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America Outdoors E-Bulletin
August 11, 2006


 
Wilderness Watch Protests Use of Dynamite on Middle Fork Log Jam Park Service Proposes Minimum Fees of 12% to 18% for Some Portion of Grand Canyon Rafting Revenues
New Forest Service Permitting Policy Due this Fall Two Idaho Wilderness Bills May Pass in 109th Congress
AO's Marketing and Management Conference Agenda Online Benefit Update: Database Marketing Project and AO Health Insurance Update

Wilderness Watch Protests Use of Dynamite on Middle Fork Log Jam
  According to Wilderness Watch, blasting out the log jam at Pistol Creek Rapids that had stranded several hundred river runners on the Middle Fork of the Salmon, violated the principals upon which wilderness was established. Never mind that among those stranded and at risk were disabled and elderly persons, and children. The log jam was blocking downstream river traffic and many companies were running low on food because they were planning to re-supply at the Indian Creek air strip. The log jam formed overnight after a thunderstorm resulted in a blowout of Lake Creek. A disaster for unsuspecting parties rounding the bend at Pistol Creek was averted when a rancher who lives inside the wilderness traveled up river on horseback to warn floaters about the hazard.

The Forest Service used a motorized auger and dynamite to remove the jam. Dynamite is commonly used to construct trails in wilderness. Removal of the log jam prompted complaints by Wilderness Watch, a group that promotes a strict interpretation of the Wilderness Act. George Nickas, of Missoula, MT, executive director of Wilderness Watch said letting schedules dictate wilderness management goes against the whole idea of wilderness. The Idaho Statesman quoted Nickas as saying, "The schedule's the problem. It's like I'm on a schedule, and by God I can't let nature get in my way." According to Nickas, the Forest Service missed an opportunity to teach a valuable lesson about what wilderness is all about.

Murray Feldman, a Boise attorney who successfully represented America Outdoors in a suit filed by Wilderness Watch, wrote a response to the Statesman article. He noted, "In August 1998, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Hogan in Washington, D.C, held that the Forest Service must manage the FC RONR (which includes the Middle Fork) for more than the limited purpose of wilderness preservation. As Judge Hogan ruled, the Forest Service must consider the range of public purposes, including the "recreational, scenic, scientific, educational, conservation, and historical" uses provided for in the 1964 Wilderness Act, and must "make the wilderness accessible to those Americans who wish to use it." It was exactly this concept-making the FC RONR wilderness and the Middle Fork accessible to those Americans who wish to use it-that the Forest Service implemented in removing the logjam."

To view a video of the Forest Service blowing up the log jam go to: http://www.ktvb.com/news/localnews/stories/ktvbn-aug0206-explosion.37ddee6.html

   
Park Service Proposes Minimum Fees of 12% to 18% for Some Portion of Grand Canyon Rafting Revenues
The prospectus is out for Grand Canyon river outfitting contracts to begin in 2007. NPS is dramatically increasing fees for larger outfitters. According to the prospectus the minimum fees schedule is:
  • 4% for revenues up to $500,000
  • 8% for revenues between $500,000 and $1,000,000
  • 12% for revenues between $1,000,00 and $2,000,000
  • 18% for revenues over $2,000,000.
These are minimum bids. Bidders can offer more at any level to enhance their proposal. While fees are supposed to be subordinate, NPS has in some instances, jimmied their grading of other factors to make fees the deciding factor.

NPS visits are down 1.1% this year and down about 10% from the "high year" of 1987. This decline occurred despite a growth in the number of NPS units from 310 to 390.
   
Two Idaho Wilderness Bills May Pass in 109th Congress
  Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) recently introduced the Owyhee Initiative Implementation Act. The Work Group, comprised of Idaho ranchers, conservationists, county commissioners and outfitters, pledged to do all they can to help the Senator pass the measure through Congress. The legislation, the culmination of nearly five years of hard work by Senator Crapo's office and the 14-member Owyhee Initiative Work Group, would permanently designate 517,000 acres of Wilderness, 400 miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers and promote the viability of ranching families by resolving longstanding Owyhee County public land management issues.

Grant Simonds, Idaho Outfitters & Guides Association Executive Director, served on the working group, which will become an official advisory board to BLM with passage of the bill. He said the bill will designate a system of reserved camps for outfitters and allocate launch dates for the outfitted public on the Bruneau and Owyhee Rivers.
Last month the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3603: Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act, which will designate 312,000 acres as wilderness in the Boulder-White Cloud Mountains.
   
New Forest Service Permitting Policy Due this Fall
  If all goes as planned the new Forest Service permitting policy will be published as a rule this fall. Return to the government, which could be fee bidding, is expected to be part of the permit award process although no information as to how that will implemented for permit renewal is known.
 
AO's Marketing and Management
Conference Agenda Online
The agenda for America Outdoors' Confluence, the International Marketing and Management Conference for Outfitters and Adventure Travel, is online at Confluence Agenda. Over 650 representatives from outfitters, adventure travel tour operators and their suppliers are expected to convene in Salt Lake, November 28th to December 2nd for the best in marketing, management, professional development and good times. Sponsors include ABN AMRO Merchant Services and Morrison Printing Company.
   
Update: Database Marketing Project
and
AO Health Insurance Program
   
  The America Outdoors Database Marketing Project
For outfitters with over 5,000 recent names of customers or prospects, the America Outdoors database marketing project offers an excellent opportunity to learn who your customers are. Your mailing list is secure and cannot be accessed by anyone other than your company. Deadline for sign-up is mid September. Contact dbrown@americaoutdoors.org to sign up.

Health Insurance Benefit
The Assurant Health America Outdoors Member Health Benefits Program provides great rates on both Group and Individual/Family Health Insurance Plans. Do you own your own business or are you the purchaser of health insurance for your company?
If so, your America Outdoors Membership can help you potentially save money for your company. If you are currently in a group policy, coverage for pre-existing illnesses cannot be excluded if you move to another group policy with different company. However, some agents will try to move you from group into individual coverage where pre-existing conditions can be permanently excluded.

If your link does not work copy this address and paste into your browser. http://www.affinityhealthplans.com/ao/index1.php?cmpid=233


For a list of America Outdoors member benefits go to Member Benefits.
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America Outdoors Staff Title E-mail address
David L. Brown Executive Director dbrown@americaoutdoors.org
Robin Brown Communications Director robin@americaoutdoors.org
Leah Koski Office Manager office@americaoutdoors.org
Office Phone 865-558-3595
Office Fax 865-558-3598

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