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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
208.726.8065 Voice
208.726.2329 Fax

Copyright © 2001 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 


Formula Sports


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Edmark GM Superstore : Nampa, Idaho

For the week of June 20 - June 26, 2001


Shell game

A bill introduced into the U.S. Senate to make recreation fees on public lands permanent is a slap in the face to the people who supported and promoted the controversial fees.

Senate Bill 1011, introduced by Sens. Bob Graham, D-Fla., and Daniel Akaka, D-Hawii, is full of surprises.

The bill would allow up to 40 percent of the recreation fees collected on public land to be used agency-wide by the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management.

In other words, fees paid on the Sawtooth National Forest could be spent on forest projects in other states or for general expenses on the national level.

That’s a far cry from the way the fees were sold to the public in the Recreation Fee Demonstration Program.

Time after time, the Forest Service and Idaho’s senators and congressmen assured the public that at least 80 percent of the fees would be spent at the site where they are collected instead of going back to the U.S. Treasury. They promised that the other 20 percent would be distributed among other sites in the area.

That was then. This is now. This bill shatters those assurances.

The bill also omits the U.S. Forest Service from a prohibition on displacing regularly budgeted funds with income derived from fees.

Forest officials promised repeatedly that forest budgets would not be replaced by fees, but supplemented by fees. The bill carries no such guarantee.

The bill unmasks the Recreation Fee Demonstration Program and finally shows it for what it is: a government shell game foisted on a gullible public.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.