Author Topic: $3-$5 for Forest passes  (Read 3261 times)

Offline frik

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Re: $3-$5 for Forest passes
« Reply #30 on: August 12, 2016, 10:00:32 am »
I really really hate the fee, and go out of my way to try to not ever pay it. But I'm not sure why you think it's illegal. Anyone can walk into any designated fee area without having to pay.... so we can still enter "our" land without paying. We're only required to pay, if we are parking a car....so if the FS re-named it to "parking fee" would that make it "legal"?

I'm not a lawyer, but my dad used to watch Perry Mason... so I'm as qualified as anyone else to ask this: Has there been a recent* case; in which someone refused to pay the ticket (for not paying the fee), they went to court, and the  judge dismissed the case?  I'm really curious to know, because the free legal advice you are dispensing can become pretty expensive if the answer is crickets.

 * I'm pretty sure, when the fee was initially implemented, the wording on the pass implied that paying the fee was voluntary -and a case was dismissed because of that. However that was a while ago and the wording has long since been changed.

Offline kenreville

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Re: $3-$5 for Forest passes
« Reply #31 on: August 12, 2016, 10:58:30 am »
What I'm telling you is that by NOT parking in any signed area, you can LEGALLY park along any road in the WMNF (as long as there is no sign prohibiting the spot you want to park in). As long as your wheels are off the pavement.

That said, doesn't it seem highly suspect that your $20 "fee" is being used to hire gov't parking attendants? And why is any roadside "legal" to park in, but certain parking lots are not?

Offline pappy

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Re: $3-$5 for Forest passes
« Reply #32 on: August 12, 2016, 12:06:30 pm »
Only Congress can implement a tax, and they can tax any damn thing they want as long as it is applied equally within the targeted group. I doubt they passed this specifically as a tax. However, I'm sure they have authorized various units in the Executive to implement reasonable user fees. (BTW, the increasing tendency of Congress to delegate lawmaking powers specifically given to it in the Constitution to the Executive is contributing greatly to the erosion of our freedoms and the unconstitutional actions of the current administration, not that I would expect many or any of you to give a sh*t--most don't.) But that's where this gets squishy. A user fee should be targeted to maintain the specific facility being used, i.e. the parking area. Therefore, it should be limited to an amount that would raise enough revenue to maintain the parking area, and no more. It should not be available to do all this other wonderful maintenance work  they tout, because as Ken points out  as a fee it is not applied equitably--if I park outside the parking lot then I get to use the facilities, trails, shelters, etc. without paying for it.
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Offline frik

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Re: $3-$5 for Forest passes
« Reply #33 on: August 12, 2016, 12:16:49 pm »
Sorry, i thought you had implied that the fee was illegal... even if it was called a "parking tax". Also that it wasn't being enforced -at least not by the courts.

Most - not all, fee lots have an outhouse of some sort, which is probably how the FS tries to justify it.  For the fee areas that don't have any facilities, my guess is the FS figures they are popular enough that it's worth their time to check - think the Greely pond/Osceola trail head off the Kank....

A better question to ask is; How come they don't have this fee out west?

Offline DaveR

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Re: $3-$5 for Forest passes
« Reply #34 on: August 12, 2016, 12:30:53 pm »
A better question to ask is; How come they don't have this fee out west?

I have recently seen this out west also.

Offline frik

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Re: $3-$5 for Forest passes
« Reply #35 on: August 12, 2016, 12:31:58 pm »
So here is a serious question: Does the Department of the Interior need congress, if they want to raise the campsite fees in Yosemite?

Another actual serious question: Are all those hundreds of cars that are parked along rt 3 at the Lafayette trail head in Franconia notch every weekend obliged to have a pass? The fee lots are full, the overflow ends up parking on the side of the road.... What's their legal situation?

Offline DaveR

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Re: $3-$5 for Forest passes
« Reply #36 on: August 12, 2016, 01:40:54 pm »
So here is a serious question: Does the Department of the Interior need congress, if they want to raise the campsite fees in Yosemite?

Another actual serious question: Are all those hundreds of cars that are parked along rt 3 at the Lafayette trail head in Franconia notch every weekend obliged to have a pass? The fee lots are full, the overflow ends up parking on the side of the road.... What's their legal situation?

