New Northwest Forest Passes

General discussions on hiking in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest
squeakytree
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New Northwest Forest Passes

Post by squeakytree » August 24th, 2018, 11:27 am

There has already been considerable discussion on this site about the Northwest Forest Pass and whether it is even legal for a fee to be charged at trailheads on federal public lands. With that in mind, I’m sure the “new” Northwest Forest Pass should create additional controversy. For those who may not have already bought one from the vendors who now have them, the new pass has two spaces in which you are supposed to put license plate numbers. Supposedly this feature was added in an ongoing effort to curtail the “fraud” that occurs when rental car companies and resorts give patrons a pass, thereby letting many more people than those in one household use it. (I certainly don’t have any concrete numbers, but I’m guessing this is a small percentage of the buyers of the pass.)

I personally have several issues with this, the greatest one being the fact that they are not allowed to charge a parking fee. It seems to me if you have to put a plate number on it, that’s the only thing it could be construed as. The actual code regarding the passes has not changed, so I’m not sure where they have determined that they can change the pass from essentially belonging to the passholder versus belonging to the vehicle. It does say that any changes to the fee program have to be open to public comment, which clearly has not happened.

This is currently considered a pilot program started at the end of the 2017 fiscal year. Strictly voluntary and not required supposedly until the fiscal year ends for 2018. The powers-that-be are determining whether to make it permanent based upon feedback. At this point there hasn’t been any, because most areas are just now getting the passes in stock that actually have the spaces for the two license plates. If there is no feedback, it gets interpreted as acceptance; no negative comments means no objections or issues with the new program. The 2018 fiscal year ends September 30th, so if you want to share your comments or opinions on this, you need to get them in before that date. The contact e-mail address is: [email protected]

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retired jerry
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Re: New Northwest Forest Passes

Post by retired jerry » August 24th, 2018, 12:10 pm

oh no... :twisted:

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Guy
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Re: New Northwest Forest Passes

Post by Guy » August 24th, 2018, 1:13 pm

I've been hanging my pass the other way around in the car and have not filled in the license plate information. I know the pass has been checked twice (Wahtum Lake & Devils Lake) because others around me received tickets or warnings. I have no intention of filling out the license plate info, if I get a ticket in the future I'll request a court hearing.
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Water
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Re: New Northwest Forest Passes

Post by Water » August 24th, 2018, 2:07 pm

tickets for sure? not just warnings?

yes, the entire paying to hike has been clearly demarcated by the 9th circuit court, they can't require it along a stretch of a high use area (HIRA), they can't require it in an individual developed spot even if it does have all the 'amenities' required under REA if you are just parking to hike. The actual statute that fee collection happens under has plain language that says they can't charge parking fees and that you don't need to pay it if you are passing through. The judge explains this at length, if they can't charge fees for parking alone, and if you were dropped off at or passed through a place that requires NWFP, you aren't required to pay... so essentially it becomes a parking fee, which is verboten in the text.

If you want to take a single line from the ruling and extrapolate it and say they found in favor or NWFP, feel free, but read the whole ruling, especially the Discussion section in which the judge goes into depth about the assumptions of the forest service, plain language of REA, the definition of the word 'for' and what is permitted and isn't under REA (recreational enhancement act - yes, the name is like a ticketmaster convenience fee..).
http://www.westernslopenofee.org/wp-con ... manded.pdf

The license plate thing is as onerous as the discovery pass, which nobody is a fan of.
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retired jerry
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Re: New Northwest Forest Passes

Post by retired jerry » August 24th, 2018, 2:27 pm

oh no :twisted:

I would do like Guy and post it facing inwards just to screw with them

if I got a ticket I would probably ignore it

I won't argue, this time, the obvious truth that this is a legal program, regardless I love everyone :)

A lot of people pay, it pays for toilet, garbage can, picnic table, enforcement, administrative costs, a tiny bit left for trail maintenance

