Hello all - well, Escapees has entered the fray - here is a lengthy item rec'd today. Interesting that this concerns "concessionaire properties" ... a factoid I missed in other readings on this subject. Regards, L 'n D
Escapees E-News Release
U.S. Forest Service Announces Proposed Changes to Senior and Disabled Camping Discounts
A news release from the Western Slope No-Fee Coalition was forwarded to us at headquarters by a fellow Escapee. That news release, which publicizes the U.S. Forest Service’s plans to reduce or eliminate some current discount programs, is excerpted below. Needless to say, any change in the senior and disabled park pass programs has the potential to affect a large number of RVers and outdoor enthusiasts.
<Begin excerpted news release>
December 2, 2009
For immediate release
Contact: Kitty Benzar 970-259-4616 wsnofee[at]gmail.com
Forest Service to Eliminate Senior and Disabled Camping Discounts
DURANGO, CO - The U.S. Forest Service has announced it plans to eliminate the 50% discount at National Forest campgrounds that has traditionally been available to holders of lifetime Senior and Access (permanent disability) passes. The change will apply at campgrounds operated by private concessioners, which represent 50% of National Forest camping capacity and 82% of reservable campsites.
Under current policy, concessioners are required to honor Senior and Access passes for campground fees under the same terms as if the Forest Service operated the facility directly, meaning that a 50% discount must be offered. Most highly developed campgrounds are now concessioner-run.
In a notice in the December 1st Federal Register, the agency outlined a new policy that would replace the half-price rule that has been in place since the mid-'60s with a 10% discount. The policy would also require Senior and Access pass holders to pay a fee at National Forest day-use sites that are currently covered in full by their passes.
Day-use sites managed by concessioners will also be affected. Under the new policy, holders of the annual America the Beautiful Pass would be entitled to free entry, but Senior and Access lifetime pass holders would get only a 10% discount. This changes current policy, which calls for all three passes to be honored equally at day-use fee sites.
Seniors 62 and older pay a one-time $10 fee for their lifetime pass. Lifetime passes for the permanently disabled are free. Together, Senior and Access passes represent more than 78% of all pass sales.
<End excerpted news release>
We strongly suggest that you take a moment to tell the U.S. Forest Service what you think by clicking on the comment link below, or by sending your comments via postal mail. You may also wish to contact your state and Federal representatives as well.
Comments must be received in writing by February 1, 2010.
You can send comments electronically by following the instructions at the Federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov
, or utilize this link: http://www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/hom...900006480a60f36
Comments also may be submitted by mail:
U.S. Forest Service, Attn: Carolyn Holbrook
Recreation and Heritage Resources Staff
1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Stop 1125
Washington, DC 20250-1125
Comments sent by postal mail should reference the notice by the following title
Proposed Directives for Forest Service Concession Campground Special Use Permits (Document ID FS-2009-0001-0001)