Legislative Hearing on H.R. 2834, H.R. 1444 and the "Cabin Fee Act of 2011"
Friday, September 9, 2011 10:00 AM
Subcommittee on National Parks, Forest and Public Lands
1334 Longworth House Office Building


SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, FORESTS AND PUBLIC LANDS
1334 Longworth House Office Building
Friday, September 9, 2011
10:00 a.m.

LEGISLATIVE HEARING ON:

  • H.R. 2834 (Benishek), To recognize the heritage of recreational fishing, hunting, and shooting on Federal public lands and ensure continued opportunities for these activities "Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act"
  • H.R. 1444 (Broun), To require that hunting activities be a land use in all management plans for Federal land under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture to the extent that such use is not clearly incompatible with the purposes for which the Federal land is managed, and for other purposes.
  • H.R. ____ (Hastings), To modify the Forest Service Recreation Residence Program by implementing a simple, equitable, and predictable procedure for determining cabin user fees, and for other purposes "Cabin Fee Act of 2011"

OPENING STATEMENT:

The Honorable Doc Hastings
Full Committee Chairman

WITNESSES AND TESTIMONY:

Panel I (Draft Bill)

Joel Holtrop
Deputy Chief
National Forest Systems
U.S. Forest Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture

Pete Bailey
Former Director
National Forest Homeowners
(Truth in Testimony Form)

Panel II (H.R. 2834, H.R. 1444)

Joel Holtrop
Deputy Chief
National Forest Systems
U.S. Forest Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture

Bob Ratcliffe
Deputy Assistant Director
Renewable Resources and Planning
Bureau of Land Management
U.S. Department of the Interior

William Horn
Director of Federal Affairs
U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance
(Truth in Testimony Form)

Melissa Simpson
Director of Government Affairs
Safari Club International
(Truth in Testimony Form)

Susan Recce
Director
Division of Conservation, Wildlife, and Natural Resources
National Rifle Association
(Truth in Testimony Form)

BACKGROUND:

The legislative hearing will focus on three bills pertaining to sportsmanship and cabin fee fairness. The first two bills, sponsored by Representatives Benishek and Broun, respectively, will enhance sportsmanship on federal public lands. The third bill, introduced by Chairman Doc Hastings, amends the annual fee structure for cabins on Forest Service land. The current cabin fee structure is unpredictable, leaving families who own cabins in our National Forests subject to arbitrary, escalating cabin fees caused by an ineffective appraisal system.

Faced with unaffordable fees, many cabin owners have put their cabins on the market only to find that the skyrocketing fees make the cabins unsellable. If Congress fails to enact a realistic and fair fees system, many families may be forced to abandon and tear down their cabins, many of which have been passed down from generation to generation. Chairman Hastings’ legislation will make the current volatile fee structure more predictable so that families aren’t blind-sided by exorbitant, subjective cabin fees. The legislation includes a slightly modified formula for calculating fees, with the goal of ensuring the bill is revenue neutral without imposing fees that are beyond the reach of American families. Chairman Hastings introduced a similar bill last Congress: H.R. 4888, the Cabin Fee Act of 2010.

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