Sunday, February 19, 2012


Last week a federal appeals court handed down an interesting decision: that the United States Forest Service could no longer charge auto parking fees for hikers (perhaps even rock hounds)  heading to certain trails in the Catalina Mountains near Tucson, AZ.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling could bring an end, or at least change the outlook, on fees gathered by the USFS to pay for improvements.  I am uncertain if the ruling applies only to the Catalina Mountains or to fees the USFS collects at numerous other locations (probably the latter).  As I understand it, the USFS has collected, since 1996, parking fees for hikers in some of the canyon areas of the Catalina’s. Since the hikers were not using improved facilities (campgrounds etc.), fees could not be charged.  

The court case is Adam et. al. v USFS.  Perhaps it will be appealed by USFS?  I would assume that a USFS ruling would also apply to lands managed by BLM, and perhaps other federal agencies. 
This case may have wide implications for recreation and other fees assessed by federal land managers.  But again, it may not!  I look forward to hearing about future results.

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