisheries and habitat impacts, water quality and public health. A slower process, true, but one hopefully aimed at better decisions which will hold up over time.
In Congress, the Republicans taking over the U.S. House of Representatives are into Big Time change. Nothing's final until they assemble January 4th to be sworn in (a quick lame duck battle over trade policy with the old Democratic leaders in charge in December doesn't count), but it looks like several legislative committees will be demolished and "staff" will be reduced by one-third. The House Committee on Natural Resources, which handles most NFRA issues, will actually grow - picking up new jursidiction over fish and wildlife, including the task of reauthorizing the Endangered Species Act.
The legislative agenda for Natural Resources will be set by its new Chairman, Don Young of Alaska. The Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee Chairman will be Utah Republican, Jim Hansen.
Overall, the State of Alaska now has a long-desired hammerlock on such issues as wilderness, hunting, fishing, mining, energy and other related development of natural resources. Young's counterpart, chairing the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, is Alaska's Frank Murkowski. The third leg on that powerful stool is Ted Stevens, Republican Senator from Alaska, who will be serving on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Related Agencies (which includes Forest Service money).
Murkowski's key lieutenant, chairing the Senate's Subcommittee on Parks, Forests and Public Lands, is expected to be Idaho Republican, Larry Craig - a leading advocate for commercial recreation.
The Senate's new Republican leaders plan some restructuring as well, but their moves are likely to be less dramatic than those in the House and will proceed "a step at a time."
Is it wise to jump right into this new Congressional mix to advocate improvements in business climate and funding for recreation? Probably not - or at least not on the House side.
The voters aren't the only people who are mad at Democratic leadership right now. Newly empowered Republicans have got a lot of old scores to settle about the shabby treatment they received at the hands of an overwhelming Democratic majority. It's payback time. It's a wise lobbyist who lets that scorecard even out over a few months on somebody else's issues.
Then what are the opportunities in the new Congress? Republicans, after all, "instinctively" understand business needs - or at least the theory of business needs.
The basic principle of renewable permits (even for campgrounds!) should be a no-brainer - if you're willing to pay appropriate fees.
Road maintenance, rehabilitation of existing facilities, a more sane approach to Safe Drinking Water compliance are all very worthy goals in the minds of Republicans. They also all cost a great deal of money and money will undoubtedly be the first issue we face in the new Congress (if, in fact, the Clintonites don't beat them to the draw). It may be time to face the fee question head-on!
In 1995, it's welcome to the "Newt world order!"
The commission's report was delivered in an era of rapid economic growth and an explosion in recreation participation. The stream of actions arising wholly or in part from the ORRRC report includes creation of a new agency - the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation - and a dramatic expansion in the federal role in recreation. Under the new Land and Water Conservation Fund Act (1964), the federal government offered financial assistance to state and local recreation programs and required statewide outdoor recreation planning. Royalties and bonus payments from the sale of oil and gas recovered from the Outer Continental Shelf were earmarked for this assistance - and to acquire additional federal lands. The commission also undertook the first comprehensive national survey of outdoor recreation participation and the first consolidation of recreation statistics and research.
The commission's report had major consequences for federal lands. Motivated and educated through their service on the commission, key Members of Congress championed efforts to protect key wildlands as part of a new National Wilderness Preservation System (1964). Other important "systems" followed: the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (1968) and the National Trails System Act (1968). Moreover, the Congress clarified federal recreation fee authorities through the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act. Capital expenditures on federal recreation facilities, including campgrounds and other developed sites, also grew. The National Park Service launched its Mission 66 effort to overcome deferred maintenance and inadequate facilities.
The success of ORRRC prompted creation of the Public Land Law Review Commission (PLLRC). Again mixing Members of Congress with Presidentially-appointed citizens, PLLRC considered the vast expanse of lands which remained behind after homesteading and other settlement and disposal programs and articulated a new, clear policy for retaining these lands and managing them for multiple purposes, including recreation. These recommendations guided the 1976 passage of FLPMA - the Federal Land Policy and Management Act.
The 1970's were times of turmoil and inconsistency. Even as public and private spending on recreation grew to the highest levels ever, challenges arose. The Vietnam war effort left a legacy of high inflation and budget problems; tensions in the Gulf region resulted in two serious oil supply interruptions with serious impacts on all recreational activities. The 1970's were also a time when major planning processes were created in legislation such as National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act (RPA).
The 1980's opened with few reasons for optimism. A stalled economy prompted budget-slashing at the federal, state and local levels - and recreation programs were among the most hard hit. In 1981, new Secretary of the Interior Jim Watt - a former BOR head - eliminated that agency's successor, the Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service. Moreover, Secretary Watt and his colleagues at the Department of Agriculture promoted commodity production on multiple use lands.
