Thanks all for the great comments. Please accept my apologies for being so absent.
As those who have taken the time to read the actual decision understand, the court ignored the plaintiffs' "as-applied" challenge, and alleged that the plaintiffs challenged the Forest Service's implementation of the fee program on its face, alleging that the plaintiffs asserted that every person who has ever been charged the fee, or will ever be charged the fee, is being charged improperly. Reading the arguments makes it clear that the plaintiffs made no such assertions, but simply altruistically included "those similarly situated" in their prayer for court relief. This is what created the problem.
It's not the clearest thing in the world. What they need is to have every member of staff sit down together and have a short presentation and discussion on the topic. In fact, I'm sure they do, its just that nobody remembers the same thing.
The simple way to administer the fee in compliance with the law is to charge a fee only for those who stop at the Nature Center. But let's not forget, the Forest Service stated in 2005 "don't advertise this (the ability to visit without paying if you don't use the amenities) capability." It's not a question of communicating with its employees, its a question of the Forest Service choosing to comply with the law.
Inviting members of the Western Slope No-Fee Coalition to sit down with the entrance station attendants would also clarify the issue, but the Forest Service wouldn't like it much. The Custer County Commissioners asked the Forest Service to do just that concerning the So Colony Fee proposal. The Western Slope No-Fee Coalition accepted, and the Forest Service declined.
by hberry » Thu Aug 18, 2011 3:14 pm
I love your comment, though I'm not sure I understand it. The issue that has been beaten to death is that the Forest Service really [i][b]is[b][i] violating the law. That's a given, proven beyond any doubt. That has been proven time and time again. Its only the court that doesn't allow this issue to die, in this case by narrowly focusing on a single statement and ignoring the rest of the evidence.