SEPTEMBER 1998

 

SEPTEMBER 1998 FULL ISSUE

LAND OF THE FEE: FOREST SERVICE SAYS NO PAY, NO PLAY

By KATHIE DURBIN

The best things in life aren’t  free anymore.  If you doubt it, you haven't been out in the woods lately. Congress and federal forest managers, squeezed between starkly diminished timber sale receipts and spiraling recreation demand, have discovered a new source of revenue: Us. Instead of dipping into the federal treasury to support a program that potentially benefits each and every American taxpayer, Congress opted two years ago to shift more of the cost to users

Once country that had the foresight a century ago co set aside millions of acres as national forests, national parks and national wildlife refuges. Whether rich or poor, city dweller or ruralite, we knew that the trails and streams, forests and mountains, would always be there for us to experience, mostly free of charge.  

No more. Congress has decreed that recreation, unlike most other uses of federal land, must start paying for itself. "Pay to Play" is the Agriculture tracks the value of soybeans, new watchword on public lands. And corn, or wheat to the penny by the day, the $400 billion outdoor recreation yet rarely is recreation and tourism on industry is bidding for a major piece of federal lands understood as a revenue the action.

PAGE 8

Paul Koberstein