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URGENT! Fee-Demo Organization Sign On Request

Early in the week beginning July 14th, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote whether or not to extend the
Recreational Fee Demonstration Program for yet another two-years. Extension language has already been
included in the Interior Appropriations bill. We are requesting your help to ensure that this extension does not happen and that the contentious, ineffective and unpopular Fee-Demo program sunsets, as scheduled, next year.
Appended is a sign-on letter we are asking groups and organizations to
endorse. It will be delivered to Congress on Monday morning, July 14, 2003
If you do not represent a group or organization but know of one that has
interest in outdoor recreation and/or public land issues, please share this
information with them and urge them to sign on.

Please read the following, short, letter. If your organization can sign on,
we ask that you do so before the end of this weekend. Sign-ons are asked to
provide their name, title, organization/group name and contact information.
You may sign on by replying to this message or by sending your information
by e-mail to  rfunk9999@earthlink.net or by FAX to 928-779-3567

Thank you so much for your help. Next week's vote represents an crucial
branch-point in the fate of Fee-Demo. Your help in preventing any further
extension of this program is greatly appreciated.

Scott

------ begin signon letter ------

July 14, 2003

Dear Representative:

A two-year extension of the Recreational Fee Demonstration Program (Fee
Demo) within the Interior Appropriations bill will soon be considered on the
House floor. Our organizations are seriously troubled by, and opposed to,
yet another extension of the Fee Demo program.
The program began in 1996 by a rider on appropriations bill and it already has
been extended through the appropriations process four times.

The Recreational Fee Demonstration Program is now
in its seventh year. With the program set to expire in October 2004 it is
time that the authorizing committees make the hard choices necessary
concerning this unpopular program. We urge Congress not to extend the
program past its current expiration date of October 2004. Any extension
at this juncture would amount to de facto permanence without any public
input or Congressional debate that the public deserves. To legislate
public land policy through the appropriations process is contrary to House
Rules and the taxpayer's best interest.

American citizens own the public lands and pay
for their maintenance through our taxes. These same citizens are being denied
access to their lands unless they are able and willing to pay
additional taxes in the form of fees. Worse, these fees are creating a direct
revenue stream to the agencies that bypasses congressional oversight.

We strongly urge Congress not to extend or make
permanent the Fee Demo program as it relates to the Bureau of Land
Management, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Forest Service.
In land managed by these three agencies, the public has clearly
demonstrated their unwillingness to accept these new fees and related enforcement on
their public lands.

Respectfully,

Name:
Title:
Group or organization:
Contact information:

----------- end -------------

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Scott Silver
Wild Wilderness
248 NW Wilmington Ave.
Bend, OR 97701

phone: 541-385-5261
e-mail:  ssilver@wildwilderness.org
Internet:  http://www.wildwilderness.org
Fees were put in place to displace homeless workers 11.Jul.2003 10:47

Zora

Another reason the fees were put in place was to displace thousands of Oregonians who live on federal and state lands because they cannot afford housing costs in Oregon. Researchers for the Oregon food bank and other social organizations have been conducting their own homeless census to let the people of Oregon know that we have third world conditions right here in Oregon...and it has been going on for decades.

What does this semi-nomadic population look like and how many are there.

They are long time Oregonians, working class, many with children living in tents, vehicles and under plastic in the forests.. They cannot afford housing in the cities...but they work in the cities. Many have them have children who are not being educated in public or private schools. These children are not being tested to see if they are being adequately home-schooled. The parents are afraid to let the schools know that they have children because the children could be taken away. Why? The conditions the children live in are considered sub-standard, no indoor plumbing, small cramped living space, no place to bath or wash clothes, may have body lice and other communicable diseases. However, there is no one to help these people...just judge them. Most do not want to live this way. It is hard living. There are many dangers. They are afraid to leave their camps because others will come and steal from them.

Before the fees on federal and state lands, the people could legally live up to 30 days in one camp space and not pay a fee. The feds ignored them for the most part so they ended up having a space to live long-term, some stability, the ability to put their children in school, and help to find housing closer to town.

Now, with the fees...more feds and state forest cops have been hired to hound these people. The working poor who live in the forest are being chased from place to place, they are being charged $8 a night to camp, if they get caught they are issued citations, with increased citations their vehicles can be impounded, they are in danger of losing their children because they have no vehicle to get to work or buy groceries or get out of the bad weather.

How many working poor live in the forest of Oregon.....estimated 10,000 to 20,000.

The danger in talking about these people is that there can be a stepped up movement to remove them from Oregon...however, unless social conconscious people know about what is happening....the working poor will be removed from Oregon one family at a time...and nothing will be done.

There needs to be a state-wide effort to deal with the truth and to protect people.....get rid of the fees to the working poor. Help people who are living in forest camps to deal with sanitation, drinking water, communicable disease, work, housing and health care.