Another Panic Attack Impacts Travel. EU Warns Against Travel to US
Just what the travel industry needs, another panic attack in a nervous world already overburdened with security and financial concerns. EU Health Commissioner Andorra Vassiliou warned against non-essential travel and specifically warned against travel to the US and Mexico due to the swine flu outbreak. US officials said the warning was unwarranted. President Obama said the outbreak was cause for “concern” but not “a cause for alarm”.
The Center for Disease Control Website is the best source for information on the virus. It can be prevented. Here are a few of their suggestions for travelers.
• Visit CDC's Travelers’ Health Website to learn about any disease risks and CDC health recommendations for areas you plan to visit.
• See a travel medicine specialist or a doctor familiar with travel medicine at least 4–6 weeks before you leave to answer your questions and make specific recommendations for you.
• Antiviral Medications: Travelers from the US going to Mexico that are at high risk of severe illness from influenza (for example persons with chronic conditions such as diabetes, lung disease, heart disease, and the elderly) are recommended to take antiviral medications for prevention of swine influenza during travel. The recommended antiviral drugs for swine influenza are oseltamivir (brand name Tamiflu®) and zanamivir (brand name Relenza®). Both are prescription drugs that fight against swine flu by keeping flu viruses from reproducing in your body. These drugs can prevent infection if taken as a preventative. Talk to your doctor about correct indications for using influenza antiviral medications. Always seek medical care if you are severely ill.
REA Repeal Introduced as AOA Outfitters Take Concerns to Capitol Hill
Many thanks to the 11 members from America Outdoors Association and state organizations who visited Capitol Hill this past week to address issues of concern to outfitters. Among the issues addressed were
• Concerns about impacts that the repeal of the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) on outfitters and recreation access;
• The potential repeal of the ban on local fees and taxes on federally navigable waterways (which has not been reintroduced);
• Cost recovery issues;
• The deteriorating state of trails on public lands and how to deal with it;
• The status of implementation of Forest Service outfitter and guide permitting directives.
The FLREA repeal bill was introduced on April 22nd by Senators Crapo and Baucus. While we have not yet seen the language, we believe a couple of provisions that we sought to prevent the layering of additional fees were included in the bill. AOA has not taken a position on the overall legislation and will consider its impacts on recreation access and permit administration.
This effort is another reason you should maintain your AOA membership and recruit others to help pull the wagon.
President Signs $6 Billion Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act
H.R. 1388 was signed by the President on April 21st. The bill authorizes the expenditure of $6 billion over 5 years to expand AmeriCorps, provide summer service programs for youth and provide grants to expand the nonprofit sector’s role to strengthen the volunteer infrastructure, assist with emergency management, and innovate to solve the nation’s most intractable problems.
The bill reauthorizes and expands the mission of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees Vista, AmericaCorps and other federally assisted community volunteer programs.
Increasing Opportunities for Americans of All Ages to Serve
• Puts young people onto a path of national service by establishing a Summer of Service program to provide $500 education awards for rising 6th-12th graders, a Semester of Service program for high school students to engage in service-learning, and Youth Empowerment Zones for secondary students and out-of-school youth.
• Dramatically increases intensive service opportunities by setting AmeriCorps on a path from 75,000 positions annually to 250,000 by 2017, and focusing that service on education, health, clean energy, veterans, economic opportunity and other national priorities. Ties the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award to the maximum Pell Grant level (now $5,350, but set to increase over time).
• Improves service options for experienced Americans by expanding age and income eligibility for Foster Grandparents and Senior Companions, authorizing a Silver Scholars program, under which individuals 55 and older who perform 350 hours of service receive a $1,000 education award, and establishing Serve America Fellowships and Encore Fellowships allowing individuals to choose from among registered service sponsors where to perform service. Also permits individuals age 55 and older to transfer their education award to a child or grandchild.
• Enables millions of working Americans to serve by establishing a nationwide Call to Service Campaign and a September 11 national day of service, and investing in the nonprofit sector’s capacity to recruit and manage volunteers.
Supporting Innovation and Strengthening the Nonprofit Sector
• Creates a Social Innovation Fund to expand proven initiatives and provide seed funding for experimental initiatives, leveraging Federal dollars to identify and grow ideas that are addressing our most intractable community problems.
• Establishes a Volunteer Generation Fund to award grants to states and nonprofits to recruit, manage, and support volunteers and strengthen the nation’s volunteer infrastructure.
• Authorizes Nonprofit Capacity Building grants to provide organizational development assistance to small and mid-size nonprofit organizations.
• Creates a National Service Reserve Corps of former national service participants and veterans who will be trained to deploy, in coordination with FEMA, in the event of disasters.
Strengthening Management, Cost-Effectiveness, and Accountability
• Merges funding streams, expands the use of simplified, fixed amount grants, and gives the Corporation flexibility to consolidate application and reporting requirements. Increases support for State Commissions on national and community service. Bolsters the capacity and duties of the Corporation’s Board of Directors.
• Ensures that programs receiving assistance under national service laws are continuously evaluated for effectiveness in achieving performance and cost goals.
• Introduces responsible and balanced competition to the RSVP program.
• Authorizes a Civic Health Assessment comprised of indicators relating to volunteering, voting, charitable giving, and interest in public service in order to evaluate and compare the civic health of communities.
Interagency Group Working on Capacity Issues and National Recreation Reservation System
Bo Shelby and Doug Whittaker, Confluence Consulting, are advising an interagency working group that includes the Forest Service, NPS and BLM on visitor capacity issues. Shelby and Whittaker are well known for their work on visitor capacity studies for federal agencies. The preface to their most recent work on river allocation can be found on the web at http://www.river-management.org/pdfs/Allocation%20Paper/Allocation%20Sec%201.pdf America Outdoors Association expressed concern to the River Management Society about the misrepresentation of AOA’s position on permits that is contained in a description of various organizations positions on permit issues. This chapter is not on the web.
The Forest Service is also working on developing the National Recreation Reservation System for outfitted use. Outfitters would reserve their trips and pay their fees through the System, although the details about this process are unclear. The Reservation System is used primarily by the public for making campground reservations in National Forests, National Parks and in many State Parks. Several rivers in Idaho may go into the system in the near future. Boundary water canoe outfitters already use the system. Reserve America runs the system for all the federal agencies through recreation.gov Some National Park tours are already on the site for the public. According to one Forest Service employee on detail with the agency, participation in the Reservation System will be up to each National Forest and is voluntary. Reserve America was recently acquired by the Active Network, which has raised $275 million in venture capital, including $80 million from a recent investment from ESPN. The agencies’ authorization to charge fees for use of the reservation system is contained in the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act of 2005.