Concerned recreation community leaders sought a new national commission to examine recreation needs and strategies and searched for special, earmarked funding for recreation programs. The politically combative 1980's made impossible the same degree of bipartisanship surrounding creation of ORRRC. Despite unanimous Senate passage of legislation to create a new recreation commission in 1983, House leaders refused to proceed.
1984 did see an important victory for recreation, though. Boating and fishing community leaders, working with Wyoming Senator Malcolm Wallop and Louisiana Congressman (now Senator) John Breaux, crafted a dramatic expansion of a small federal-aid program for sportfishing restoration into a massive state recreation assistance program: spending has risen from approximately $35 million in 1984 to more than $350 million annually today. The new Wallop-Breaux Fund, with separate boating safety, wetlands and sportfish restoration programs, has catalyzed the construction of thousands of new boat ramps and fishing piers, funded hundreds of new lakes and improved fish habitat in coastal and inland areas alike. Funding for this program is derived exclusively from taxes paid by America's anglers and boaters and is protected through a trust fund and an automatic appropriations provision, insulating it from much of the budget warfare.
Although Congress failed to act on the commission, recreation leaders, aided by a blue-ribbon group assembled by Laurance Rockefeller, were able to persuade President Reagan to create the President's Commission on Americans Outdoors by Executive Order in early 1985. Commissioners, including Chairman Lamar Alexander (then Governor of Tennessee) and four Members of Congress (Senators Wallop and Bennett Johnston (D-LA); Representatives Mo Udall (D-AZ) and Barbara Vucanovich (R-NV)), were announced in the spring and the commission embarked on an active, two year effort which included 20 public hearings, a national survey and extensive meetings with recreation community and political leaders.
The President's Commission on Americans Outdoors (PCAO) delivered its report in early 1987 to a Washington still bitterly partisan on natural resources issues. Despite a powerful summary report crafted by Vice Chairman Gil Grosvenor and his National Geographic Society team, official Washington largely ignored the recommendations. This response mattered little, for PCAO had concluded that assuring quality outdoor recreation opportunities for tomorrow's Americans was primarily a grassroots responsibility, not a federal-focused task.
PCAO concluded that community-level efforts to shaping growth using zoning and land use tools and new, hybrid public/private efforts were most needed. The report emphasized changes underway in America which argued for a focus on close-to-home opportunities and for linear connectors to existing parks, forests and refuges: greenways, rivers, trails and scenic byways. Needed federal changes, PCAO reported, were largely in implementation of current law - and especially in elevating recreation programs to equality with other programs under the multiple use doctrine. Finally, PCAO addressed funding for recreation and recommended increased federal assistance to local governments - with a new focus on merit versus formula for allocating funds - and for moving toward a closer link between those who benefit and paying the costs.
Response to the PCAO report has been impressive. Within a year, scenic byway programs were underway at the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. An even more far-reaching response was mounted by those agencies, as well. The Forest Service developed its Recreation Strategy, based upon partnerships and innovation; the BLM crafted Recreation 2000, a similar, innovative blueprint. Beginning in 1989, significant increases in federal recreation program budgets were requested by President Bush and provided by the Congress.
The time since PCAO's report has been a time of experimentation and innovation. Congressional appropriators have provided increasing funds to federal agencies for recreation and wildlife programs available only if matching funds are secured from non-federal sources - the Challenge Cost Share Program. Many national forest campgrounds are now operated by private entities as concessions or under contracts. Private reservation systems market and book federal campsites. Volunteer and conservation corps use has increased dramatically. New heritage corridors and urban tree houses (to keep the outdoors relevant to inner city children), are being created.
The Intermodal Surface Transportation and Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) proved to be a vehicle for progress on many recreation community goals, including those of PCAO. ISTEA created a new system of scenic byways, a new national recreational trails trust fund and a broad "enhancement" requirement. Together, these programs result in recreation-related spending out of the Highway Trust Fund far exceeding federal assistance under the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Substantial interest in reviewing and refining recreation policy exists today. Fees remain a minor portion of the budgets of key federal agencies and resources to respond to increased recreation demand remain inadequate. Access to public lands and waters - including waters near urban centers newly-cleansed through the investment of billions of dollars in public funds - remains inadequate. Limits to long-term public-private partnerships remain, especially where private investment on public lands are involved. The needs for skills training, environmental education and ethics promotion programs are great; we also need outdoor laboratories to test the development of management programs for new recreation needs, or to reduce conflicts among recreationists.
