General => General Climbing => Topic started by: ccclimber on May 09, 2003, 05:37:04 pm

Title: Fees/Fees/Fees
Post by: ccclimber on May 09, 2003, 05:37:04 pm
Well now I understand that NJ, in their state parks, they want you to pay a $50 fee and show proof of liability insurance before being permitted to climb.....The Gunks website must be full of Democratic Liberals because they don't mind tossing their money away..The Mohonk Preserves climbing pass is $8 per person a day or I think $70 a year..and the website encourages you to throw more money in the direction of the preserve..the preserve has the climbers by the short hairs and is discriminatory in their tactics..the preserve charges climbers more for a yearly pass than hikers???I was once a volunteer for the preserve untill I saw the preverbial light....Now let's take the White Mountain National Forest...$20 a year for a car permit..Hell you could put a daily pass on a van and bring a vanload into the Whites for $3 a day...while that vanload  at the Gunks would be $80 for the day...The Whites are a bargain, let's not f$%k it up...At least the National Forest isn't discriminitory....$20 whether you are a hiker, climber,snowshoer,backcountry skier,etc...But the Access Fund is leading a propagada snowballing telling climbers that the fee is wrong,unjust,etc...I'm not a lawyer or politician so I can't quite figure out the legaleze of the Access fund....But here is what I do know,all people pay the $20 and not just climbers.....Look at our neighbors and does it makes sense to piss off and ruin the relationship with the Whites???Please buy a parking pass for $20 and try to keep the peace..I will now step down from my soapbox...
Title: Re: Fees/Fees/Fees
Post by: Tomcat on June 08, 2003, 09:39:31 am
I will start by saying I respect your opinion and hope you will respect mine. I am with the access fund, the fees are wrong. Here's something to think about, the largest private sector supporter of the fee program is Disney.Other big contributors include ATV manufacturers and the like. The campgrounds in the WMNF have already been privatised because the USFS said they were not profitable( for the USFS anyway). Can you see where this is going? Comparing the National Forest to a private preserve like Mohonk is not in my opinion valid. Private lands of any kind have liability issues that government lands are exempt from, and they pay taxes which the National Forest does not.
Title: Re: Fees/Fees/Fees
Post by: ccclimber on June 08, 2003, 05:02:20 pm
Actually unless I'm blind I have absolutely no idea where your going.....Your reply is loaded with the same buteaucratic bs that I received from the access fund when i attempted to find out if they where in support of the fees...They actually didn't even have the balls to say they were against the fees...The point I'm trying to make is that for $20 a year you can get a whole lot of enjoyment out of the Whites..And I see nothing but improvements....I'm not even going to ask the importance of Disney being behind the fees
Title: Re: Fees/Fees/Fees
Post by: LizzyBee on June 12, 2003, 07:38:50 am
I too am with the Access Fund as the new Eastern NY RC. I am also working on the Gunks CLimbers Coalition. I'm not completely up to speed on all the AF policies, so the following is my own opinion based on research I've done on the question.

The Demonstration Fee Program (your $20 fee) established by Congress is dangerous from a few standpoints. Over the last decade, Congress has decreased the USFS budget dramatically. During this same period, the forests have been increasingly closed to logging, mining, etc., the traditional source of revenue for the USFS. The fees were instituted on a "trial basis" to try and make up the shortfall.

The fees didn't accomplish this, so the move is to privatize the concessions, campgrounds, etc. to generate the cash to balance budgets for the Parks and Forests. So now the budgets have been cut even more. All the areas that have been "privatized" can only cover so much.

Guess where this is going yet? Yup! You got it! Georgia-Pacific et al, Exxon et al, Alcoa and other mining concerns are striking sweet deals to re-open areas that have been closed. Notice ANWR is now going to be drilled? Are you up on the controversy in Utah?

It's starting. Once it gets rolling, watch for bigger clearcuts in the WMNF with all the attendant mess that goes with it. Given the anti-environmental mood in D.C. these days, don't expect these to be nice neat clean logging operations.

The fees are bad because they will open the doors to pillaging of our natural treasures.

Lizz Bartlett
Title: Re: Fees/Fees/Fees
Post by: ccclimber on June 12, 2003, 08:36:00 am
I agree with everything you say...You stated that it was a trial and it didn't work...So don't you think that if we pay the $20 fee we are actually helping the government and  may help reduce the need for logging, etc,,,,and as far as privatization/outsourcing,,,look at the world in general...companies / schools / and yes government agencies outsource for everything...if the government didn't outsorce my wife would be out of a job....
Title: Re: Fees/Fees/Fees
Post by: LizzyBee on June 12, 2003, 09:16:37 am
Let's use the WMNF as our example.

Yes, the $20 was helping to offset the need for logging, etc. It would continue to do so IF the budget remained at the same level. However, the budget has been cut again and again, and the fees don't make up the shortfall. Even if the number of people using the WMNF has increased, there's no way it's enough.