Too bad congress doesn't pass a law that would enable them to have a pass you have to pay for that goes just for trail maintenance

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Water
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Re: New Northwest Forest Passes

Post by Water » August 24th, 2018, 3:57 pm

legal program if you use any of the amenities, absolutely. Parking is not an amenity. I myself don't go hiking for the privy, garbage can, picnic table, or informational sign at the start.
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retired jerry
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Re: New Northwest Forest Passes

Post by retired jerry » August 24th, 2018, 4:34 pm

oh no... :twisted:

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Water
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Re: New Northwest Forest Passes

Post by Water » August 24th, 2018, 8:35 pm

i mean there is nothing controversial about it. read the darn law man. This is the exact stuff the judge in the ruling i linked to above picks apart.

http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?path ... ion=prelim

Section (d) comes before section (f) and demarcates limitations and prohibitions on fees. Section (f) refers to section (d) when it says where they can charge. The judge very plainly states that if you're just parking, the FLREA (federal lands recreation enhancement act) specifically states you can't be charged to park.

(d) Limitations on recreation fees
(1) Prohibition on fees for certain activities or services
The Secretary shall not charge any standard amenity recreation fee or expanded amenity recreation fee for Federal recreational lands and waters administered by the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service, or the Bureau of Reclamation under this chapter for any of the following:
(A) Solely for parking, undesignated parking, or picnicking along roads or trailsides.
---------
(f) Standard amenity recreation fee
Except as limited by subsection (d), the Secretary may charge a standard amenity recreation fee for Federal recreational lands and waters under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, or the Forest Service, but only at the following:

(1) A National Conservation Area.
(2) A National Volcanic Monument.
(3) A destination visitor or interpretive center that provides a broad range of interpretive services, programs, and media.
(4) An area—
(A) that provides significant opportunities for outdoor recreation;
(B) that has substantial Federal investments;
(C) where fees can be efficiently collected; and
(D) that contains all of the following amenities:
(i) Designated developed parking.
(ii) A permanent toilet facility.
(iii) A permanent trash receptacle.
(iv) Interpretive sign, exhibit, or kiosk.
(v) Picnic tables.
(vi) Security services.



-------------
They can't charge just for parking. It states that way up front before they get into almost any nitty gritty detail of this entire law. Subsections refer to this section stating except as limited by section d. They also don't charge just for passing through. Otherwise PCT hikers would have to pay or technically be in possession of a pass every time they come by a NWFP trailhead, which we all agree is not the case and is ludicrous. Which thus as the judge demarcates in his ruling, ergo, paying to just park and hike is not valid implementation of the FLREA. It is for use of the amenities.

I respect you Jerry but have you actually ever read through the judge's ruling? Seriously, I've linked to it about 50 times i swear. Takes about 15 minutes at best. Have you read it? If so was your only take-away that HIRA (high use recreation areas spanning a big distance) are the only thing that were invalidated?

I'm no sovereign citizen bs interpreting the constitution or anything, I'm 100% mirroring what the 9th circuit court judge says in his discussion and why he ruled against the FS.
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retired jerry
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Re: New Northwest Forest Passes

Post by retired jerry » August 25th, 2018, 5:41 am

We've had this discussion multiple times

They can charge if they provide the amenities like you listed

They can't charge just to use the federal land because we own it. They can't charge for the 26 mile stretch at Mt Lemmon just because they have the amenities at one spot

I just disagree with the belief that the entire program is not legal or that if you park in the designated area next to the amenities but don't use the amenities you don't have to pay

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xrp
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Re: New Northwest Forest Passes

Post by xrp » August 25th, 2018, 6:03 am

Fragosa et al vs USFS ruling states that USFS can charge for amenities’ use. They cannot charge for amenities’ presense [at trailheads].

If you just park, hike, use undeveloped sites and don’t use the garbage can, port-a-potty/vault toilet, picnic bench, etc — they cannot require the NWFP.

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