. . . and the message is a negative one.

Read his column in New West.

He points out that the entire newly imposed structure of fees to fund recreation on our public lands has been established by “midnight” riders to appropriations bills, “temporary programs” that somehow became permanent, or provisions buried deep within complex legislation. There was never a straight up or down vote in Congress to see how members of Congress really stood on making this fundamental change, so contrary to past traditions.

I’ll say it’s an affront to democracy, and yet another reason why Congress needed the big housecleaning it got, and maybe need still more. Meanwhile, pony up to buy your “America the Beautiful Pass.”


Here is government information (web site) on the pass that goes on sale Jan. 1, 2007

About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

4 Responses to "Wild Bill" says "the America the Beautiful Pass sends a strong message"

  1. Alan Gregory says:

    I couldn’t help but take notice of this sentence (“If you are 62 or older or receive disability benefits, you may be eligible for the Senior or Access pass”) from the USGS Web site. “May?” This is akin to the now infamous “doughnut hole” in the federal prescription drug plans.

  2. Bob Ostler says:

    Whether you agree with this program or not, it is important to remember that 80% of the purchase price still goes to the park where you purchase the pass. Buy it at the park you want to support, not online, at REI, or from some secondary reseller.

  3. Bob, that is an important point, and I will buy one!

    But we must not forget to tell our members of Congress that America’s public outdoors is a public good, not a private one, and that we expect these lands to be funded much better than in the past.

    Adequate funding would cost as much as a couple days of the civil war in Iraq, on which a trillion dollars has been wasted.

    In other words, adequate funding is actually within the margin of error for budget estimates.

  4. Bob Caesar says:

    Drats! Tricked again….and by my own governmernt. No wonder so many Americans truly resent, even despise their government. Then again the majority of us don’t even bother to vote!


December 2006


‎"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