Ruling makes your camping trip a lot more expensive

Dear Barker,

Bark just learned that we lost our legal case to protect Mt. Hood campgrounds and trailheads, including Bagby Hot Springs, from being taken over by private companies. But the ruling is way worse...

The ruling essentially allows private companies operating under permit on National Forest land to charge a fee for doing anything, anywhere.

Picnicking along the Clackamas River, snapping photos of Mt. Hood from Hwy 26, or camping at one of the undeveloped sites near Timothy Lake -- all could become fee sites.

Bark, your local Mt. Hood activists, filed this national lawsuit with the hope that we would close a loophole in the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act.

Instead, we are shining a spotlight on how badly Congress needs to change the law. You can help by supporting Bark's work with a donation today AND by taking action below.
 
Federal court Judge Rudolph Contreras ruled that private concessionaire companies may take advantage of a loophole in the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act.

The law is being reviewed THIS FRIDAY at the House Public Lands Subcommittee meeting--we have a chance to close the loophole and protect our recreation access!

Please go to the House Natural Resources Committee page by noon tomorrow (Thursday) and provide your comment: https://naturalresources.house.gov/contact/

MESSAGE:
Regarding the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act: Please keep recreation on public lands affordable for all Americans.

The restrictions on fees already in the law should be retained, and must be applied to private companies. Please fix the loopholes in the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act that allow for ballooning fees on public land recreation. Senior discounts, discounts for disabled Americans, and other federal recreation passes must be honored by private companies.

BACKGROUND:
The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act was passed in 2004, and protected Americans from being charged, by federal agencies like the Forest Service, for recreation access already paid for through tax revenue. Sites with amenities like campsites, trash service, or restrooms, could charge for use, while sites like parking lots or picnic areas could not.

Formerly, if sites with amenities were run by a private company, the company could charge a fee but had to honor the same rules as federal agencies; for example, companies were compelled to honor Senior and Disabled passholder discounts at campgrounds. The recent ruling opens the door for private companies to disregard such discounts and impose new fees.

With this week's ruling, seniors, disabled Americans, or anyone who owns a special recreation pass like the "America the Beautiful Pass" may have their pass ignored by private company managing a public recreation site.

On Friday, at 9am Eastern Time, the House Subcommittee on Public Lands will discuss changes to the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act. Bark's colleague Kitty Benzar, with the Western Slope No Fee Coalition, will testify at the hearing. Unfortunately the revised draft of the bill that will be discussed is worse than the current law, creating more fees for recreation on public land.
 
Recreation throughout the country is threatened and Bark continues to shine a spotlight on the issue using Mt. Hood National Forest as an example. When you donate to Bark you not only protect your backyard, you also help National Forests across America.

Please share your concern with the Natural Resources Committee and then...please donate.

Thank you,
Alex P Brown, Executive Director

PS- Thank you to our pro-bono attorney Matt Kenna from Colorado for his hard work on this case! Awesome attorneys like Matt enforce our laws. Unfortunately sometimes our laws aren't good enough, and that's when Bark really needs your donations to power our work to fix the laws for our public lands.