The Admin's Blog

By hitekhomeless

The following is a repost of an email alert sent by the Western Slope No-Fee Coalition. I have placed it here, because I believe it is important to get the word out:

HR 5204 is written as an amendment to the current law, in the form of line-by-line additions, deletions, and substitutions, which makes it very difficult for the public to understand. (Probably this was the intention.) A detailed analysis of the major provisions of HR 5204 can been seen at this link.

Let your representative know what you think

August 24, 2014



Action is urgently needed to stop a bill introduced in the House, and already rammed through Committee and ready for a floor vote. HR 5204 would authorize the Forest Service and BLM to charge fees for all public lands, for any activity, by any person, any time. Details follow. Please TAKE ACTION NOW!
Kitty Benzar

Fee sign

Welcome to the future.
Pay ahead.


Just before the House adjourned for their August recess, HR 5204 The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Modernization Act of 2014, was introduced by U.S. Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT) and rammed through the House Resources Committee, without a hearing, by its Chairman, U.S. Representative Doc Hastings (R-WA).

It’s likely that Bishop and Hastings are planning to get HR 5204 attached as a rider to the FY2015 appropriations bill. Although HR 5204 has attracted no sponsor in the Senate so far, it’s likely that if attached as an appropriations rider it will pass both chambers without scrutiny or public debate, and become the law of the land, because appropriations bills are considered “must pass” in order to avoid a government shutdown.

HR 5204, if enacted, could destroy the concept of public lands as places where everyone has access and is welcome. Every place, every activity, every person, could be required to pay a fee – an additional tax on top of the taxes that already support public lands – for access, regardless whether they are highly developed like National Parks and Forest Service or BLM campgrounds, or completely undeveloped like Wilderness Areas.

HR 5204 would allow the kind of fees that have not been controversial to continue, such as fees for developed campgrounds and National Park entrance fees. But in addition to those fees, it would allow general access fees for any federal recreational lands and waters. It would accomplish this by two types of fee: Day Use Fees and Permit Fees.

The only meaningful requirement for a Day Use Fee would be that where you park there is a toilet of some kind (could be a porta-potty or a stinky outhouse) within 1/2 mile.

The only meaningful requirement for a Permit Fee would be that where you park gives access to a “special area.” Neither “special” nor “area” is defined. The land agencies would have complete discretion to claim that any place at all is a “special area.”

So where there is a toilet it could be called a Day Use Fee. Where there is not a toilet, it could be called a Permit Fee. The result is the same: there would not be any place where a fee is not allowed. And since the agencies would get to keep all the fee money directly, there would be not be anywhere that they wouldn’t have a strong incentive to charge a fee.

Public lands? Forget that. Not any more. Not if this passes.

There is other stuff in HR 5204 (like no more fee-free days, citizenship checks on annual pass holders, and overhead costs rising from 15% to 25%), but they only rearrange the deck chairs on the sinking ship of our public lands.

A detailed analysis of the major provisions is on our website at this link.

Congress is on vacation until the week after Labor Day. When they return, the 2015 appropriations bills will be among the top items of business. If Bishop and Hastings succeed in getting HR 5204 attached to one of them, it’s almost guaranteed to pass.

What can stop it?
                   Only one thing can:

If you care about our public lands being turned into commodities available only to those who can afford to pay fees for everything, then you must let YOUR Representative and YOUR Senators hear from you. Tell them that this major change in public policy cannot be allowed, particularly without any public hearing or debate.

Click here to create and send a letter to your representative the easy way.

HR 5204 lacks any over-arching vision or framework of our public lands being spaces where we all are welcome and have access. Yet it’s being supported by groups like the National Parks Conservation Association, The Wilderness Society, and America Outdoors, because it throws a bone here and there to their special interests. But for the general public, there is nothing redeeming in this bill, nor any way it could be amended into something acceptable. It represents a complete change in public lands policy, which would be accomplished without public hearings or debate.


Tell your congressional delegation to OPPOSE HR 5204 and TO NOT ALLOW IT TO BE ATTACHED TO AN APPROPRIATIONS BILL!

All the contact information you need can be found at

* Use their webform.
* Call their office in Washington.
* Call their local office.
* Write, phone, fax, drop in in person.

Do all of the above. And then do it again!

Your personal action is urgently needed or this bill WILL PASS!


The Western Slope No-Fee Coalition is a broad-based organizationconsisting of diverse interests including hiking, biking, boating, equestrian and motorized enthusiasts, community groups, local and
state elected officials, conservatives and liberals, Republicans and Democrats, and just plain citizens.

Our goals are:
* To eliminate recreation fees for general access to public lands managed by the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management
* To eliminate backcountry fees and interpretive program fees in National Parks
* To require more accountability within the land management agencies
* To encourage Congress to adequately fund our public lands

Thank you for your support!

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Reviewed on August 16, 2015
Elsa Duncan

We have lost our freedom and constitutional rights so it seems. Public means for the people. Public domain lands are those that cannot be sold since they are considered to belong to the whole community. Public domain land is managed by a public entity like, in different countries, the State, a region, a province or a municipality, directly or by institutes or state companies. What more will be taken away from the American people.

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Reviewed on September 5, 2014
Jimmy Fischbeck

I am 57 years old,and have been disabled due to a brain injury for six years.My "lifestyle" is quite modest.Whenever I can put a little money aside I like to camp.The lack of free public camping would make this imposable.Please allow my one remaining freedom to remain unmolested.