The 104th Congress brings unexpected opportunities to the recreation community. Members of Congress in general and leaders of key Congressional committees important to recreation come with fewer ties to the past and a stronger belief in the need for partnerships between the private sector and federal agencies in meeting America's outdoor needs. If the recreation community responds with energy, creativity and balanced ideas, real progress is possible. We can help shape key pieces of legislation very likely to be on the Congressional agenda - from the Farm Bill to reauthorization of the Endangered Species Act to revisions to the highway bill (ISTEA) - into "recreation-friendly" measures.
A special opportunity involves amendments to the park concessions law which nearly passed in 1994. The amendments have brought support - and some changes may well be appropriate. But the changes in the measures passed by the House and Senate individually (but not agreed upon) undermine existing protections for private investment on public lands like preferential right-of-renewal and possessory interests without providing any replacement provisions at a time when federal budgets will be unable to provide needed capital investments in recreation facilities. We hope that the new Congress will consider carefully opportunities to recognize and reward private companies providing exceptional services within our national forests and parks, agreeing to performance measurements and then conducting objective evaluations on a periodic basis.
We also anticipate continued improvements in the coordination of federal land management efforts and tourism promotion. New data bases on federal recreation opportunities will be available to the private sector, and the growing customerfocus by federal agencies will facilitate joint efforts to improve visitor experiences outdoors. The White House Conference on Travel and Tourism in October 1995 will offer an important opportunity to link tourism and recreation efforts.
Not all prospects we face in the 104th Congress are rosy, though. Pressure to reduce spending will be great on domestic programs - such as the recreation programs of the Forest Service and special programs like scenic byways and aid to boating and fishing under the Wallop-Breaux program. We must be ready to defend expenditures on these programs but also be ready to listen for ideas which might increase the effectiveness of these programs through new requirements for non-federal matching of the available dollars.
Success in 1995 - and long beyond - will depend upon key leaders of the recreation community stepping forward to explain our ideas and our needs to our elected officials; upon companies that invite the newly elected Members of Congress to see smiling visitors on the forests this summer, served by federal and private partners working together; and upon the National Forest Recreation Association and others focused on the future and addressing challenges America faces as we enter the 21st Century. We're counting on NFRA to provide public policy leadership in Washington through the American Recreation Coalition and other organizations during this key period!
This Guest Column was contributed by Derrick A. Crandall, President, American Recreation Coalition, 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20004 (202) 662-7420.
NFRA President Eric Mart recently joined Forest Service Director of Recreation, Cultural Resources, and Wilderness Management, Lyle Laverty, and Kym Murphy, Vice President for Environmental Policy of the Walt Disney Company, in visiting an innovative new Forest Service program in southern California. "GreenLink," as the program is known, was developed to build a connection between urban neighborhoods and their surrounding, wildlands.
In a recent paper, Ms. Sonia Tamez said of the Forest Service, and other land management agencies, "We need to be more inclusive. The urban forest, more than any other forest, must be seen as cultural landscapes within ecosystems. Cultural landscapes reflect the nexus between nature and culture, the relationship between the idealized landscape and the actual landscape created and shaped by land uses, both past and present. How a society views these lands is, in part, a function of how society values nature and how culture is affected by the natural environment."
GreenLink seeks to address these relationships. The program is designed to bring a variety of existing, community-based organizations together with Federal, State, and local agencies in developing and promoting natural resource-based projects - projects that seek to affect how the urban society views and values the natural world.
Existing projects include "EcoTeams" in high-use areas on National Forests, bilingual environmental education in urban communities, and the distribution of general recreation materials through the "Forest Information Van" (FIV). FIV, staffed with trained EcoTeam members, travels to strategic urban and remote areas and sets up attractive, informational displays on the southern California Forests and general environmental education.
GreenLink is conceptually based on three, program elements - environmental education, community capacity building, and recycling.
The environmental education element is based upon the premise that the Los Angeles basin is an ecosystem with a significant human component - including the wildland areas of the surrounding forests and parklands as well as the intensively developed environment of downtown Los Angeles. The goal is to enhance the understanding of the complex interaction between humans and their surroundings and to present an ecosystem as something that not only exists in natural areas, but in the neighborhoods, as well.
The community capacity building element of the program supports job development, local leadership, and community enterprises. The goal is to assist communities in becoming more economically self-sufficient and to increase work-force opportunities - particularly in areas associated with natural resource and environmental concerns.
The recycling element seeks to instill a value-sensitive view of the value of reusable wood. The goal is to increase the re-use of wood materials through the development of "value-added" products and to reduce the amount of urban wood waste. Projects include small saw mill demonstrations to produce specialty woods for craftspeople, artisans, and school woodshop programs.
If you would like more information regarding GreenLink, or you would
like to get involved, please contact: Mr. Rudy Retamoza, GreenLink, USDA
Forest Service, 701 North Santa Ana Avenue, Arcadia, CA 91006. Phone: 818-952-4935
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