14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Colorado 14ers access and fee issues only, please

Are you okay with paying a user fee to access Colorado 14'ers?

Yes, for all 14'ers.
24
8%
Maybe, for certain areas.
40
14%
Maybe, but only if the fees were small.
33
12%
No, fees should generally not be charged to access these areas.
187
66%
 
Total votes: 284
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Jim Davies
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Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby Jim Davies » Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:48 pm

Catherine Keske.
Here's a summary of her previous 14er economic study:
http://www.agsci.colostate.edu/news/e-connection_summer10/14ner.html
Last edited by Jim Davies on Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby djkest » Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:48 pm

nfire wrote:
coloradokevin wrote:
Turning it into a Liberal vs Conservative debate was NOT my intention, and is NOT the issue that I'd like this thread to focus on (we all know this forum is sharply divided on their voting preferences).

But, PLEASE lets keep a decent dialogue going about the fee situation itself. It is important, and it is an issue that many of us are concerned about, at least judging by the poll response in this thread.

=D>

i'd be in favor of a $10 fee just because i bet it would keep the crowds down a good bit. would be worth the small upgrade.


Yep. I would gladly pay $10, which might not be enough. Unfortnately enforcement would cost enough that I'm not sure you could and still break even. It would be nice ot know that the money you pay would go to improvements and maintenance and not just go into the general fund though.
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Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby Hungry Jack » Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:51 pm

LtWitte wrote:
Hungry Jack wrote:We should be able to discuss this issue (14er fees) without getting into the sweeping generalizations of how each party might approach this issue. On the list of things that dominate our two-party discourse (I am being generous in describing what occurs in the media) on national issues, public recreation fees fall far, far down the list (even in the taxation debate, recreational user fees would amount to a fraction of a percentage of an infinitesimal amount of a drop in the bucket of what our government takes and spends).

As we have seen here, one's position on paying user fees to offset the cost of caring for public lands does not all along party lines, at least in this small sample. Nor is this notion a "big idea" in the policy spectrum. The big ideas in public recreation were brought forth by Aldo Leopold, Teddy Roosevelt, et al a long time ago. At best, it is an incremental policy that is more operational than fundamental.

So let us forget trying to analyze this issue through the over hyped, over simplified lens of our two-party system, which only serves to make us all dumber by casting false dichotomies on every stupid little issue that might emerge. I would bet that for most of us, our love of the outdoors weighs far more than our allegiance to any party. Let's leave the political baggage at home for a change.


Jack, I wish we could live in a country where everyone got along nicely and politics was just something people had fun with. However, in the current situation we live, politics affects your life. A lot of things are going to change in this country over the next 10 years and quite frankly, we need to make the right changes or we are going to have some major problems. The money my family takes in is important and to have to pay to do what I love in Colorado, is what I see as an unnecessary evil when there are other ways to address the issue. However, as I already stated, if policy is going to be changed or kept the same, it is going to come from Congress which is elected by us, through a very harsh political process.


Agreed that political decisions and election outcomes will have a very big influence on our lives given the juncture our nation faces: taxation/deficits, defense, healthcare, education, social security, environmental protection are all major policy items that leave a lot at stake.

But in the grand scheme of things, whether or not you pay a use fee for a 14er is meaningless. We already have user fees in many areas, so it's nothing new from a policy perspective. Nobody is going to win a federal election by virtue of their stance on this issue. I doubt it would carry that much weight in a state election either.

So let's dispense with the drama and hyperbole. It's not guns or butter. The Germans didn't just bomb Pearl Harbor. Sputnik is not up there spying on us. It has little to do with our national trajectory.
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Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby CHWitte » Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:59 pm

Hungry Jack wrote:So let's dispense with the drama and hyperbole. It's not guns or butter. The Germans didn't just bomb Pearl Harbor. Sputnik is not up there spying on us. It has little to do with our national trajectory.


Alright, I'll give you that one...except for the "Germans bombing Pearl Harbor." I know what you meant. :D

You are right that this will not change the election or make it to a national stage, but it is a little taste of the taxation debate that we are currently having on a larger scale that will affect this nation. I'm not one to lay down my guns on any taxation debate, especially when it involves increasing taxes. (oh, and the guns reference is a metaphor.) I know we got people from California, Illinois and Massachusetts on this forum so I have to be careful.
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Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby MrFrumpylane » Mon Aug 20, 2012 1:04 pm

SilverLynx wrote:
MrFrumpylane wrote:Typical.. I blame this whole mess on the CSU professor for conducting this research. (Just trying to gear up for football season, people!)

Go Buffs! 8)

And oh, for the record, I'm against the fees.

Any idea which CSU professor is doing this research? I may have taken a class with him/her.


EDIT: Someone beat me to it.
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Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby Hungry Jack » Mon Aug 20, 2012 1:12 pm

LtWitte wrote:
Hungry Jack wrote:So let's dispense with the drama and hyperbole. It's not guns or butter. The Germans didn't just bomb Pearl Harbor. Sputnik is not up there spying on us. It has little to do with our national trajectory.


Alright, I'll give you that one...except for the "Germans bombing Pearl Harbor." I know what you meant. :D

You are right that this will not change the election or make it to a national stage, but it is a little taste of the taxation debate that we are currently having on a larger scale that will affect this nation. I'm not one to lay down my guns on any taxation debate, especially when it involves increasing taxes. (oh, and the guns reference is a metaphor.) I know we got people from California, Illinois and Massachusetts on this forum so I have to be careful.


Well, I don't fit the political stereotype of one who lives in Chicago. I feel taxed to death in a country, county, state and city that cannot manage its fiscal affairs. It's a disaster on all levels. But I'll stop there.

