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Fees for South Colony Basin

Colorado 14ers access and fee issues only, please
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Re: Fees for South Colony Basin

Postby D8S » Thu May 20, 2010 4:10 pm

Great comments everyone.

May I add;

Falcon3 wrote:

As much as I hate paying fees for things, money has to come from somewhere.


As discussed previously, the money comes from congressional appropriations, which increased $15 million in 2009 and $7.5 million this year. And just because the funds are supposed to be used on site doesn't mean that the FS won't cut the appropriation side of the funding to leave South Colony funded exactly as before. Except that we're paying more.

Falcon 3 wrote:

I see fees for this as no different than any other fees you pay to use "public goods".


In one sense you're right, except that we already pay for public lands the same way we pay for our streets. Adding a fee is similar to charging a toll to use the street in front of your house. First, imagine how obnoxious it would be to have to stop and pay a toll every time you used your street, and second imagine how much extra infrastructure / fee collectors it would take to implement such a program. You're basically arguing against the fees and in favor of the efficiency of appropriated funding.

Falcon 3 wrote:

The solution is simple. You pay the fee, or you don't. If you disagree with the law, disobey it. This is America so to ahead and protest. If you get caught you pay the fine.


Unfortunately, the solution isn't that simple. For example, the law (FLREA) clearly and unambiguously states that the Forest Service cannot charge for scenic overlooks. So if you visit the Forest Service's designated overlook at the upper end of State Hwy 5 (the Mt. Evans road), and the Forest Service writes you a citation, should you be found guilty? In other words, if you're driving 50 in a 55 zone and an officer writes you a citation for doing 50 in a 35 zone, should you pay?

Jim Davies wrote:

Somewhere in the FS documents they say that climbing Humboldt via North Colony Lakes or the east ridge wouldn't require a fee, so the west side of the Crestones would also be free (for now).


James Scott wrote:

The fees keep refering to camping and hiking in South Colony. Does this mean the mountains will be free if we use the Willow Lake approach from the west? Not just refering to this specific set of mountians, but how many basins and how many approaches lead to summits of 14ers? Will the fees specifically be for using these basins and valleys, or for standing on top of the mountian? And if it is for standing on top of the mountain, what if someone stops a few feet short of the summit?


The Fee Proposal states: (emphasis added)

Designated Fee Area – The entire South Colony basin above the new trailhead on the San Isabel N.F and the Cottonwood Lake basin on the Rio Grande N.F., including the climbing routes to the summits of Crestone Peak, Crestone Needle and Humboldt Peak.


Broadly interpreted, as the Forest Service is likely to do, this means that simply being present on the summit of any of the 3 14ers would require a fee. It would make no difference which access you used, although you might very well get away with not buying a permit if you climb via one of the other routes and don't linger long on the summit.

It continues:

Anyone over the age of 18 must have a special recreation permit to be in the area


Again, entering the area, the area being defined by the Forest Service, and not which route you use, is the deciding factor in whether the FS expects you to have a permit. And remember, the FS is deciding the boundaries of the area. We can expect that if the Forest Service believes that too many people (in their opinion) are avoiding the fee, they can change the boundary to encompass more areas.

Jim Davies wrote:

And you're right, there's no way they could enforce these fees, so they will wind up being mostly voluntary.


It all depends on how much the FS wants to push the point. They've budgeted $20,000 for a ranger. I can easily see a ranger stationed full time in the basin, and who climbs one or more of the 14ers daily doing fee compliance, at which point what you're really paying for is fee enforcement.

covfrrider wrote:

You libtards sure like the word "must" when it comes to other peoples money, huh?


I find the argument works both ways. While I may ask that other people fund our public lands, I'm not complaining about putting their children through school, paving their street, etc. Society works when we join our resources together. In reality both sides seem to expect the other to pay for what they think is important, and many expect the other side to pay more for what they don't think is important.

Dave

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Re: Fees for South Colony Basin

Postby coloradokevin » Thu May 20, 2010 4:26 pm

Falcon3 wrote:...This budget problem makes it very difficult to provide any kind of services (maintainance of the road, trash collection, funds for SAR or other incidents). If you would like, I'm sure the USFS can just start logging the South Colony Lakes to make up for their budget programs...


So close the road, don't add trash facilities (pack it in, pack it out), and realize that SAR organizations aren't receiving the "access fee" money anyway.

Falcon3 wrote:I see fees for this as no different than any other fees you pay to use "public goods." Every time you drive your car, you pay gas taxes that help pay for road services. People that drive less pay less in gas taxes. This is no different. THe people that use South Colony Lakes more will pay more.


That's sort of a poor analogy, to be fair. Honestly, it would be more like having to go through a toll booth whenever you enter a public road (I doubt many people would be okay with that idea).

Sure, we pay an extra sales tax on gas. But, we also pay taxes that fund the USFS system. In Jefferson County, CO, we pay an extra sales tax to fund the Jefferson County Open Space system, but we don't also get charged again at the trailheads for these open space/mountain parks.

