Senator Baucus Berates Recreation Fee Policy

Good News! A major Western Democrat is going after the “RAT.”

In my view the RAT is just another Bush Administration effort to slowly privatize the public lands.

Senator Baucus Berates Recreation Fee Policy. New West. By Bill Schneider.

While a number of Western Senators have spoken against the RAT, such as Idaho’s Senator Craig. They have taken no action.

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  1. MikeH Avatar

    Nice to see some talk on this issue. Striking down this law is way past due.

    Last year I wanted to park my car at a primitive campground on the border of Glacier so I could fly fish the river for ten minutes while my friends had a snack on the shore. I was immediately approached by a campground hosted who insisted I pay $5 for spending five minutes there. I said “no thanks” and went downstream to another location.

    Seemed like a nice guy who had a crappy job. I’m sure he didn’t want to enforce the RAT rule, preferring to instead do the usual campground host job. They probably put that in as a condition for hosts there these days.

    Paying fees to park your car for ten minutes along a remote forest road is strange to say the least, especially after already paying taxes on the land. I have no problem paying for entrance fees to national parks and campgrounds. Those area provide services that can be expensive (sewer, running water, campground cleanup, restroom cleanup, litter control, law enforcement). In fact I proudly pay them knowing my money is going to a good cause.


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.

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Ralph Maughan