But my point is that the love of the outdoors probably has the potential to sway individuals on this issue away from positions that might be attributed to their party of choice. But I guess as someone whose views are probably pretty pronounced Libertarian views, "pay for what you use" might fit. But as you argue, I may be paying twice, which is something I would be willing to do. 14ers are that important, even to a flatlander.
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Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby mikemalick » Mon Aug 20, 2012 1:22 pm

I cannot remember for sure, but I believe it was at the Mt Massive TH a couple years back where I saw a voluntary "contribution" box/post. I was happy to throw some money in there and it was my choice to do so, to park at that location, etc. I don't recall seeing that type of arrangement at other THs. Anyone know if this was tried on a larger scale in the past, but failed due to maintenance issues, incompetence, theft, etc? I just hope the money that goes into those is used for work in that area rather than being wasted in a general fund somewhere. I have nothing to back it up, but I think most folks would be much more amenable to a voluntary contribution arrangement like that...especially if those funds were explicitly destined for projects right there.
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Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby PeteDunnewald » Mon Aug 20, 2012 1:26 pm

Hungry Jack wrote:I may be paying twice, which is something I would be willing to do. 14ers are that important, even to a flatlander.

Aww, come on! How about groceries? Are you willing to pay twice for them? They're pretty important.
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Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby Hungry Jack » Mon Aug 20, 2012 1:33 pm

4Lo wrote:
Hungry Jack wrote:I may be paying twice, which is something I would be willing to do. 14ers are that important, even to a flatlander.

Aww, come on! How about groceries? Are you willing to pay twice for them? They're pretty important.
We pay enough in taxes and fees.
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That's a weak rebuttal. Groceries are available everywhere with all kinds of options. There is nothing special or unique about groceries, and they are consumer goods meant to be gobbled up and pooped out (sometimes on top of a 14er).

And since I am not around to volunteer and do trail work in CO (I have built a lot of trail in the Missouri Ozarks), paying a 14er fee would be a simple way to compensate for my use. But then again, I could just mail a check to CFI, which is probably something I need to do.
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Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby CHWitte » Mon Aug 20, 2012 1:38 pm

Hungry Jack wrote:That's a weak rebuttal. Groceries are available everywhere with all kinds of options. There is nothing special or unique about groceries, and they are consumer goods meant to be gobbled up and pooped out (sometimes on top of a 14er).

And since I am not around to volunteer and do trail work in CO (I have built a lot of trail in the Missouri Ozarks), paying a 14er fee would be a simple way to compensate for my use. But then again, I could just mail a check to CFI, which is probably something I need to do.


But why pay twice if you don't have too?? Why would you let the government charge you twice for something and get away with it? Surely as a Libertarian as you say, the government is not what you desire to be messing in your everyday life, especially one of your favorite hobbies, is it? Why not vote people into Congress who will use part of the $2.9 trillion to apportion more money to the NFS?
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Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby nfire » Mon Aug 20, 2012 1:44 pm

LtWitte wrote:
But why pay twice if you don't have too??

to
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Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby coloradokevin » Mon Aug 20, 2012 1:47 pm

Watching the last few posts develop has given me another thought. A few things have been suggested here in the past couple of hours:

1) The amount of money that the forest service already receives, and the extra amount they'd need to receive to cover additional costs on trails, would be a tiny drop in a HUGE bucket. $5 Billion is the entire budget for the USFS, whereas our government currently brings in approximately $2.3 Trillion in annual tax revenue. As such, if my math is correct on this, the ENTIRE budget for the USFS is approximately 0.2% of our nation's budget.

2) It is unlikely that a politician is going to make or break their career on this issue alone.

3) Whether we collect fees or not, we're talking about a tiny amount of money in the grand scheme of things (nationally), but we're talking about an issue that also irritates a lot of Americans who hike on a regular basis. The representatives and senators that we have elected in this state may be willing to listen to our gripe on this issue, simply because they can gain our support with little political cost (in other words, they don't have to make someone else mad to make us happy -- they only stand to gain votes by taking a firm stance in favor of a no-fee position).


With these facts in mind, I actually think we're in a good position to convince our politicians to NOT support a fee system. First of all, they probably won't lose any elections by standing up for an issue like this one. More importantly, they'll get a chance to gain a few political points by showing how much they are standing up for the rights of hard-working Americans, and supporting our ability to enjoy our national forests. In short, a simple issue like this one can span political parties, and we can potentially gain the support of our elected officials simply by letting them know that this is an important issue to a lot of us that live near national forests.

If Senators Udall or Bennet (or any candidates who might be running against them) were called to task on this issue, they could easily support our position without worrying about losing votes in other areas. As such, they'd gain votes for free. In other words, we don't have a strong group of voters who are angrily supporting fees, just a group that angrily opposes fees. This is a rare "gimme" in politics.

If a politician takes a stance on abortion (any stance), they naturally anger the other side of the issue. If they take a stance on guns (any stance), they'll make one group happy while making the other group angry. Because of this trend many politicians are forced to carefully weigh their support for any group, for fear of losing too many votes on the other side of the line. But, that's not what we have here. What we have is a group of hikers/climbers who are opposing usage fees, and on the other side of the line are a whole bunch of Americans who were unaware of the issue, and just don't care to begin with.

But, I can tell you that my support for a politician is easy to get on this issue (as I mentioned, it's free), but it is also easy to lose (because this is important to me). I do believe that those of us who feel strongly on this issue would be well served by communicating this information to our current elected officials, as well as candidates who may be seeking office this fall. After all, many elections are won by narrow margins, and grabbing the low hanging fruit for a few votes is sometimes enough to push a candidate over the edge.

Anyway, my dog just told me that it's time to take her for her daily hike... I'll come back to this issue later!
Last edited by coloradokevin on Fri Aug 24, 2012 9:19 am, edited 2 times in total.

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