To be a bit more direct on this issue, the budget for the USFS for the 2011 fiscal year is stated at $5.38 Billion. They also make a point of saying that this reflects an increase of $23 Million over the 2010 fiscal year budget. Closer to home here, the local budget for the Pike and San Isabel National Forest is stated at $22.79 Million, annually.

The Forest Service itself states that:

"This budget reflects our Nation’s highest priorities, acts to save and create new jobs, and lays a new foundation of economic growth, especially in rural areas."

Sounds like more USFS "Empire Building" to me!


Falcon3 wrote:The solution is simple. You pay the fee, or you don't. If you disagree with the law, disobey it. This is America so to ahead and protest. If you get caught you pay the fine.


Except that, as you said, disobeying this law will result of fines and criminal charges. Instead of just sitting on my hands and watching the USFS go crazy with new fee sites, I'd prefer to be a bit more proactive and buck the system a little, instead of breaking the law once it is in place. This is still the United States, and we should still have a say in our laws!

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Re: Fees for South Colony Basin

Postby schrund » Thu May 20, 2010 5:33 pm

+1 Colorado Kevin, well said
We did not think of the great open plains, the beautiful rolling hills, and winding streams... as "wild". Only to the white man was nature a "wilderness".
-Luther Standing Bear, Oglala Chief

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Re: Fees for South Colony Basin

Postby CorduroyCalves » Thu May 20, 2010 7:30 pm

matting wrote:
CorduroyCalves wrote:I think wildwilderness.org's mission statement is very-well stated: "Wild Wilderness believes that America's public recreation lands are a national treasure that must be financially supported by the American people and held in public ownership as a legacy for future generations." To me, the solution is simple--increase the funding for our forests and then there'll be no reason to charge a fee.


Pretty vague: who supports($) the wilderness? ones using? ones not using? what needs to be done to support the wilderness? to what degree? what is over-spending? under-spending? who is in charge? who is not? for how long? who says the fees are to small? to large? should there be fees?(tax dollars do pay for the parks/wilderness) or no fees? a residence of the state to pay? or not? discount? who sets the "wilderness standard"? trust the government to do a good job with the wilderness? and with the peoples money?

It is kinda like the southern border... let the government manage it... ya right :lol: how is that working for us tax payers?

The government is like a baby’s alimentary canal: a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other.
-Ronald Reagan-


No more vague than your rambling list of questions. Here are a few direct ones:

Do you support a fee? Do you support privatization? Do you support allocating more funds to avoid both? Do you support doing nothing?
Life is too short to pay full retail for outdoor gear!

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Re: Fees for South Colony Basin

Postby schrund » Thu May 20, 2010 8:09 pm

I remember the first day Mount Evans started charging for the road. A bunch of buddies lined up their cars and every car paid in pennies. How many cars could we get for the South Colony penny donation? 5 cars would be 10,000 pennies?!
We did not think of the great open plains, the beautiful rolling hills, and winding streams... as "wild". Only to the white man was nature a "wilderness".
-Luther Standing Bear, Oglala Chief

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Re: Fees for South Colony Basin

Postby DeTour » Thu May 20, 2010 9:02 pm

coloradokevin wrote:If someone were to deny you oxygen right now, there'd be no sum of money you wouldn't be willing to pay to have it back; it still isn't right to deny you oxygen, even if it is "worth" something to you

Those who consider it their God-given duty to tell the rest of us how to live have piled taxes and fees on everything they can: our land, income, investments, everything we purchase, on and on .... I don't doubt for a moment they would tax the air we breath if they could figure out how to collect it. So be careful what you say about that, Kevin!
matting wrote:Lets be realistic... where is the money coming from to make and keep the "wilderness" wilderness?

Does anyone else find that comment to be as nonsensical as I do? Okay, I get that protecting wilderness from abuse by people probably requires some funds (the appropriate source of which has been debated at length here). But money to make wilderness? Pardon me for using the three-letter word in this forum, but I always thought God made the wilderness. And I don't think he levied any fees to pay for the project.

This whole discussion clearly demonstrates the validity of the "slippery slope" argument. The Denver Post article, Dan England's opinion piece, others' opinions: You must pay to climb Whitney, Rainier, etc.; that justifies paying to climb CO mountains. Fees only spread and grow in size; they never retract. Nobody has said the opposite: "because you don't have to pay to climb CO peaks, maybe the fees on the West Coast peaks will go away soon." The very thought is laughable.

Remember: the air you breathe. Enjoy it while it's free. Once they figure out how to tax it, the Big Spenders will realize that the thinner it gets, the more valuable it becomes, so the more they can charge for it.
when you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Re: Fees for South Colony Basin

Postby DeTour » Thu May 20, 2010 9:11 pm

CorduroyCalves wrote:No more vague than your rambling list of questions. Here are a few direct ones:

Do you support a fee?

No.

CorduroyCalves wrote:Do you support privatization?

No.

CorduroyCalves wrote:Do you support allocating more funds to avoid both?

