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Mt. Evans Road Fiasco GETS WORSE?

Colorado 14ers access and fee issues only, please
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Re: Mt. Evans Road Fiasco GETS WORSE?

Postby JasonF » Wed Apr 29, 2009 5:47 am

Looks like the case has been dismissed http://www.mountevans.com/
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Re: Mt. Evans Road Fiasco GETS WORSE?

Postby Kojones » Wed Apr 29, 2009 6:40 am

JasonF wrote:Looks like the case has been dismissed http://www.mountevans.com/

I have put this topic to bed over the winter... so forgive me for not remembering exactly. Does this mean the courts suggested that ALL cars should be charged upon entering? Or does it mean if we don't use anything but the road, we don't have to pay? I have a hard time understanding what some courts "mean" by what they do. For example, they could still think "it's not right what they are doing," but also think "it's not illegal what they are doing."

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Re: Mt. Evans Road Fiasco GETS WORSE?

Postby cbauer10 » Wed Apr 29, 2009 6:46 am

It mean that you do not have to pay if you are traveling non-stop on the road as the new sign states. Other than that, you have to pay.

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Re: Mt. Evans Road Fiasco GETS WORSE?

Postby D8S » Wed Apr 29, 2009 8:04 am

JasonF wrote

Looks like the case has been dismissed http://www.mountevans.com/


In a nutshell, the MountEvans.com site is over a month out of date and incorrect. The FS has put an incredible amount of effort into keeping the case out of the court on purely jursdictional grounds, and almost succeeded, which may be where the post comes from. But after nearly 70 briefs and numerous Forest Service extensions, the case is still ongoing.

Kojones wrote

I have a hard time understanding what some courts "mean" by what they do


Sadly, this would be no exception. So far the court has only ruled on jurisdictional issues, not on the legality of the Forest Service's implementation of the fee program, which is what this case is really about. The Forest Service is spending an incredible amount of time and energy distracting the court from hearing the case on its merits, including the claim of sovereign immunity, alleging the public does not have the right to sue them.

Calling your senators and asking them to support the Fee Repeal and Expanded Access Act (sponsored by Senator Max Baucus of Montana) can go a long way towards making the case moot. Wouldn't that be nice!


Colorado's Senators are:

Michael F. Bennet, - (D - CO)
702 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-5852

Mark Udall, - (D - CO)
317 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-5941
Web Form: www.markudall.senate.gov/contact/contact.cfm

You can find your senators at http://www.senate.gov

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Re: Mt. Evans Road Fiasco GETS WORSE?

Postby D8S » Fri May 15, 2009 3:56 pm

Interesting article on Mt Evans.

http://www.newwest.net/topic/article/vi ... n/C41/L41/

I thought it was State Hwy 5, though he calls it Hwy 3. Maybe as time goes by, Mt. Evans is getting closer to being highway #1!

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Re: Mt. Evans Road Fiasco GETS WORSE?

Postby FCSquid » Sun May 30, 2010 9:30 am

D8S wrote:Interesting article on Mt Evans.

http://www.newwest.net/topic/article/vi ... n/C41/L41/

I thought it was State Hwy 5, though he calls it Hwy 3. Maybe as time goes by, Mt. Evans is getting closer to being highway #1!

Dave


They sure are approaching #1 status:

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Re: Mt. Evans Road Fiasco GETS WORSE?

Postby covfrrider » Wed Jun 02, 2010 1:56 pm

Where's CC on this?!?! He's outraged at the $100 fee the owner's of private property charge, on which Culebra sits, yet remains conspicuously silent on being charged to drive up a taxpayer funded road... :-k

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Re: Mt. Evans Road Fiasco GETS WORSE?

Postby CVV15er » Wed Jun 02, 2010 2:49 pm

g wrote:Nice article in Westword


Very cool article. Thanks for sharing. But does anyone know if this means you don't have to pay the $3 charge for cycling up to the top?
Last edited by CVV15er on Wed Jun 02, 2010 3:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Mt. Evans Road Fiasco GETS WORSE?

Postby Greenhouseguy » Wed Jun 02, 2010 2:58 pm

Has anybody considered a VOLUNTARY 14er fee? They could put deposit boxes at trailheads, like they use at campgrounds that don't have any staff to collect the money. If it makes you feel good to donate money to the government, go right ahead. If you don't like the thought of dumping your money into a big black hole, no need to feel obliged. A voluntary fee hurts nobody.
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Re: Mt. Evans Road Fiasco GETS WORSE?

Postby CO Native » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:06 pm

There are some collection boxes posted at some 14er trailheads with signs requesting donations to support trail maintenance, however the underwhelming response has prevented their widespread use.
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Re: Mt. Evans Road Fiasco GETS WORSE?

Postby D8S » Wed Jun 02, 2010 11:32 pm

CVV15er wrote:

But does anyone know if this means you don't have to pay the $3 charge for cycling up to the top?


