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Re: [RC] Trail fees illegal? - Sisu West Ranch

This is an interesting problem. Not having first hand knowlege of the complaints in the SW I don't know if they are justified or not. From what I read this may be either an unintended consequence of the legislation, or the FS in the area was trying to keep folk out of the forest. Unfortunately, both are possible.

The only area around here where the FS has imposed fees is at a very developed area at Lake Como. It has three fee campgrounds (one for horses), a boat launch, a swimming beach, a paved handicapped trail and numerous less developed trails.

Some folk were upset about the fees, but it seems justified to me.

My only complaint about many state and federal user fees is that often the monies just dissappear into the general funds. This means that even when fees are collected they do not help the facility they come from. The worst abberation of this I have seen was perpertrated by the MN DNR. There used to be a late season ride at St. Croix State Park. The horsemen had provided much of the funding for a heated shower and meeting building. One year the DNR decided that to save money they would close this, and other , camps after Labor Day. Now the ride filled a rather large fee campground for 4 nights. I know that the camping fees more than payed for any extra costs. Note the park was still open, just the camp was closed.

I spent many hours and letters trying to change things. The actual problem was that since all the camping fees dissappeared into the MN general fund, park managers and DNR folk could see no incentive to increase revenue by opening a park.

As a matter of philosophy, I support user fees. We will need more in the future, but only if the revenue is dedicated to the area served by the fee. WI has a bridle tax that works that way. It is a good deal. A rather out of the way area I used to condition in has seen many improvements in horse trails because of this.

Ed & Wendy Hauser
2994 Mittower Road
Victor, MT 59875

(406) 642-9640



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[RC] Trail fees illegal?, rides2far@xxxxxxxx