July 28, 2014
House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation Chairman Rob Bishop (UT-01) introduced H.R. 5204, the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Modernization Act of 2014
. The bill will help expand and improve opportunities for public recreation on federal lands by updating how the Federal agencies collect and spend Federal recreation fees authorized by the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA).
This bill will be considered by the full Natural Resources Committee at a Markup on Wednesday, July 30, 2014.
“This legislation was carefully crafted to ensure that the recreation fees paid by the public are used to improve and maintain campgrounds, trails, and other visitor facilities on our public lands. This bill reflects suggestions from those who recreate on our public lands as well as those who help make these lands accessible, including the guides and outfitters. I appreciated the input of Representative DeFazio, his staff, and other organizations who helped us work to identify the biggest priorities for management and use of our national parks, forests, and other public lands. It is my hope that the Senate will join in the efforts to update and pass these policies,” said Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation Chairman Rob Bishop.
Currently the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act authorizes the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Bureau of Reclamation to collect fees for accessing and enjoying federal recreation lands and waters. These recreation fees fund necessary services and improvements that enhance the public visitor experience on federal lands such as welcome centers, trails, tours, campgrounds, picnic areas, roads, and boat landings.
The bill ensures that a minimum of 90% of fees collected are retained and used at the collection site so that recreation users are directly paying for the services used. Specifically they bill:
- Renews and reforms the land management agencies authority to collect and retain recreation fees and dedicates the revenues for developing and enhancing recreation opportunities.
- Streamlines the permitting process for outfitters and guides to increase the availability of permits and opportunities for small business to provide recreation services to the public.
- Standardizes and clarifies the types of recreation fees across land management agencies and minimizes situations where multiple fees are charged within one area.
- Limits administratively imposed future fee increases.
- Provides transparency and accountability requirements for a clear public disclosure of how fee revenue is spent, as well as audits to guarantee proper use.