So, in order for the WMNF to make up the difference in their costs to provide a certain level of service/maintenance, they need more $$$$$. Where does it come from? Washington isn't going to give them more, income from fees has topped out, Washington gives them permission to open the WMNF to logging interests to make it up....

And so it goes.

Title: Re: Fees/Fees/Fees
Post by: DH on June 12, 2003, 10:20:17 am
Damn, that's bad news.  I thought $20 was a bargain, I didn't know all this other shite went with it.  What can be done then?  All this bad news and no suggestions.  Would it be better then to not pay the fees and run away from the collectors, or would this make it worse?  Jeez, since that Bush guy started running things all I hear is bad news.  

It cracks me up that we climbers can get to passionate about a few bolts then the figgin government goes and bulldozes hundreds of acres, make roads, and dump toxic shit wherever.
Title: Re: Fees/Fees/Fees
Post by: ccclimber on June 12, 2003, 10:33:25 am
So your (AF) solution is a campaign to not pay the fee,what will your next steps be???
Title: Re: Fees/Fees/Fees
Post by: Tomcat on June 12, 2003, 11:01:30 am
 O.K. ccclimber,you do not respect my opinion as it's "buteaucratic bs", but your impassioned plea for us all to buy a pass so we climbers don't screw up the "relationship" is right on? First, most of the climbing in the Whites is accessed on State of N.H. lands, that's Cathedral, Whitehorse, Crawford Notch and Cannon.You can take your vanload of poor Gunkies there for free. The principle rock climbing area accessed from a fee lot is Sundown. Climbing exists at various other areas on Mt. Washington, off the Kanc and some other crags that depend on fee lots but The USFS does not know when you buy a pass or choose not to whether you are a climber,hiker or fisherman so I fail to see how not buying a pass would affect the relationship the WMNF has with climbers.Your concept that we have to quake in our shoes about it does not match mine. The land belongs to the people of the United States, and the federal employees work for us. What gets done with the land is up to us. You could go to some of the meetings for the revision of the WMNF master plan,as I have, but I am sure that's just more" buteaucratic bs".Sounds like you won't mind when Disney has the franchise, it costs 50.00 to get in, 25.00 to park and there is some guy in a costume to check your harness at the base before you are allowed to toprope Stilleto, cause you know it's "providing jobs".As far as improvements, I haven't seen any but I'm not much on needing interpretive signs, interpretive centers or building bigger parking lots at Rocky Gorge since the natural attraction is already maxxed out. Once Disney is here they will have a solution I'm sure. . Fact is the fees bring in less than a million$ and they spend a lot of that collecting them and patrolling the lots writing tickets etc.Taxes and liability are real issues to non government land owners,even if you do not understand that, and the Access fund does a good job of looking out for climbers interests, your 20.00 would be better spent there.
Title: Re: Fees/Fees/Fees
Post by: LizzyBee on June 12, 2003, 11:36:58 am
Re-read the very beginning of my first post. I said that what I was writing was my own take on it and was not the AF speaking.

Tomcat is right on when he says get involved and join the Access Fund, too. Write when you opinion is solicited i.e. public comment periods. All the Master Plan revisions have provisions for public comment. Go to the open meetings and speak up. Form a climbers coalition like they did at Rumney and we're doing at the Gunks. Just because there is no imminent threat, doesn't mean one isn't lurking just around the corner.

Title: Re: Fees/Fees/Fees
Post by: jsaccenti on June 12, 2003, 12:06:58 pm
I understand almost what everyone is talking about. But, you haven't explained why the $20 actually hurts.
Please, put it simply. $20 fees hurts becaues etc.

It is going somewhere, right? To the parks? If its going toward something, anything, in the park, then isn't that, even though it's not as much as might be needed, good? I'm not making the connection between the $20 and budget shortfalls and logging.

Does it provide a false sense of security? Or, are we saying simply, that it would be better spent elsewhere? Like garbage bags to pick up litter.

Is Disney coming? You need to clarify.

Title: Re: Fees/Fees/Fees
Post by: Brent on June 12, 2003, 02:38:28 pm
I too, am interested in hearing this in simple terms: let me see if I've got this right:

From what i understand, the point is that the people that use our public lands are paying twice: once via taxes, which everyone pays, and once via the fees.  A fair portion of these fees go into perpetuating the structure required to process the fees themselves.  The rest is used as a means to justify funding cuts towards these very same lands (if we're collecting fees, we don't need to put as much tax money into the budget, etc.)

By not paying these fees, we are saying that we disagree with double "taxation" essentially, and if we DO pay them, these facilities and lands run the risk of becoming privatized or, worse yet, open logging/drilling/general mayhem, which means we'll all be standing in line behind a turnstile to take the "Thin Air Thrill Ride" while being gently showered with a warm spray of crude oil and sawdust.

