Representative Simpson Queries the Forest Service Chief on Cost Recovery for Permits in Idaho
During yesterday’s Congressional hearing on the Forest Service budget in the Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, Representative Mike Simpson (R-ID) questioned the Chief about the agency’s cost recovery bills for permit renewal. Outfitters on the Upper Main Salmon River are being billed up to $2,500 for the cost of processing permits that are being renewed with no changes to them. The agency is billing the outfitters because the time spent consulting with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on salmon recovery and other time spent on the permits is expected to exceed 50 hours. Outfitters on the Middle Fork have also been advised that the agency intends to apply cost recovery to their permit renewal.
According to Representative Simpson staff, Chief Tidwell committed in the hearing yesterday to look into ways to assist outfitters with the monetary burden that the cost recovery policy is currently placing on them.
AOA Executive Director David Brown met with the Chief, Deputy Chief and Recreation staff earlier in the month to ask that the agency give a higher priority to the recreation and special uses program. He also asked that the agency’s new planning regulations include restoration of recreation infrastructure such as trails, as a high priority.
Travel Promotion Act Headed to President’s Desk
Legislation to establish a board to oversee a fund to promote inbound international tourism passed in the House of Representative this week. The President is expected to sign the bill into law. The Travel Promotion Act, a priority of Senate Majority Leader Reid, establishes a non-profit corporation to oversee a fund with revenues generated from the Visa Travel Waiver program. The Act also provides the board with the authority to levy assessments on the travel industry. The bill seeks to raise up to $100 million from the travel industry (some through in-kind contributions) and an equal amount from the visa-waiver program.