Ben wrote:
>Nope, it ain't.  Last year during one o my periods of starvation
>(literally), I
>wanted to go for a hike.  Didn't have any money to pay the fee, went hiking
>anyways, was slapped with a ticket.  Ignored it...
>But if they actually started enforcing them...
>El Scorpion
>Quoting Skip King <[log in to unmask]>:
> > And frankly, I find the argument that the program is 'prejudiced against
> > the poor' to be something of a red herring.  There may be someone
> > classified below the poverty level who got him/herself all the way up to
> > a
> > national forest in order to do some backpacking and got turned back
> > because
> > of these fees, but I'd be surprised if that's true.

Quoting from

Thomas More, a researcher with the U.S. Forest Service Northeastern Forest
Experimental Station in Burlington, published the first scientific survey
of the White Mountains National Forest Recreational Fee Demonstration
Program project in conjunction with Thomas Stevens, a professor from the
University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

More and Stevens surveyed households in Vermont and New Hampshire and found
that one in four lower income families visited National Forests less often
in order to avoid fees. This evidence suggests a discriminatory impact of
the fee on low income citizens. It is also at odds with Forest Service's
claims of overwhelming popular support for recreation fees.

After the paper was published, the Forest Service barred More from talking
to the press regarding his research. The Forest Service also issued
"talking points" to its spokespeople around the country dismissing the
findings of More and Stevens as "statistically insignificant."

Other researchers who reviewed the More and Stevens paper say that Forest
Service's claim is false. "The Forest Service is very sensitive about
this," Stevens said. "They have staked their future on this fee program.
They do not welcome information that raises questions about it."

On May 19, the General Accounting Office released report GAO-03-470 on the
accounting of the Forest Service's Recreation Fee Demonstration Program.
The Forest Service has been shown to be dangerously unaccountable with
respect to its cost of collection figures. It also spent in 2001 what
amounts to a $10 million slush fund in appropriated tax dollars (which was
never revealed to Congress in the Forest Service's annual Fee Demo reports)
in order to secretly triple the program's administration and enforcement
budget. It is now clear that - in 2001 - the Forest Service spent $15
million to raise $15 million.

Full GAO report at:


Direct link to my weblog page:

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