Wild Bill has another insightful article on the ill effects of the “RAT.” FS Digging Its Own Grave. By Bill Schneider. New West.

Being from SE Idaho, I don’t get hit with the RAT as much as most folks, but recently in Arizona I really felt its sting.

I wanted to explore Oak Creek Canyon. I expected to pay a RAT. At the rim it said $5 for a one-day “Red Rocks country” recreation pass, so I pulled into the “Call of the Canyon” parking lot and bought a day’s pass (the $5 had recently been replaced by $8). I walked a couple miles up the West Fork of Oak Creek (a Wilderness area) and came back and drove down the canyon.

There was another interesting looking place close to the mouth of the canyon, so I pulled in, pointed to my purchased sticker and began to pull off, when the angry fee collector told be I had to pay another $8! It seems every stop costs you another $8.

Irritated, I drove through Sedona and didn’t buy anything. I drove up into the less scenic, but free, ponderosa pine forest country near Happy Camp.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

11 Responses to FS Digging Its Own Grave (with the recreation tax)

  1. avatar Chris H. says:

    That is incredible but, anymore believeable. I know this is off subject but it is increasing hard to believe that no one is even talking about impeaching the shrub. Over the weekend I have gone from general disgust to near dispair for this country. The fish stinks from the head down. Sorry Ralph pull this if you wish.

  2. No, I agree. Almost every government policy is being compromised. It’s not just recreation, environment and the outdoors.

    They are destroying the rule of law.

  3. avatar mikarooni says:

    I agree with the article and the comments in most respects; however, I am afraid that I don’t like the title because I believe that it may be a disservice to say that the FS is digging its OWN grave. Sure, there are some real jerks within the Service; but, most of the civil servants within the agency don’t really want anything to do with this nonsense. Most of them want to play host, at least to some reasonable number of people; most of them don’t want to be turning the public against them; don’t want to close facilities and jeopardize their own jobs in the process; and sure didn’t make the time and money investment in their education to become ticket-takers at campground parking lots. The RAT was not the idea of these folks; it was the idea of the rats in the administration. All of us need to come out of denial. Nothing good has ever come out of the GOP and nothing good ever will.

  4. avatar elkhunter says:

    Ralph, Is there a wolf pack near Burley ID?

  5. Probably not, but it’s not impossible that some wolves have crossed the Snake River plain.

  6. avatar elkhunter says:

    We were thinking of goin hunting deer up there this December, so I was just curious if there were wolves up there? Does that area have a healthy deer population?

  7. The South Hills (the rolling uplands south of Twin Falls) do.

  8. avatar MikeH says:

    I had a similar experience in Montana. Supposedly the new annual National Park’s pass includes these areas – but the price is now $80.

    A couple years ago I was harassed for even getitng out of the car for five minutes at a primitive campground on Glacier’s western border (Big Creek). I just wanted to fish for a half an hour and make something to eat.

    I don’t think alot of the people enforcing these fees want to enforce them. At least at that time, it seemed they were hoisting these duties on retired campground hosts. The following year it looked like a dedicated USFS worker.

    Either way I felt like I had violated some law by daring to step forth onto these fee lands.

    We did get to see otters playing and a bald eagle though, which is always cool.

  9. avatar Pronghorn says:

    “Nothing good has ever come out of the GOP and nothing good ever will.” It was Richard Nixon who signed the Endangered Species Act into law, not that I’m defending Republicans or anything. Impeachment alone isn’t good enough for the shrub–we want impeachment, trial, conviction, removal from office.

    But geez, you didn’t buy ANYthing in Sedona? No super-duper vortex detector? No Kokopelli gee-gaw or howling, bandana-wearing coyote tchotchke? Whew!

    Looks like I was saved 😉 Ralph

  10. avatar Jerry Black says:

    Just think…if you come back as a cow, you and your offspring can enjoy these public lands for only $1.43 per month! That includes all the grass and riparian vegetation you can consume, free water, and you can crap anywhere including the streams. Now that’s a bargain!

  11. avatar Pronghorn says:

    Right on, Jerry! Except for one thing…why are you screwing the ranchers out of their entitlement? The current AUM is $1.35, the lowest it can go. http://www.fs.fed.us/news/2007/releases/02/grazing-fee.shtml

    As a taxpayer, you are paying the government to subsidize private business (ranching) on public land; you are paying the government to haze and slaughter Yellowstone bison on public land in Montana; and you are paying to access your own public lands through fees, passports, and RAT. So exactly what’s your gripe?

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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