Fee demos unfair, unwanted | SummitDaily.com

Fee demos unfair, unwanted

The Recreation Fee Demonstration program has been an unfair and unwanted burden to many citizens since its implementation in 1996. We have been bullied and threatened, lied to, inconvenienced, angered and confused. Additionally, millions of our dollars have been wasted.

It is important to remember that this is not something as innocent as a failed program with the good intentions of relieving perceived budget shortfalls of natural resources agencies. This is nothing short of an attempt to effectively privatize public lands. The unpublicized agreements being drafted between various governmental agencies and huge corporate interests, even before the implementation of fee demos, are proof of the real intentions of the original proponents of fee demos.

I refer to documents such as the Challenge Cost-Share Agreement between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the American Recreation Coalition, which represent the collective interests of companies such as Chevron, Exxon, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Yamaha, Walt Disney Co. and more than 100 more. (For a complete list, go to http://www.wildwilderness.org.)

Claims that fee demo is about nicer toilets at trailheads, etc., is a sad lie. This is no less than an underhanded and greedy attempt to cheat the American people out of their heritage for the profit of a few.

One of the excuses for fee demo has been that there isn’t enough money to support public land. I would offer this simple insight: As long as Congress continues to spend our hard-earned tax dollars like a drunken recruit on his first leave from boot camp, there can never be enough money.

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