Proposals to privatize and drastically increase fees for outdoor recreation on public lands threaten rural counties’ financial security, and everyone’s freedom to enjoy natural areas. The Mount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center wants people to enjoy the outdoors and has always opposed unreasonable charges such as day use fees on Mount Shasta. Several new threats have recently appeared.
Admission fee increases of 20-30% are in store for families and individuals at Lassen Volcanic National Park if not successfully challenged. The park is seeking comments through the end of July. Ways citizens can make their voice heard are here.
Congressman Doug LaMalfa has sponsored H.R. 289, the “Guides and Outfitters Act”, supposedly streamlining processes for special recreation permits. Looking more closely, this bill instead overturns current laws and allows fees “for anyone to do anything, anywhere…on several National Forests and thousands of acres of undeveloped BLM-managed lands”, according to Colorado’s Western Slope No Fee Coalition.
These efforts are part of a money grab by special interests seeking over-development of national parks for private profit. The Trump administration’s Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has said “I don’t want to be in the business of running campgrounds” and is pushing budget cuts to parks already suffering from maintenance backlogs.
Here in Siskiyou County, outdoor recreation and tourism provide many jobs and play a major role in our economy. Huge fees keep tourists away, and deny locals and visitors alike the right to use and enjoy lands we all own in common. We encourage everyone to contact elected officials and comment on these ill-advised and harmful fee increases.
Mount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center