Not sure about the first question.

I asked that question of a ranger once and was told they were also responsible for the "USE FEE" he never called it a parking fee and made it quite clear it was a fee for the use of the forest that "all visitors to the forest with a vehicle must pay."

Offline slink

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Re: $3-$5 for Forest passes
« Reply #37 on: August 12, 2016, 01:50:27 pm »
Do you pay at the Lafayette trail head?  I thought that was a NH state park? You really shouldn't have to pay a federal fee for state lands. Just saying.  I get a free pass every year so I have no real beef in this fight. I also got one of those official tickets and payed the fine it says that you can have a war rent placed for non payment. Official enough for me.
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Offline pappy

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Re: $3-$5 for Forest passes
« Reply #38 on: August 12, 2016, 03:11:54 pm »
So here is a serious question: Does the Department of the Interior need congress, if they want to raise the campsite fees in Yosemite?

Another actual serious question: Are all those hundreds of cars that are parked along rt 3 at the Lafayette trail head in Franconia notch every weekend obliged to have a pass? The fee lots are full, the overflow ends up parking on the side of the road.... What's their legal situation?

As to the Yosemite question, the campsite fee is a user fee. If they can show an increase is needed to maintain the campground they can do it, although I think Congress built in comment periods, etc. Not that they pay much attention to that sort of thing anymore.

Don't see how they can collect the fee from someone parked by the highway. They may have just parked the car there and aren't even in the forest. Furthermore, if you are collecting money just from those who came to the forest by vehicle rather than collecting from everyone who uses the resource then it is a tax, not a user fee. If you are doing so in order to raise general revenue for your budget rather than targeted at the specific resource being used then it is a tax, not a user fee. It should be obvious why it would be a horrible and thoroughly un-Constitutional idea for a government agency to be able to just conjure up a new 'fee' any time they wanted to raise money for their budget, just a little bit less horrible than a government employee being able to seize the cash you're carrying simply because they think you have more than you 'should' have for legal purposes, and then using the proceeds to make their budget. Oh wait, they do that.

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Offline frik

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Re: $3-$5 for Forest passes
« Reply #39 on: August 12, 2016, 04:58:38 pm »
Good catch slink - i should have known that. Dave regardless of what the ranger called it or said about it, obviously not all visitors to the forest with a car have to pay. The Scookumchuck lot, among others is still free, although maybe it won't be by the end of the week.
Quote
all visitors to the forest with a vehicle must pay.

 but it's not for parking.... fking Orwell!


Offline rbirk

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Re: $3-$5 for Forest passes
« Reply #40 on: August 12, 2016, 05:12:19 pm »
If you read the document originally linked there are two paragraphs of interest to the discussion:

"Ninety five percent of the revenue collected at recreation fee sites remains on the Forest to operate, maintain and improve the facilities and recreation programs.  Fees are used to maintain day-use sites including trash pickup, septic pumping, painting, and cleaning, and to address the backlog of deferred maintenance, conduct patrols and maintain highly used trails, shelters, and campsites, and to assist visitors with information and education services such as Leave No Trace and hikeSafe."

and

"In 2004, Congress passed the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act which allows the Forest Service to retain funds collected at certain recreation sites and use these funds locally to operate and maintain and improve these sites. Before the Forest Service received the authority to retain funds locally, all fees collected by the Forest Service went to the national treasury."


Offline DaveR

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Re: $3-$5 for Forest passes
« Reply #41 on: August 12, 2016, 09:02:51 pm »
So here is a serious question: Does the Department of the Interior need congress, if they want to raise the campsite fees in Yosemite?

Another actual serious question: Are all those hundreds of cars that are parked along rt 3 at the Lafayette trail head in Franconia notch every weekend obliged to have a pass? The fee lots are full, the overflow ends up parking on the side of the road.... What's their legal situation?

As to the Yosemite question, the campsite fee is a user fee. If they can show an increase is needed to maintain the campground they can do it, although I think Congress built in comment periods, etc. Not that they pay much attention to that sort of thing anymore.