The easy answer is no, you don't have to pay to bicycle to the top. Even the Forest Service admits that if you don't stop you don't have to pay.

But if you might decide to stop, look at the cost / risk analysis. If you stop (at a developed site: undeveloped areas are free if you're near your bike) and don't have a pass, the Forest Service might (only if they catch you, which doesn't seem likely) hand you a notice of non-compliance telling you to pay $3, the exact same amount you would have paid in the first place. And even if you do get a notice, they Forest Service proudly claims no one has ever been prosecuted for failing to pay.

That said, if you stop at the Nature Center (milepost 3) you should pay. It (almost) meets the legal requirements for charging the fee.

Check out the following post for more details.

Dave

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Re: Mt. Evans Road Fiasco GETS WORSE?

Postby D8S » Wed Jun 02, 2010 11:33 pm

In 1997 the US Forest Service began collecting entrance fees on Mt Evans under the Recreational Fee Demonstration Program (RFDP) After substantial public outcry, Congress replaced the RFDP with the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA, or REA) on December 8th, 2004.

The FLREA is considerably more restrictive than the RFDP, and prohibits entrance fees, fees solely for parking, fees for general access, and very importantly on Mt. Evans, prohibits fees for overlooks.

Five days after the law was passed, the Forest Service recognized that it could no longer charge for scenic overlooks, sending out a memo on December 13th, 2004 that stated "Do not charge: at overlooks and scenic pullouts"

http://www.westernslopenofee.org/pdfuploads/E00120_WO_Memo_2004_12_13_Annotated.pdf

As a result of the new law, the Forest Service convened a board to review the fee collection authority for Mt. Evans. In the board's review, it lists one of the 4 sites on Mt. Evans as the "Summit/Overlook"

http://www.westernslopenofee.org/pdfuploads/E00127_REA_Compliance_Chart_Annotated.pdf

In May of 2008, after numerous attempts to get the Forest Service to comply with the law, a group of Colorado citizens filed a lawsuit in federal court. As a result of that lawsuit, the Forest Recreation Program Manager for the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests issued a sworn declaration concerning when the Forest Service requires visitors to pay a fee on Mt. Evans. Concerning overlooks, he wrote:

"there are no developed scenic pullouts or overlooks along the road leading up Mt. Evans." (emphasis added)


If there are no scenic pullouts or overlooks along the road leading up Mt. Evans, that would clearly indicate that the the site at the top of the Mt. Evans road is recognized as a scenic pullout or overlook.

Concerning whether a fee is required for stopping along the side of the road to take a picture, he wrote:

"If, however, someone at the Mt. Evans fee station states that he or she is not
stopping within the HIRA other than to take a picture at a pull-off or simply to take in the
view
, the Forest Service will not charge that person the standard amenity recreation fee." (emphasis added)


and

"at undeveloped sites, occupied parked vehicles or unoccupied parked
vehicles where the occupants are in close proximity to the vehicle are considered to be in
through-travel status and therefore not subject to the recreation fee at that location"


http://www.westernslopenofee.org/pdfuploads/E00609_Cruz_Declaration_Annotated.pdf

So according to sworn testimony, if you want to drive up the road, stop, and get out of your car to take a picture, according to Mr. Cruz, you are not required to pay the fee.

So why is it that when you visit the entrance station, you are told that if you stop you have to pay? The answer may lie in the following quotes from a 2005 email. In it, the author, a recreation manager for region 2 (Colorado and Wyoming) states:

"Law says that if people are driving through they don't have to pay unless they stop to use the facilities."


Actually, the law says unless a visitor uses the facilities and services. 6803(d)(1)(D) Nevertheless, the email goes on to say:

"Don't advertise this capability, but if the visitor asks you have no choice but to let them through"


http://www.westernslopenofee.org/pdfuploads/E00128_DeVore_Email_Annotated.pdf

It seems the Forest Service has decided to not "advertise this capability" by not properly informing the entrance station attendants, who tell people if you stop you have to pay.

As if that wasn't interesting enough, the 2008 operating plan clearly defines the Forest Service's lack of fee enforcement authority at Summit Lake Denver Mountain Park. It states:

"Summit Lake is City and County of Denver property and the Forest Service has no authority to write violation notices for this area".


http://www.westernslopenofee.org/pdfuploads/E00454_2008_Operating_Plan_Annotated.pdf

So the Forest Service seems to be saying that any notices you receive at Summit Lake Denver Mountain Park are not enforceable.

Obviously, the Forest Service has created one big mess that only the courts or the Forest Service can resolve. The court has had the case since February, and doesn't seem to be in a hurry to issue its decision; the Forest Service seems happy collecting the fees regardless of whether they're owed or not.

At least the FLREA expires in 2014.....

Dave

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