Adventure Passes sold at Mountain Air Sports

Paul Wellman

Adventure Passes sold at Mountain Air Sports

Adventure Pass Foes Claim Victory

Federal Decision Stops Fines for Simply Exploring Forest; Fees Still Allowed at Developed Sites

Wednesday, April 30, 2014
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National forests can no longer charge people who simply park and explore undeveloped areas, according to a federal court ruling reached on Monday. The decision comes after years of legal wrangling by activists who believe programs like the Adventure Pass amount to double taxation. It does not do away with the fees charged to use developed areas of the forest, such as picnic tables, campgrounds, and bathrooms. Los Padres National Forest officials are awaiting direction from Washington, D.C. on how to interpret and abide by the decision, and whether that will require some policing on whether people are, for instance, using picnic tables or not.

The news was a major victory for people like Alasdair Coyne, of Keep the Sespe Wild, who has been fighting the program since it was first tested in 1996. “These national forests are maintained by our tax dollars,” he explained, “so why should we be paying double to use them?” He doesn’t have “high hopes” that Los Padres officials will adhere to the order, and so will maintain a public awareness campaign to ensure people aren’t paying unnecessary fees.

What remains unclear is whether fees can be charged on areas controlled by concessionaires, even for people who do not use the amenities. For instance, Rocky Mountain Recreation, which runs the popular Paradise Road area just over the Santa Ynez Mountains from Santa Barbara, has no plans to change their policies, according to an unidentified woman who answered the phone there on Tuesday. Anti-fee attorney Matt Kenna believes those areas may be exempt, explaining, “This ruling probably won’t affect concessionaires charging for their areas.”

That’s okay for Coyne, so long people are using the developed areas. “The fee foes have always been focused on opposing a fee to access the undeveloped backcountry,” he said. “Nobody disagrees that there shouldn’t be reasonable fees at developed sites, where people have to clean up the trash and toilets and firepits.”


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Some Western Congressmen starve the National Forest Service, because they suck up to Cliven Bundy and his cohorts in the SageBrush Rebellion. If a sufficient fraction of our taxes went to paying the Forest Service to protect our common lands, instead of being sent overseas to start wars and blow up our own and others' young people, the Forest Service wouldn't have to resort to silly fees like the Adventure Pass.

The argument about "Double Taxation" is disingenuous at best. At worst it's a cynical attempt to starve the Forest Service from both sides, so we can blow up even more stuff overseas.

NanoKelp (anonymous profile)
April 30, 2014 at 3:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Plenty of federal facilities, musea, parks, etc. charge an entrance fee upon entering something. However, simply demanding a prepayment fee for stopping along a road and taking a walk is not an entrance.

The concessionaire at Santa Ynez Recreation Area is a joke. That operation is not providing any service like a hotel, restaurant, boat ferry, and the like that are true concessionaires in established parks and forests.

John_Adams (anonymous profile)
April 30, 2014 at 3:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The adventure pass was put in place to fund improvements in the forecast. Initially it was run by FS employees.

With outside concessionaires running it and taking their profit, how can it possibly be making any money to fund anything? I want to see the balance sheet on the program, complete with how much the outside vendor is taking, what it has funded in the forest, and so on.

The concessionaires have a racket going and they aren't going to give it up. It's complete and utter BS.

If I drive to the Upper Oso area, park on the public road before the campground, and travel into the back country, I am NOT going to be buying a pass.

cycleboy (anonymous profile)
April 30, 2014 at 3:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

There's plenty of double taxation. One is tax on interest: your income gets taxed, you pay interest, and the person getting the interest gets taxed again. (Originally all interest was tax-free for that reason: now it's just interest on your home mortgage.) Another is corporate income tax: the company gets taxed, they pay dividends, and you get taxed on dividend income. Another is the fraction of gasoline tax: the government pays for the roads, you pay to use them.

"Double taxation" is a nice argument that leads to lower taxes, which help the rich get even richer.

And, oh yeah, it costs something to maintain "undeveloped areas" believe it or not. Otherwise we'd have Clive Bundy grazing his cattle there.

NanoKelp (anonymous profile)
April 30, 2014 at 4:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Wow NanoKelp, you have made quite the ironic post up there. I have yet to see anywhere that Bundy or the right-wing groups who are out there supporting Bundy also support our unconstitutional foreign empire. Perhaps you can provide some evidence that these people support the war on terror as well as The Patriot Act and the NDAA which could be used by the federal government to indefinitely detain, torture and execute each and every one of them after declaring them domestic terrorists, enemy combatants.

I would also like to know how we are supposed to benefit from the government owning so much land? How does that land belong to "us"? Sure, I like to go out into the wilderness up north just as much as anybody, though I have virtually no rights out there, have no rights to settle or farm, it's like a nature theme park. I happen to like the idea of nature theme parks, and while it's probably one of my last priorities I don't like the idea of the government providing or managing them, especially in such a large scale. In most cases such as we have with Bundy, the government holds the land until a big corporation comes through who wants to bribe some government officials and they end up with huge cheap parcels and they can tear it up, mine it up and frack it up.

