ARC's Answer to Public Lands Funding

The following materials are currently being circulated within the U.S. House of Representatives. They were made available to Wild Wilderness  from reliable sources within our nation's Capitol.

The documents from which the following direct quotes were abstracted are dated 7/8/98, and are reputed to represent proposed legislation originating from Derrick Crandall, President of the American Recreation Coalition. As of August 7, 1998, no elected member of Congress has agreed to sponsor this legislation.

Wild Wilderness can not confirm this, but insider sources have informed us that this legislation was expressly written for the benefit of the Walt Disney Company, InterWest and Delaware North (the concessionaires who currently operate Yosemite National Park).

This proposed legislation represents just one more step in ARC's ongoing attempts to commercialize, privatize and motorize our nation's public-lands. ARC is a cancer that must be eliminated.


Abstracted from documents reputed to have originated from ARC:

 
 

THERE IS A "WIN-WIN" SOLUTION 
 
We can replace appropriated federal dollars with private sector Investments in recreation facilities such as campgrounds - many of which are already being operated by companies as concessioners of the agencies.

We can leverage dollars appropriated for road and bridge construction and maintenance through cooperative efforts with military construction units.

We can Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of federal facilities through co-locating those facilities with appropriate corporate and other governmental facilities, with partners undertaking the construction in exchange for use of federal lands and/or leases.

 


 

Visitor Infrastructure Improvement Act of 1998
Infrastructure Demonstration Program for Forest Service,
Bureau of Land Management and Other Agencies

SEC. 1. INFRASTRUCTURE DEMONSTRATION PROGRAM: VISITOR FACILITIES

(a) The Secretary of Agriculture (acting through the Forest Service) and the Secretary of the Interior (acting through the Bureau of Land Managment, the National Park Service and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service) may each implement a public-private venture demonstration program to evaluate the feasibility of utilizing non-federal funds to construct, rehabilitate, enhance and maintain certain visitor facilities available to the public on federal lands. Visitor facilities eligible under this provision include campgrounds, marinas, and other sites for which fees are charged by an agency of its operating partner.

(b) In accord with approved forest plans, park master plans and other appropriate land use plans, the Secretairies may enter into agreements with individuals, corporations, public agencies and non-profit groups to act as operating partners for purposes of construction, maintenance and operation of new visitor facilities and rehabilitation, maintenance and operation of existing visitor facilities. The Secretaries shall provide for an appropriate level of competition in the selection of any operating partner in order to ensure (1) the highest quality visitor experiences; (2) assistance in protection and management of natural resources associated with the site; and (3) visitor opportunities for a broad spectrum of the American public.

(c) The Secretaries shall establish a special account in the Treasury for each participating agency. Funds deposited into these accounts shall remain available for expenditure in accordance with subsection (i) without further appropriation.

(d) In each case where the Secretaries enter into such an agreement, the agreement shall provide for deposit by the operating partner of a simple percentage of gross revenue from the site operation into the special account created by authority of this section.

(e) The agreement shall be of sufficient duration to permit the operating partner to amortize the value of any capital improvements made during the contract and shall provide for purchase of any unamortized improvements by the agency or another partner at the conclusion of the agreement. Agreements shall normally be at least ten years plus a construction period, but may be a duration equal to those provided in P.L. 104-333, Section xx (ski area permit provision).

(f) In the case of any contract which provided for the rehabilitation or reconstruction of any government owned facilities, the Secreataries are authorized to enter into an agreement which transfers existing federal visitor facilities to the operating partner, withstanding and other provision of law, provided that any subsequent reconstruction is consistent with applicable land management plans and that the applicable Secretary determines that such transfer is in the overall best interest of the government.

...

SEC. 2. Infrastructure demonstration Program: Public Lan Access Improvements

(a) The Secretary of the Interior (acting through the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service) and the Secretary of Agriculture (acting through the Forest Service) may initiate agreements with the Secretary of Defense, or his designee to demonstrate the feasibility of protecting and improving public access to federal recreation sites while also providing opportunities for developing and maintaining construction skills of military units. The Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture are authorized to use funds appropriated for road, bridge and trail construction and repairs to purchase materials required for projects under this agreement.

(b) In carrying out the demonstration program, priority shall be assigned to (1) repair and replacement of bridges judged structurally deficient, thus threatening safe access by visitors to the public lands or by local residents; (2) saftey-related improvements to roads maintained by federal agencies and which are intended for travel by normal passenger vehicles; (3) parking areas, including trailheads and water access sites; (4) improvements which mitigate the environmental impacts of roads and their usage, including efforts to minimize stream sedimentation and soil loss.

(c) Within three years of the date of enactment of this section, the Secretaries of Agriculture, the Interior and Defense shall submit a report to the appropriate Congressional committees evaluating this provision and recommending any permanent provisions required to achieve the purposes of this section.

(d) Projects undertaken under this section shall be subject to applicable environmental statutes but this authority shall be in lieu of all other federal contracting provisions.

SEC. 3. INFRASTRUCTURE DEMONSTRATION PROGRAM: VISITOR INFORMATION CENTERS AND SUPPORT FACILITIES

[to be developed: provided Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior with authority to develop a maximum of five innovative agreements to replace inadequate support facilities through agreements with state and local governments and/or non-profit organizations involving shared use facilities. Example would be recent agreement in Cedar City, Utah, for Dixie national Forest headquarters and proposed facility for Wasatch-Cache National Forest in Sandy, Utah.]
 


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,
Wild Wilderness
248 NW Wilmington Avenue,  Bend  OR 97701
Phone (541) 385-5261    E-mail: ssilver@wildwilderness.org