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Reviewed on September 3, 2014
Sharon Koehler

The only reason the US Government gets away with many of the things it does is because the general public gives up their right to say NO!! Most people these days could care less that the actions of others affects every generation from that point on, or that our personal freedoms and rights are being trampled on daily.
We rescind because it is is so much easier to say: "Oh, well, there is nothing we can do about it, so we might as well give in." BULL!! There is plenty you can do!! Fight for your rights and your freedoms!! You do NOT "have to" give in to abuse of any kind!!! You can take back your freedoms ANY TIME YOU WANT TO!!! BUT....... Do you WANT to??!!

Why do you think the people of the 60's fought the police so hard?! They were thinking about YOU!!! YEP! That's right!! They knew this day would come where officials would laugh in your face and tell you that you are NOT free anymore!! Has it worked?! You bet yer butt it has!!
Quit being such a woos and stand up and fight, not just for public land, ALL your freedom and rights!!
If you are NOT going to fight for it, then don't bother to complain when they take it away!! YOU ARE the reason the officials took it all away in the first place!!

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Reviewed on September 3, 2014
G Dyck

The federal government has to squeeze more out of the general public to pay interest to the Federal Reserve on all that money that they loan to the federal government that they create out of thin air. Why is the private Federal Reserve the only ones that can create something from nothing and charge interest?

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Reviewed on September 2, 2014

If passes, I am wonder if the fees will go to the Native of America people.... is their land after all...

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Reviewed on September 2, 2014

Give em an inch......

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Reviewed on September 1, 2014

Another freedom being eroded

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Reviewed on September 1, 2014
Keith Owen

We pay about 50% of our income to State and Federal taxes in the form of sales, income,property, inheritance, user fees for camping, drivers, fishing, hunting, concealed carry licenses etc. Do you really want to pay more? Does the government need to be responsible for more of our money? Are they spending it wisely as it is?

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Reviewed on August 31, 2014
Roscoe West

Already paid with blood and treasure, this land is our land.

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Reviewed on August 31, 2014
leslie stoddard

I want free access to public land and I support RV parks.

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Reviewed on August 30, 2014
John Schroeder

There isn't enough information to discuss this bill here. How much are the fees? Is the budget for managing the lands in a shortfall? Will the fees be earmarked for the land management itself, or go back into the general US Govt revenue fund? How much income are these fees expected to generate? Are there other alternatives to securing the needed revenues? Public resources are not free resources, but it would be good to know what the justification is and what alternatives were explored before reaching this bill.

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Replied August 31, 2014

John Schroeder - Please use the links provided in the article if you seek more information. Specifically, this one. There you will find both the bill in its entirety and in human readable form. They are not providing any of the specifics you are asking for. There are no fee specifics mentioned in the bill. By not being specific, they are giving themselves the ability to charge anyone for ANY activity on federally managed lands. The current law that they are amending prevented them from charging fees for activities that did not involve amenities or improvements. The new bill removes those restrictions. We do not know how much or when. They are just removing any fee roadblocks that were previously in place.

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Reviewed on August 30, 2014

That is horrible. My dad took me places all the time where you could just setup camp on the beach, always cleaned up after ourselves and learned how to be an appreciating Californian. Not only is this bill discouraging from visiting our trademark natural beauties but it deprives growing Californians of the crucial knowledge and understanding of this beautiful state and how to preserve it.

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Reviewed on August 30, 2014

When I was growing up in the 60's my father told me that our public lands were going to remain the one free thing that generations to come of the common person could enjoy. He said that the taxes that we pay, the wars that we fight in, and the toil that the common person endures is what makes the free access to our lands a given for our great country. I guess now the government thinks camping on the land is for the well to do that can afford to pay everywhere. We pay to park at Parks, to picnic, and National parks require expensive passes and then we pay to camp, we even pay to view areas. My dad, his father, and his father before him were confident in free access and camping. They taught each generation that being out on the land was freeing of the spirit of Americans, and now it seems that our government doesn't even return to us the natural urge to be free on our lands for free. Pay or be denied. This is a sad time for the once free United States.

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Replied August 30, 2014

Hidden due to low comment rating Click here to see.

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Replied September 1, 2014

The mountains do not ask for money, nor the trees, nor the birds, nor the water. People exploit them to gain money.

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Reviewed on August 30, 2014
Bobby Duncan

Home of the free & land of the brave. Ha,our founding fathers would be/ probably are rolling in their graves. This "biting the hand that feeds you", had got to stop. Tax the 1%, leave us alone.

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Reviewed on August 30, 2014
barb mccallson

I do not Condon this bill, this land is our land this land is your land, from the redwood forest, to the new York island! Free country? Not to much anymore....please don't take our public parks too!

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Reviewed on August 30, 2014

What the heck is happening to this country...............everything is turning to greed. These our parks and don't we pay enough in our ever raising taxes each year. Who's pockets will this be lining?

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Replied September 2, 2014
Dick A

Hidden due to low comment rating Click here to see.

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Reviewed on August 30, 2014

I do not agree with this at all. We use the lands all the time. Also why is this not being voted on? Why the lets be quite about this. Why has this not been talked about in the news at all? Stop this when we pay taxes.

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Reviewed on August 30, 2014
Denise Rusello

This is our country, not our polititions personal property. Our taxes already pay for the upkeep of this land, and as citizens it should be ours to use workout or greedy government trying to double dip!

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Reviewed on August 29, 2014
Pam Wright

No fees on public lands!!! They are ours to use, we have already paid for them with our taxes!!!

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