Central Cascades permit fees announced

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cunningkeith
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Re: Central Cascades permit fees announced

Post by cunningkeith » October 8th, 2019, 5:29 pm

adamschneider wrote:
October 8th, 2019, 4:18 pm
cunningkeith wrote:
October 8th, 2019, 3:35 pm
The FS does not charge for day hiking in the Sierra.
They do at Mt. Whitney. And it's a lot more than $4.
Those permits are designed for people who want to summit Whitney. Like St. Helens permits, summiting is arguably a “specialized use.” That’s a far cry from ordinary day hiking.

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adamschneider
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Re: Central Cascades permit fees announced

Post by adamschneider » October 8th, 2019, 5:39 pm

cunningkeith wrote:
October 8th, 2019, 5:29 pm
adamschneider wrote:
October 8th, 2019, 4:18 pm
cunningkeith wrote:
October 8th, 2019, 3:35 pm
The FS does not charge for day hiking in the Sierra.
They do at Mt. Whitney. And it's a lot more than $4.
Those permits are designed for people who want to summit Whitney. Like St. Helens permits, summiting is arguably a “specialized use.” That’s a far cry from ordinary day hiking.
It's not black and white though, is it? Summiting Whitney may be hard, but it's still just hiking, not mountaineering (depending on the season, of course).

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Bosterson
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Re: Central Cascades permit fees announced

Post by Bosterson » October 8th, 2019, 5:43 pm

Aimless wrote:
October 8th, 2019, 4:45 pm
(h)Special recreation permit fee
The Secretary may issue a special recreation permit, and charge a special recreation permit fee in connection with the issuance of the permit, for specialized recreation uses of Federal recreational lands and waters, such as group activities, recreation events, motorized recreational vehicle use.


Hmmm. It seems a stretch to call just walking on a trail or sleeping at night a "specialized recreation use of Federal recreational lands". Every person who is capable of walking and visits any portion of Federal recreation lands is almost certain to walk at some point in their visit. The examples cited make it fairly clear that this was not the law's intent. It was intended for truly specialized uses such employing the trail system as part an Ultra Marathon competition with dozens of competitors.
As a further note, up until now the Special Use Permit has been applied only for commercial or large noncommercial usage of the wilderness. You have to apply for a Special Use Permit. It is not a type of permit that ordinary hikers would ever need or otherwise encounter.

I'm curious if anyone knows what law(s) the FS uses to authorize quotas and permits in the Enchantments. Also the Limited Entry Area at Obsidian. To my knowledge, both of those predate the FLREA.

If the FS is just claiming the FLREA as authorization for the Central Cascades permit fees, then it seems like the text of the Act does not support their ability to charge fees for users who just want to hike in the wilderness. To that end, it seems like the appropriate tack for public comments is to argue that the fees should be zero because the FS is not authorized to charge for access.

It's also puzzling that, unlike with the permits last year, the FS does not appear to have released much of a "proposal" for these fees - just their basic prices. During the permit objection process, there was much talk about an annual pass, whether NWFP holders would need to pay the fee, etc, not to mention how many of the permits would be reservable vs "walk in." None of that has been addressed by the document the FS emailed to me this morning, just the base prices.
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Bosterson
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Re: Central Cascades permit fees announced

Post by Bosterson » October 8th, 2019, 5:48 pm

adamschneider wrote:
October 8th, 2019, 5:39 pm
It's not black and white though, is it? Summiting Whitney may be hard, but it's still just hiking, not mountaineering (depending on the season, of course).
Mountaineering is just hiking with snow, Adam. :D

Anyway, to Keith's point, there are now quotas in place for significant parts of the Sierras, but the permits do not cost money. Whitney relative to the Sierras as a whole is like what Obsidian has been to the rest of the Sisters up until now - a special restricted area.
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adamschneider
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Re: Central Cascades permit fees announced

Post by adamschneider » October 8th, 2019, 6:14 pm

Bosterson wrote:
October 8th, 2019, 5:48 pm
Anyway, to Keith's point, there are now quotas in place for significant parts of the Sierras, but the permits do not cost money. Whitney relative to the Sierras as a whole is like what Obsidian has been to the rest of the Sisters up until now - a special restricted area.
Seems like Obsidian is an important data point here: if they've been able to require permits there, why not in the rest of the Cascades? (I assume some people here will argue that Obsidian permits should be illegal too. Personally, I'm not arguing either side.)

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Bosterson
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Re: Central Cascades permit fees announced

Post by Bosterson » October 8th, 2019, 6:21 pm

adamschneider wrote:
October 8th, 2019, 6:14 pm
Bosterson wrote:
October 8th, 2019, 5:48 pm
Anyway, to Keith's point, there are now quotas in place for significant parts of the Sierras, but the permits do not cost money. Whitney relative to the Sierras as a whole is like what Obsidian has been to the rest of the Sisters up until now - a special restricted area.
Seems like Obsidian is an important data point here: if they've been able to require permits there, why not in the rest of the Cascades? (I assume some people here will argue that Obsidian permits should be illegal too. Personally, I'm not arguing either side.)
Limited Entry Areas (which is what Obsidian is) are not part of the authorization of the FLREA. I'm still asking if someone knows what law the FS used to enact Obsidian (ditto for the Enchantments, as noted above). But at the permit hearing I specifically suggested the uber-popular places like Green Lakes and Devil's Lake could be made into LEAs, as almost all of the rest of the wilderness THs would not exceed the quotas the FS proposed (meaning that at those THs you are paying for a permit for no reason), and the FS responded that LEAs are "too confusing," or some such and they didn't want to take that route. So LEAs appear to be a different thing...

Also note, again, that the permits and the permit fees are separate issues. The FS is claiming the FLREA as justification for the permit fees in the Central Cascades (the same way they use it as justification for the NWFP). At this point, the permits in the Central Cascades are a done deal unless someone sues them, but we can still argue the fees are unjustified. (Certainly, if nothing else, they are not thought out - again, no info about annual passes, how reservations would work, how permits work for groups and who can buy them, etc.)
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jessbee
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Re: Central Cascades permit fees announced

Post by jessbee » October 8th, 2019, 6:29 pm

Bosterson wrote:
October 8th, 2019, 6:21 pm
Certainly, if nothing else, they are not thought out - again, no info about annual passes, how reservations would work, how permits work for groups and who can buy them, etc.
This is my issue. How can I possibly put together a thoughtful response to the proposal when there's nothing more than a vague press release to go by? I just happened to be at the Deschutes NF office this morning and asked if there was any more information available besides the press release and they said that's it. I hope to see a public meeting scheduled soon.
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Chip Down
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Re: Central Cascades permit fees announced

Post by Chip Down » October 8th, 2019, 7:13 pm

Resist.

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mountainkat
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Re: Central Cascades permit fees announced

Post by mountainkat » October 8th, 2019, 8:31 pm

I've been interested in learning more about the legislative history and intent behind the FLREA and recently found this 2005 transcript of a subcommittee meeting that reviewed agency implementation of the FLREA shortly after its passage into law. Of note, there is some discussion about the Special Recreation Permit fee and its use by the agencies in the context of a user permit system.

The transcript is an interesting read, at least for some background and indication of the concerns at issue with FLREA implementation. Here's a link:
https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CHR ... g26620.htm

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Bosterson
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Re: Central Cascades permit fees announced

Post by Bosterson » October 8th, 2019, 10:05 pm

Thanks Kathy, that was a very interesting read indeed! Definitely food for thought for crafting comments about this fee proposal.
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