Roadrunners

Tell the U.S. Forest Service to drop the fee plan for Wilderness in the Central Cascades!

Tell the U.S. Forest Service to ‘take a hike’ and drop the fee plan for Wilderness in the Central Cascades!

The U.S. Forest Service (FS) is proposing to charge people for simply walking in the Mount Jefferson, Mount Washington and Three Sisters Wilderness areas in the Oregon Cascades. Specifically, the FS wants to require fees for all overnight access to these Wildernesses – plus for day use at 19 trailheads – claiming hiking is a “specialized recreation use.”

The proposed fees violate the intent and purpose of the Wilderness Act, including protecting Wilderness from commercialization and commodification. It is simply unjust to charge people to visit Wilderness areas, which belong to all Americans. They are our irreplaceable birthright as citizens, open to all, not just those wealthy enough to pay fees.

The proposed fees are illegal under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act, which prohibits charging fees for parking at, hiking through, horseback riding in, or camping in undeveloped federal sites such as Wildernesses. Despite Forest Service claims, traveling on foot or horseback through a Wilderness is not a “specialized recreation use,” which applies to group activities, recreation events, and motorized recreational vehicle use.

The fees are tied to the Forest Service’s limited-access permit system starting next summer for the Mount Jefferson, Mont Washington, and Three Sisters Wildernesses to prevent overcrowding and resource damage. While Wilderness Watch supports quotas to protect Wilderness areas from being over-run by people, we are adamantly opposed to the federal government charging hikers a fee simply to take a walk in the Wilderness. The fees are another part of the effort to commercialize Wilderness, and would exclude the public from accessing and enjoying their public lands.

This fee proposal is unprecedented, with the Willamette and Deschutes National Forests implementing fees across 450,000-plus acres in three Wildernesses for all overnight users plus day use at 19 trailheads. This fee system would set a horrible national precedent for other Wilderness areas around the country.

Please submit your comments to the U.S. Forest Service by November 25th.

Subject: Recreation Fees
Message:
Dear U.S. Forest Service:

I’m adamantly opposed to your proposal to charge people for simply taking a walk in the in the Mount Jefferson, Mount Washington and Three Sisters Wilderness areas in the Oregon Cascades.

Your proposed fee violates the intent and purpose of the Wilderness Act, including protecting Wildernesses from commercialization and commodification. Wilderness areas belong to all of the American people. They are an irreplaceable birthright to all our citizens, open to all the public and not just those wealthy enough to pay additional fees. All citizens across the nation already own the Wildernesses in the National Wilderness Preservation System and we have paid for them with our taxes. It is simply unjust to charge people to visit the Wilderness they already own.

These fees would also be illegal under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act and would exclude the public from accessing and enjoying their public lands.

The Mount Jefferson, Mount Washington and Three Sisters Wilderness Areas already plan to require limited-access permits starting next year to prevent overcrowding and resource damage. While I support quotas to protect Wilderness areas from being over-run by people, I’m adamantly opposed to the federal government charging hikers a fee simply to take a walk in the Wilderness.

This fee proposal is unprecedented as the Willamette and Deschutes National Forests would be the first national forest in the U.S. to implement a fee system across three Wilderness areas that will charge for all overnight use plus day use at 19 trailheads across 450,000-plus acres of Wilderness.

The USFS is incorrectly claiming authority for charging such fees under a clause in the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) that allows a fee for “specialized recreation uses” such as group activities, recreation events, and motorized recreational vehicles. Congress never meant that to apply to private individuals who are hiking, walking, horseback riding and camping in a completely undeveloped part of a national forest.

Such fees would set a horrible national precedent for other Wilderness areas around the country and I urge you to abandon your fee scheme for the Mount Jefferson, Mount Washington and Three Sisters Wilderness areas.

Thank you.
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It’s simply unjust to charge people to visit Wilderness areas, which belong to all Americans. They are our irreplaceable birthright as citizens, open to all, not just those wealthy enough to pay fees.

https://wildernesswatch.salsalabs.org/cascadewildernessfees/index.html?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=9c71e708-9e5f-445b-a06e-f7371f2c4e74

Pelosi ceremoniously signs bill to make animal cruelty a federal crime with unanimous support from Congress

washingtonexaminer.com

by Ellie Bufkin | November 16, 2019 11:22 AM

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi ceremoniously signed the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act that will make many versions of animal cruelty a federal crime.

The bill, introduced and co-sponsored by Florida Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch, passed unanimously in the House in October and the Senate last week. The bill now only needs the signature of President Trump to become law.

“Today, I was honored to sign @RepTedDeutch’s #PACTAct to make animal cruelty a federal offense,” Pelosi tweeted Friday along with photos from the signing. “Our furry friends, Milo and Prudence, were on hand to help me enroll this bipartisan legislation that will now go to the President’s desk!”

The PACT Act specifically targets crimes against animals considered “crushing,” which is described in the legislation as protecting animals from being “purposely crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled, or otherwise subjected to serious bodily injury.” The bill follows a 2010 law that prevented such activities from being published on video.

GOP Sen. Pat Toomey, a co-sponsor of the bill, lauded its impact after its unanimous passage in the upper chamber on Nov. 6.

“Passing this legislation is a major victory in the effort to stop animal cruelty and make our communities safer,” he said. “Evidence shows that the deranged individuals who harm animals often move on to committing acts of violence against people. It is appropriate that the federal government have strong animal cruelty laws and penalties.”

Animal crushing videos typically include women in stilettos or other spiked shoes crushing small animals to death. The videos were initially banned in the United States in 1999, but that decision was overturned by the Supreme Court citing concerns about free speech. The 2010 law addressed the concerns espoused by the court and passed with bipartisan support.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/pelosi-ceremoniously-signs-bill-to-make-animal-cruelty-a-federal-crime-with-unanimous-support-from-congress?_amp=true&__twitter_impression=true