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America Outdoors Association

July 14, 2010

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America Outdoors Association Bulletin

Forest Service Study Reveals Much about the Demographics of Recreation Visitors

Update on Legislation to Authorize New Taxes on Your Services on Navigable Waters

The White House Wants to Hear from You about the Conservation and Recreation Agenda for the 21st Century

Forest Service study Reveals Much about the Demographics Recreation Visitors

A recent Forest Service study reveals recreation trends among the U.S population.

  • 173,526,000 recreation visits to National Forests each year generate an estimated $13 billion in direct spending
  • 224,000 jobs are “sustained” by recreation in National Forests
  • 3.9% of all the recreation visits are in designated Wilderness
  • 65% male and 35% female visitors for overall recreation visits with slightly higher participation by females in wilderness at 38.9%

Visitation to National Forests and Wilderness by Age

 Age % visits to National Forests % visits to Wlderness
 < 16 18.6 6.4
 16-19 3.5 3.4
 20-29 13.2 17.1
 30-39 15.7 17.3
 40-49 19.3 19.2
 50-59 16.5 22.3
 60-69 9.8 11.1
 70 + 3.4 3.2


Most popular activities

 Viewing natural features aka site-seeing43.9% 
 Hiking, walking42% 
 Wildlife viewing 42%
 Relaxing 37%
 Driving for pleasure 36.4%
 Downhill skiing 15.6%
 Fishing 13.2%
 Picnicking 9.8%
 Developed camping 8.5%
 Hunting 8.3%

Update on Legislation to Authorize New Taxes on Your Services on Navigable Waters

Sec. 301 of the Coast Guard Authorization bill (H.R. 3619), may be running slowly running aground thanks to our concerted efforts.  (But do not let up.)  The provision authorizes state and local governments to levy new taxes on goods and services delivered on navigable waters.  Foreign commerce is exempted.  Sec. 301 was included as a provision in the House version of H.R. 3619, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives last fall.  The provision was not in the Senate bill.  The differences between the House and Senate versions of H.R. 3619 are being negotiated now. 

Currently, fees for services to enhance safety and security (regulations and docking fees) are legal, but Sec. 301 would open the door to multiple layers of taxation on outfitters, fishing guides and tour boats. 

Here is what one Senate aide said about the status of Sec. 301. 

“The support for Section 301 is coming from a small borough (county) in Alaska that wants to tax fishing guides that are taxed in another county but use the services in theirs. As you can imagine, the Committee is hearing from a lot of fishing guides from around the nation who are opposed to 301”.

The Department of Labor in Alaska reports that 23% of all the employment in the Kenai Borough is from government.  No wonder they need to double dip on taxes.  Alaska does not have a state sales tax, but a local option tax authority which allows both counties and municipal governments to levy sales taxes.  Similar duplicative taxes are authorized in other states as well.  Sec. 301 would make this duplicative taxation legal.

Democrats and Republican on the Senate conference committee for H.R. 3619 appear to be opposed to Sec. 301.  We need to continue to focus efforts in the House, where the language originated, but where we think support for Sec. 301 is weakening.  Rep. Mica (R-FL), Rep. Oberstar (D-MN) and other Representatives are now the key players who will decide the fate of this measure, which has nationwide implications.

Contact Your Senators and Representatives Ask them to ensure that the language in Sec. 301 or similar taxing authority is not in the final Coast Guard Authorization bill. Your members of Congress may be reached through the Capitol switchboard:  House of Representatives 202-225-3121.  Senators: 202-224-3121.  Ask to be connected to your Senator or Representative.  The bill number (H.R. 3619) is the same in the House and the Senate. 

What to say: Ask for the staffer handling Transportation and Commerce issues.  Ask them to oppose Sec. 301 in the Coast Guard Authorization (H.R. 3619).  Sec. 301 authorizes new taxes on services delivered on navigable waters.  Ask them to help keep Sec. 301 out of the final Coast Guard Authorization bill.

The White House Wants to Hear from You about the Conservation and Recreation Agenda for the 21st Century

Be polite and constructive if you accept this invitation to comment on the future of recreation and conservation.  Remember your comments will reflect on the entire industry.

President Obama has launched a national dialogue about conservation in America to learn about some of the smart, creative ways communities are conserving outdoor spaces. The public listening session and discussions are an opportunity for leaders of the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative to hear from you about solutions for building a 21st century conservation and recreation agenda and reconnecting all Americans with the outdoors.  We would like to have your thoughts on the questions listed below in addition to any other ideas or stories.

In addition to sharing your comments at the listening session, the easiest way to submit your comments is online at www.doi.gov/americasgreatoutdoors/ or by email to: ago@ios.doi.gov. You may also mail your comments to: Department of the Interior, America's Great Outdoors, 1849 C St NW, Mailstop 3156, Washington, DC 20240.  We appreciate your participation.

What are your ideas and stories regarding the following topics:

What Works - What are the most effective strategies for conservation, recreation and reconnecting people to the outdoors that you have used?

Challenges - What obstacles exist to achieve your goals for conservation, recreation, or reconnecting people to the outdoors?

Federal Government Role - How can the federal government be a more effective partner in helping to achieve conservation, recreation or reconnecting people to the outdoors?

Tools - What additional tools and resources would help your efforts be even more successful? 

 

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