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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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July 14, 2003
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.
Group or organization:
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248 NW Wilmington Ave.
Bend, OR 97701