Classic political spin. The question slips in a false premise: that more funds are required to "avoid both." It's along the lines of the old favorite, "Is it true you no longer beat your wife? Please answer yes or no." Changes in policy and priorities would "avoid both" without allocating more funds.

CorduroyCalves wrote:Do you support doing nothing?

As pertains to this topic, yes.

Any more questions?
when you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Re: Fees for South Colony Basin

Postby CorduroyCalves » Thu May 20, 2010 9:35 pm

DeTour wrote:
CorduroyCalves wrote:No more vague than your rambling list of questions. Here are a few direct ones:

Do you support a fee?

No.

CorduroyCalves wrote:Do you support privatization?

No.

CorduroyCalves wrote:Do you support allocating more funds to avoid both?

Classic political spin. The question slips in a false premise: that more funds are required to "avoid both." It's along the lines of the old favorite, "Is it true you no longer beat your wife? Please answer yes or no." Changes in policy and priorities would "avoid both" without allocating more funds.

CorduroyCalves wrote:Do you support doing nothing?

As pertains to this topic, yes.

Any more questions?


No. :D I was actually asking Matting, but I appreciate the answers nonetheless, especially since I doubt he will respond. Regarding the "Do you support allocating more funds to avoid both?" question, the spin wasn't intended, and I understand where you're coming from, but I don't know enough about their policies/priorities, so I don't think it's not that unreasonable of a question. Perhaps it's that easy, perhaps not. Gary Swain mentioned road building being a top priority (I've actually heard that mentioned elsewhere before), and maybe shifting that to adding amenities would work. I don't know for sure. I don't have a problem with the nominal fee per se, if most/all of it would be used toward the area in question, but it wouldn't likely end up that way. Either way, I'm not going to worry too much about it.
Life is too short to pay full retail for outdoor gear!

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Re: Fees for South Colony Basin

Postby coloradokevin » Thu May 20, 2010 9:42 pm

CorduroyCalves wrote:Do you support a fee? Do you support privatization? Do you support allocating more funds to avoid both? Do you support doing nothing?


I'll bite on this one, even though it wasn't really directed at me. Your questions cover a range of options, so I figured I may as well state my views clearly:

1) Do I support a fee?

No, but I'm sure you already gathered that from my other posts.

2) Do I support privatization?

No, I've seen how poorly that has played out with the USFS campgrounds that are being run by concessionaires. This land is publicly owned, and should be managed by our government.

Depending on what you meant by privatization, I also don't support the idea of selling off all of the land to private ownership. People who support that ideal seem to fantasize about owning large tracts of wilderness. Reality would suggest that rich folks like Ted Turner would acquire a few million more acres under a sell-off, and the rest of us would be without the wilderness we've come to love!

3) Do I support allocating more funds to the USFS?

Yes, I do, generally speaking. With the amount of government waste that takes place in this country, I'm sure it wouldn't take much strain at all to even double the budget of the USFS, with just a little effort. I'd gladly kill a few social welfare programs to find that money. Heck, if the "Cash for Clunkers" program hadn't existed, the USFS could have (in theory) had an additional $3 Billion to add to their existing $5+ Billion budget! From my perspective, our wild areas are one of this country's greatest assets, and I'd much rather see tax dollars going to preserving these areas, as opposed to some current government-sponsored programs.

With all of that said, I'd still like to know that any additional funds that were allocated to the forest service were being used appropriately (I honestly don't think we need million-dollar pit-toilets at trailheads... however, we do need responsible management of our wild areas).

4) Do I support doing nothing?

Perhaps. If the budget of the USFS can't be increased, and if the USFS won't find ways to live within their current budget elsewhere, then I guess you could say that I would advocate 'doing nothing'. In reality, I think I've really been an advocate of a common sense approach to this whole issue from the outset. In other words, we can surely still do something beneficial for the forests without charging fees to use them!

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Re: Fees for South Colony Basin

Postby CorduroyCalves » Thu May 20, 2010 10:15 pm

Well-said on all of them, Kevin, and my feelings are essentially in synch with yours.
Life is too short to pay full retail for outdoor gear!

"God has cared for these trees, saved them from draught, disease, avalanches, and a thousand straining, leveling tempasts and floods; but he cannot save them from fools; only Uncle Sam can do that."--John Muir

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Re: Fees for South Colony Basin

Postby bonehead » Fri May 21, 2010 8:32 am

D8S wrote: what you're really paying for is fee enforcement.


Absolutely brilliant!
Boy have you stumbled right on to the bottom line there.
Government takes our money.
Government becomes more powerfull with that money,
and with that power they can then take even more of our money.
Repeat cycle ad nauseam!

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Re: Fees for South Colony Basin

Postby covfrrider » Fri May 21, 2010 9:28 am

bonehead wrote:
D8S wrote: what you're really paying for is fee enforcement.


Absolutely brilliant!
Boy have you stumbled right on to the bottom line there.
Government takes our money.
Government becomes more powerfull with that money,
and with that power they can then take even more of our money.
Repeat cycle ad nauseam!


Hasn't this already happened time and time again in world history? Name the last time it ended well for the "people"?

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