Jewell Nomination Moves Forward in Senate.
The nomination of Sally Jewell, former CEO of REI, to be the next Secretary of Interior moved ahead in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee by a vote of 19 – 3. Confirmation by the full Senate is expected in the near future. Senators voting against the nomination were Tim Scott (R-SC), John Barrasso (R-WY) and Mike Lee (R-UT). In voting “no”, Senator Barrasso expressed concerns about her position on the board of directors on the National Parks and Conservation Association (NPCA), which had sued NPS over snowmobile use in Yellowstone and other issues. Ms. Jewell handled herself well and seemed unflappable throughout the confirmation hearings.
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Yosemite Plan Axes Many Concessioner Recreation Services.
In response to a court decision which ordered NPS to manage Yosemite Valley consistent with the Merced River’s Wild and Scenic River designation, NPS recently announced plans to eliminate horseback riding, bicycle rentals and raft rentals along the Merced River. Other controversial plans include elimination of stone bridge, lodge swimming pools and an ice skating rink. The Merced was designated Wild and Scenic in 1987 after a hydroelectric dam was proposed west of the Park.
CUA Fees Rising in Yellowstone, Horse Concessions under Scrutiny.
Yellowstone National Park is increasing fees for Commercial Use Authorizations. Applications will cost $300. The fees are based on a sliding scale:
• < $250,000 3% of gross
• $250,000 to $500,000 4% of gross
• > $500,000 5% of gross
The fees only apply to activities within the Park. Yellowstone issues 170 CUA’s which generate $7 million in revenue from various services. The Park is opening the gates to accept more applications. The Park will limit the number of CUA’s when conditions or use levels warrant. According to NPS guidelines, when CUA’s are limited they are offered competitively for terms not exceed 2 years.
The Park also recently announced that it is reviewing the impacts of guided stock use. The Park claims that day use is up by 50% over 15 years. 45 concessions contracts are issued for guided saddle and pack stock tours in the Park.
The Official Forest Service Permit Holders Operating Plan Changes for Child Abuse Training and Reporting.
The following is out of the Forest Service Handbook on the recent requirement for background checks. The agency is developing more guidance which should be out before much longer. But some Ranger Districts are already putting the requirement in permit operating plans even before the type training that would be approved is specified.
CHAPTER 50 – STANDARD FORMS AND SUPPLEMENTAL CLAUSES
Interim Directive No.: 2709.11-2012-4
Effective Date: December 13, 2012
Duration: This interim directive expires on June 13, 2014.
Approved: JAMES M. PEÑA
Associate Deputy Chief, NFS Date Approved: 12/07/2012
C-14. Operating Plan for Supervision of Children (Other Than For Ski Areas). The following clause is mandatory in special use authorizations that involve supervision of children under the age of 18 by the holder or the holder’s agents. Include this clause in permits that provide programs for children, such as organizational camps, schools, outfitting and guiding programs for youth, and commercial filming and still photography involving children.
OPERATING PLAN. The holder shall prepare and by [date] [annually/every ___ years] revise an operating plan. The operating plan shall be prepared in consultation with the authorized officer or the authorized officer’s designated representative and shall cover all operations authorized by this permit. The operating plan shall outline steps the holder will take to protect public health and safety and the environment and shall include sufficient detail and standards to enable the Forest Service to monitor the holder’s operations for compliance with the terms and conditions of this permit. The operating plan shall require that any allegations of sexual abuse, observed serious physical injuries, or life-threatening neglect of children under the age of 18 be immediately reported to the local social services and law enforcement agencies with authority to take emergency action to protect children who are abused or neglected (the local agencies) and as soon as practicable thereafter to the authorized officer. The operating plan shall include the name, address, telephone number, facsimile number, and e-mail address of the local agencies; the requirement for all employees who supervise children under the age of 18 to undergo a criminal background check; and a schedule for providing periodic training of prospective reporters of child abuse or neglect. The training must cover the signs of child abuse and neglect and the reporting requirement when child abuse or neglect is suspected. The operating plan and any revisions to the operating plan shall be submitted by the holder and approved by the authorized officer prior to commencement of operations and shall be attached to this permit as an appendix. The authorized officer may require an annual meeting with the holder to discuss the terms and conditions of the permit or operating plan, annual use reports, or other concerns either party may have.
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