Is this more or less what you're talking about Tomcat and Lizz?
Title: Re: Fees/Fees/Fees
Post by: LizzyBee on June 12, 2003, 03:31:30 pm
OK, bottom on the public lands are going to be run by private companies and resources located on the lands are going to be sold. This is how the money needed to keep the public lands open to the public is going to be raised. It will drastically alter the national park/forest system and not for the better.

The fees are a failed progam. Double taxation? Could be but what do I want? I want the public lands system to be fully funded and not under the control of private industrial interests.

Title: Re: Fees/Fees/Fees
Post by: jsaccenti on June 12, 2003, 03:41:13 pm
I would like to see a report or something on this and get some more info. Is there a link or phone number or address you can provide where I can find some information specific to what's going on in New Hampshire and what changes are being proposed?
Title: Re: Fees/Fees/Fees
Post by: ccclimber on June 13, 2003, 04:02:24 am
Tomcat your wrong when I say I didn't respect your opinion, what I said was i didn't understand it. There is no need for personal attacks here. I posted how I feel and your doing the same. I don't need a Geography lesson on what state/federal lands are, I've been visiting the Whites since '75. However in my opinion the main lot fee area used by climbers would be Rumney. You are correct when you say that the forest service doesn't know if the pass is purhased by a fisherman, climbers etc. But at Rumney where there is not much else to do but climb, I think it's fair to say that climbers are the people who vandalized and stole the feee tube and place information on vehicles and kiosk to not buy the pass. That's how I feel climbers relationships with the WMNF will be hurt. I've been involved with the AF in a few campaigns, so don't say I don't give a damn. I'm glad your able to go to meetings on the WMNF. I'm unable to do so. But I'll continue to purchase my pass because the $ STAYS LOCALLY. It's a way I feel I can support the WMNF. Doesn't go to Utah, Colorado,etc as AF dues do(not that that's a bad thing), it stays local.  Even if most of the $ collected has gone  for trails, visiting areas, toilets etc, It stays in the Whites. And that was my original point that the $20 parking pass supports the WMNF that has given me years of pleasure.
Title: Re: Fees/Fees/Fees
Post by: Doug R on June 13, 2003, 07:52:21 am
It seems to me that the $20 fee is a short term fix for a chronic budgetary problem in regard to how the federal government manages access and use of public lands. I think the point of the access fund, by disagreeing with the fee, is that management of these lands should be funded by our tax dollars and that this is an issue with that has long term implications. We can be self serving and agree to pay the $20 fee now but by my understanding of Lizzybee and Tomcat's posts it is a failed program and future user's of these lands will not have the same experience that we do now because of big business/corporate contracts will Disney-ize them.
If the $20 fee actually covered the cost of maintenance and preservation then I would not have a problem with it (nor would the AF I think). But according to what I've read so far it is only compounding the problem.
I have also been visiting WMNF since the mid '70's and I've enjoyed each and every visit to the area whether I'm climbing, backpacking or back country skiing. I want my kids to have the same experience that I have enjoyed without having to (eventually) shell out more $ only to be greeted by corporate rangers hawking their logo's and all that they stand for.
I hope the AF will work with other groups (AMC, Sierra Club, American Whitewater, etc...) in regards to this issue to come up with a solution, There are lots of other people and user's aside from climbers who will be affected.

Title: Re: Fees/Fees/Fees
Post by: bge on June 13, 2003, 11:02:34 am
Just FYI, here is the link to the AF's official position on the Fee Demo program:
Title: Re: Fees/Fees/Fees
Post by: Tomcat on June 14, 2003, 07:47:40 am
CC, Lizzy and others say it better, but here's my 2 cents. I think the 20.00, or as I like to look at it, the 3.00 per day is only the tip of the iceberg/phallus. The first step in the federal agenda is to condition the public to paying a seemingly nominal fee, like your 20.00 defrayed over a whole year. Not too many people complain,the gov't puts out a propaganda program,as they have, that implies, falsely, that everyone finds it acceptable, and Congress moves to lock it in. Next step, ratchet up the price, eventually declaring that it would be better for us all to privatise the operation, and it is available to the highest bidder, enter the mouse ears.My opinion is that is a sorry nation that thinks  access to National Forests should be a pay to use option, and that we need to say NO to the program and get Congress to understand that the preservation of free public lands is a national priority. The USFS budget is appx 3 billion a year, and just 10% goes to recreation, so it is just a matter of priorities . I figured someone would bring up Rumney, is there climbing there? Just kidding, someone stole the iron bandit, that makes my day! You mentioned your offense at the 50.00 fee in Jersey, I am guessing that would be at the Water Gap. As I recall that started out the same way, in the beginning you just had to "register", like you do now to climb in Acadia. First step, condition the public...that is the damage the 20.00 does, it goes along with the agenda.
Title: Re: Fees/Fees/Fees
Post by: Tomcat on June 14, 2003, 08:34:27 am
P.S you can get more info at
Title: Re: Fees/Fees/Fees
Post by: Doug R on June 15, 2003, 09:55:46 am
thanks for the heads up on the link. It was very informative!

:o :)