Don't see how they can collect the fee from someone parked by the highway. They may have just parked the car there and aren't even in the forest. Furthermore, if you are collecting money just from those who came to the forest by vehicle rather than collecting from everyone who uses the resource then it is a tax, not a user fee. If you are doing so in order to raise general revenue for your budget rather than targeted at the specific resource being used then it is a tax, not a user fee. It should be obvious why it would be a horrible and thoroughly un-Constitutional idea for a government agency to be able to just conjure up a new 'fee' any time they wanted to raise money for their budget, just a little bit less horrible than a government employee being able to seize the cash you're carrying simply because they think you have more than you 'should' have for legal purposes, and then using the proceeds to make their budget. Oh wait, they do that.

'I'm proud to be an American,
Where at least I think I'm free....' cough, cough

Pappy,
If you go to the WMNF web site it is called a "recreation fee" and does not have one fucking thing to do with parking. It is pay to play on land that belongs to me. The way it is worded anyone who uses an area that a recreation fee has been approved for must pay the fee. They just go after drivers because they have a way to get you if you don't pay. "Most White Mountain National Forest lands are open and free of charge for your use and enjoyment.  Certain developed sites require payment of a recreation fee authorized via the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act."

I just renewed my drivers license so all those warning I have got at Rumney don't mean shit! We have your plate number and if you don't pay by the end of the day...blah, blah, blah. I suspect they are not real strict with enforcement because way back when this fee first started a judge in the US District court in Concord declared it unconstitutional and vowed that he would throw out any tickets that he had the chance to. I don't even know if he is still on the bench. There must be a lawyer on this board that would know how to find his decision.

FEE, BULLSHIT!! A tax by any other name is still a tax and I will not pay a tax that has not been voted on by my elected representatives.

Oh and by the way Pappy, forget the Constitution! It's old and outdated like you and me. :P

http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/whitemountain/passes-permits/recreation
« Last Edit: August 12, 2016, 09:09:50 pm by DaveR »

Offline kenreville

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Re: $3-$5 for Forest passes
« Reply #42 on: August 12, 2016, 10:25:30 pm »
"A tax by any other name is still a tax and I will not pay a tax that has not been voted on by my elected representatives."

Yhup.

Offline Admin Al

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Re: $3-$5 for Forest passes
« Reply #43 on: August 18, 2016, 12:17:36 pm »
As far as Rumney goes, most of what you enjoy came from private citizens and NOT the government. That includes most of the original parking lot and the trails.

really??? looks like most of the newer stuff came via the FS.
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Offline ed_esmond

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Re: $3-$5 for Forest passes
« Reply #44 on: August 19, 2016, 10:09:32 pm »
As far as Rumney goes, most of what you enjoy came from private citizens and NOT the government. That includes most of the original parking lot and the trails.

really??? looks like most of the newer stuff came via the FS.

I think some of the "newer" stuff from the USFS is actually very nice. I really like the long staircase up to the main cliff area, but think much of the newer stuff they've done sucks....

They started and never finished (even though they had a lot of free climber labor) a series of steps going up to the New Wave area.  It sat, unfinished for over a year before Chris Smith spent an afternoon fixing it. 

Their latest work by the small parking lot is embarrassing. These guys are obviously professional, so the workmanship is fine, but the results are pointless.  Apparently, there was a pile of pressure treated timbers (left over from their aborted attempt to build the New Wave steps.). These were used to make a series of steps close to the parking lot where none were actually needed.  What's the point in doing high quality, craftman-like work, fixing something that didn't need fixing?  There are a lot of other areas that actually could use their professional skills and expertise.

I know that Dave Quinn has been busy doing some other trail work further up the mountain as has Chris Smith and Mark Sprague (I'm sure others have been involved, but don't recall the exact details.)

Personally, I've stopped contributing to this sort of work as I just don't the time and energy as I previously had to spare.  I'm hoping there is a "new generation" of Rumney "locals"  who will take up the burden and carry it into the future.  It's time to give Smitty, Dave, et al a deserved rest....

Also, I do find it a bit ironic to hear people who I've never seen actually do any trail work complain or take credit for what has been accomplished in the past.

ed "Yes, I pay the 'fee,' and think of it as a bribe to keep them from bothering me..." e



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