America Outdoors Association
America Outdoors Association

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Albuquerque, NM December 9-12, 2013


America Outdoors Association Bulletin

NPS Announces Cancellation of Dinosaur Solicitation

New IRS Website Explains Tax Provisions for Affordable Care Act

Maryland Study Finds Delaying School Start Would Create $74 Million in Direct Economic Benefit

NPS Announces Cancellation of Dinosaur Solicitation.  Extends Contracts for One Year While Requirements Are Reviewed

After considerable input from America Outdoors Association, members of Congress, insurers, and outfitters NPS announced today that the contract solicitation for Guided Interpretive Whitewater Trips in Dinosaur National Monument is being cancelled.  All 11 outfitters with contracts will get one year extensions.  AOA received this notice from NPS today.

Mr. Brown,

The National Park Service ("Service") released a Prospectus for the solicitation for the award of up to eleven Category III Concession Contracts on July 8, 2013. The Prospectus identified the deadline for prospective offerors to submit questions as August 6, 2013.

Due to the significant number of questions received, the Service is hereby cancelling the solicitation for the award of Concession Contracts authorizing Guided Interpretive Whitewater Tours within Dinosaur National Monument. The Service has concluded that additional time is needed to determine whether the Prospectus should be modified.

The Service will re-issue the Prospectus at a later date. The Service anticipates that the eleven existing Concession Contracts, that expire December 31, 2013, will be extended for one year or until the effective date of a new contract, whichever occurs first.

All eleven concessioners and other interested parties who signed up on the prospectus mailing list will receive written notification of the cancellation via FED EX today.

Thank you for your interest,

Jennifer Parker
Chief of Concessions
Intermountain Region

We believe that Exhibit D of the PROSPECTUS, A Concession Business Opportunity for Guided Interpretive Whitewater River Trips within Dinosaur National Monument violated the intent of the law governing NPS concessions contracts.  The requirements included coverage for total pollution, $5 million in general liability insurance and separate aggregate limits for multiple locations, garage-keepers liability and the Longshoremen and Harborworkers endorsement for worker compensation (which would not apply to Dinosaur but would apply elsewhere). 

Title IV, SEC. 406 (a) of the National Parks Omnibus Management Act of 1998 states:


  In General.--Each concessions contract shall permit the concessioner to set reasonable and appropriate rates and charges for facilities, goods, and services provided to the public, subject to approval under subsection b.

NPS should understand that insurance companies are not going to change their insurance policies to suit every new contract issued by NPS.  The process of coming up with different requirements at every Park and releasing them without consultation with insurers who are expected to provide the coverage is not working.  AOA is pushing for changes which will require NPS to consult with industry insurers and outfitters before finalizing prospectus requriements.

New IRS Website Explains Tax Provisions for Affordable Care Act  

The IRS website has separate sections for employers, individuals, families, and other organizations. Topics include premium tax credits, benefits and responsibilities for employers, and tax provisions for insurers and other types of businesses. Additionally, the agency released Publication 5093 (Health Care Law Online Resources). The publication provides a listing of online Affordable Care Act government resources that are available for individuals and employers. 

Maryland Study Finds Delaying School Start Would Create $74 Million in Direct Economic Benefit

Citing the benefits to Maryland families, small businesses, and tourism Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot recently released an economic impact study completed by the Bureau of Revenue Estimates which found that delaying the school start until after Labor Day would result in an additional $74.3 million in direct economic activity. The benefit included $3.7 million in new wages and a separate $7.7 million in state and local revenue. The study also cited the benefits to families who would have a better chance of spending dedicated time together.

Sadly, most school boards ignore the negative economic impacts when school starts in early August.  In Tennessee school started August 10th this year.  Students get out of school around the third week of May. Some of the last week is spent without significant learning occurring as books are taken up. When school started in September, August was the most popular month for rafting on the Ocoee River. Now it’s July.

North Carolina is one state which successfully addressed the school start issue with legislation

2012 Senate Bill 187 (Session Law 2012-145), applies beginning with the 2013-2014 school year, rewrites a portion of the calendar law (General Statute 115C-84.2).
School Calendars must meet the following requirements:
•    Start date no earlier than the Monday closest to August 26 and end date no later than the Friday closest to June 11 (unless a weather related calendar waiver has been approved, year-round school, charter school or cooperative innovative high school.)
•    If waiver is approved the start date can be no earlier than the Monday closest to August 19.
•    There are no educational purpose waivers for exemption of the opening and/or closing dates.
•    All schools within the district must be closed all day for purposes of determining eligibility for a weather related waiver (delayed starts or early dismissals of two or more hours no longer apply).

America Outdoors Association
PO Box 10847
Knoxville, TN 37939

Phone: 1-800-524-4814

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