Most ironically, if you haven't heard, the reason the government is so intent on getting Bundy's land (which actually belongs to Bundy, his family has been ranching on that land for over 130 years since before Nevada was even a state!! So morally, and under natural law the land would belong to him), but ya the reason they want Bundy's land is to sell off to corporations to mine for materials to make Tomahawk missiles and they will likely build a military base back in 'dem hills.

So before you go off attacking Bundy and trying to be all anti-military industrial complex you might want to think about those issues a bit.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
April 30, 2014 at 4:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The ultimate hypocrisy coming from those on the left is how they like to complain that poor people don't have enough then they complain about people who own the means of production making stuff. Well guess what? Poor people will never "have enough" if those with the means of production don't "make enough" stuff for everyone. The greater amount of goods we produce, the more poor people will have. Even if the stuff is made for rich people, they will buy new stuff and sell their old stuff to poorer people, who may in turn do the same to someone even poorer.

But the worst is complaining about Bundy grazing his cattle. I can understand complaining about oil producers, it burns dirty and makes our air dirty. I can understand complaining about people buying stuff you think they don't really need. But you wanna complain about somebody producing FOOD!! Are you kidding me?? That is just completely crazy!! People need to eat, we need food production. Almost all of our food is produced by corporate farms and ranches, there are very few family farms left in this country.. the reason is because they don't get the government subsidies and they have the government constantly trying to take their land either by claiming it is 'public' land that requires fees or through eminent domain. I'm sure there are plenty of other strategies they employ as well.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
April 30, 2014 at 4:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Uh, no, loon. Just no. Bundy purchased his private ranch in 1948.

John_Adams (anonymous profile)
April 30, 2014 at 8:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The Adventure Pass, long in the making, was probably a first step toward more privatization of public lands. Despite the fact that I don't mind paying for the upkeep of facilities, I am glad that there is opposition, because public lands should remain public.

(Please note, I have not tried to fatuously characterize either party's actions in this matter. I am turned off when I read others doing that, because it bespeaks an agenda and not a neutral, rational discussion of the facts and history.)

tabatha (anonymous profile)
April 30, 2014 at 8:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Debunked with one sentence vs six huge paragraphs again...

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 30, 2014 at 9:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

So Loon, what gives Bundy's militia buddies the right to set up checkpoints and demand people's proof of residency?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 30, 2014 at 11:20 p.m. (Suggest removal)

loony goes off on a tangent about Bundy and we're no longer talking about the Adventure Pass. . .

cycleboy (anonymous profile)
May 1, 2014 at 6:04 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I've been refusing to pay this for many years; this is good news! Cycleboy, many of us drive right through the concessionaire stand at Upper Oso and wave genially, there was no need to pay, ever.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
May 1, 2014 at 6:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I usually like your comments Dr. Dan, but skipping out on a five buck fee makes you sound like a cheap ass.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
May 1, 2014 at 6:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

let me say that I believe in paying, as Coyne notes, at improved sites. It's a cheap ass comment to twist it to "skipping out" H-G -- oh no, I NEVER paid as a matter of principle.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
May 1, 2014 at 6:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It's like the collection plate at church. There certainly are maintenance costs for the area that you were in . It's the right thing to do.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
May 1, 2014 at 6:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It's not like the collection place at church, unless you fail to accept the wall between Church and State. Further, double taxation is ridiculous, and even further this does discourage lower-income people from taking the kids and enjoying a half-day in the near-wilderness. Years ago the Ninth Circuit Court [SF] ruled this fee was unconstitutional for a number of reasons. But hey, H-G, you are free to pay every time. As cycleboy notes, the "outside concessionaires [are] running it and taking their profit, how can it possibly be making any money to fund anything?"

DrDan (anonymous profile)
May 1, 2014 at 7:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Actually Dan, in theory the day use fee is most like Bundy's grazing fees. I believe in paying my way
You are like Bundy, a cheap ass.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
May 1, 2014 at 8:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Now Herschel, let's keep our gun aimed at Nazis.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 1, 2014 at 8:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

uh, H-G, you have a nice day.

DavyBrown (anonymous profile)
May 2, 2014 at 6:49 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Greenspan, why do you accuse Dr.Dan of being a parsimonious donkey? Why are you being such a mean one today?

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
May 2, 2014 at 7:15 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Dolph it must be the heat and the fact that I dislike freeloaders.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
May 2, 2014 at 8:26 a.m. (Suggest removal)

If the argument in favor of the Adventure Pass is that people should be charged a fee to use developed areas, as some proponents of the Adventure Pass state with such conviction, then why are they not also advocating fees be charged for use of developed public parks?

Or, put another way, what reasonable argument is there against charging fees for use of public parks which does not also apply equally to public forests?

WordsOfReason (anonymous profile)
May 6, 2014 at 8:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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