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Old 01-19-2008   #1
Tom Martin's Avatar
Flagstaff, Arizona
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RRFW Posts Easy Comment Form for Proposed USFS Rules

RRFW Posts Easy Comment Form for Proposed USFS Rules
January 19, 2008

The United States Forest Service (USFS) is taking public comment on proposed new rule changes which heavily favor outfitter/guided access to public lands. The comment deadline is February 19, 2008.

The massive countrywide rulemaking changes will jeopardize do-it-yourself access to all types of recreation on Forest Service lands. This includes do-it-yourself (guide-free) hunters, fishermen, off-road enthusiasts, hikers, backpackers, canoeists, jet-boaters, paddlers, mountain-bikers, photographers, and river runners.

Your comments are needed to protest the proposed changes. Now is the time to stand up and protect your right to use these lands equally with outfitters and their clients.

RRFW has made it easy for you to weigh in with your comments. Please visit our website at http://www.rrfw.org/ForestRec.php, copy and paste bullet points into the left side from the suggestions on the right, editing the content to personalize your views on the proposed changes. We will submit your comments to the agency for you.

The proposed changes and points you may wish to make are described below as well as on our website at: http://www.rrfw.org/ForestRec.php, but please be sure to personalize your comments, as public lands agencies tend to discount obvious form letters.


While defining the total limit on recreational use is necessary in heavy-demand areas to protect the resource from too much visitation. Land managers limit access to all recreational users through set-aside blocks of "allocations" which often over-allocate access for outfitter's clients. The proposal allows new commercial services to decide the allocation they need. Over-allocating access to outfitters and guides bars use to the do-it-yourself public. River runners are all-too-familiar with the problems of being locked out of areas for lack of available permits when trips are open to customers of outfitters and guides.

Only in a very few locations, after a huge effort on the part of do-it-yourself recreationists' against the resistance of outfitter and guide groups, have allocation-free permit systems been implemented. These permit systems, called Common Pool or Freedom of Choice permit systems, do not set aside any access allocations. Outfitters/guide clients and the do-it-yourself public compete equally for permits.

What's Proposed by the USFS:

* Outfitters, guides and non-profit groups would be awarded an allocation of public use for up to ten-year periods.

* Outfitters and guides would be able to pay a small fee for sole and exclusive access to prime camping, hunting, fishing and picnic areas, including boat launch ramps.

*The rule change would give preferred access to the outfitters at the expense of the do-it-yourself public on all Forest Service-managed lands.

* This rulemaking would force allocating access in management areas where access is presently allocation-free.

* The new proposed rules do not protect wilderness areas from commercialization.

So comment! Check out the link at http://www.rrfw.org/ForestRec.php and start writting!

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