America Outdoors Association
America Outdoors Association

October 8, 2012

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America Outdoors Association Bulletin

Supreme Court Upholds Clinton Era Roadless Rule Protecting 50 Million Acres of National Forests

Fatality on Hudson River Leads to Criminally Negligent Homicide Charge against Raft Guide

AOA Launching Online Forum to Increase Industry Collaboration and Networking Opportunities

Make Your Hotel Reservations for Daytona Today

Supreme Court Upholds Clinton Era Roadless Rule Protecting 50 Million Acres of National Forests
The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has closed the books on a decade of litigation brought on by states and trade groups opposed to the Clinton-era roadless rule by refusing to take up the appeal, according to various media reports. In doing so, SCOTUS let stand a 10th Circuit Court ruling that turned back challenges to President Clinton’s roadless rule, which protects over 50 million acres of National Forests. The challenge to the rule was contained in a suit filed by the State of Wyoming and the Colorado Mining Association (CMA). During the Bush era, the Forest Service approved separate roadless area rules for Idaho and Colorado. Colorado’s exception excludes 19,000 acres of coal mining lands and 8,300 acres in and around ski areas that had been included as roadless areas under the original rule. Other states had the option to seek similar exceptions through state plans but chose to maintain their challenge to the overall rule. Utah, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota, Virginia and various commodity interests filed amicus briefs in support of Wyoming and the CMA’s challenge. Only a suit filed by the state of Alaska in District Court remains but observers predict its dismissal. Supporters of the rule hailed the SCOTUS decision as a victory that will protect roadless areas from development activities, such as mining and oil and gas exploration.

The vast expanse of Forests damaged by beetle kill raised concerns in some quarters about the rule’s impact on the ability of the Forest Service to clear dead trees and thin overgrown areas to prevent catastrophic wildfire. But the rule has an exception for forest projects necessary to protect forest health and public safety. Roads constructed for those purposes have to be restored to the natural grade and reseeded although the reclamation costs may be a limiting factor for some of those projects unless harvestable timber can be recovered. Comment on this story.

Fatality on Hudson River Leads to Criminally Negligent Homicide Charge against Raft Guide
The rafting industry and the media in New York are abuzz with the fallout from an accident involving Hudson River Rafting Company and a guide who was charged with criminally negligent homicide after the drowning of a customer last month. According to Hamilton County authorities, guide Rory Fay is alleged to have been drunk when the accident occurred. It is important to remember the charges have not been adjudicated. However, the incident revived questions about a prior “endangerment” case in which the owner of the company Patrick Cunningham was accused of leaving clients part way down the river, a charge which Cunningham disputes.

Hudson River Rafting Company is not a member of AOA or the Hudson River Professional Rafting Association. The company is not sanctioned to use the Indian Lake put-in, managed by the municipality, but instead owns a strip of land adjacent to the put-in which they use to access the river. Cunningham’s company operated on the Sacandaga River at one time but their rights were not renewed in 2009 by Brookfield Power Company.

The death has some outfitters considering state regulation of companies to enable it to weed out companies who willfully and wantonly disregard the industry’s standard of care. The state currently licenses guides but does not license companies. 

AOA Launching Online Forum to Increase Industry Collaboration and Networking Opportunities
If you are an AOA member you can log in to the NEW online forum by using your company's user name and password. Call the AOA office at 800-524-4814 if you need your user name and password.
• Check out your profile and adjust your privacy settings. Currently, company listing is private.
• You can search for other members with whom you want to establish connections. Hopefully, they'll accept your offer to collaborate.
• Start a conversation about the issue in this bulletin.
• Start a conversation about the NPS Health Food Initiative, DOT Regulations, and anything else on your mind.
• Soon we'll have mentors for members who want answers about new products, have questions about existing ones, like paddlesports rental, cabins, aerial adventures, or equine activities.

AOA members may log-in using their user name and password at AOA Forum. Call the AOA office at 800-524-4814 if you've forgotten yours. PPA members will be receiving invitations over the next couple of weeks as we put you into the database. However, if you want to start participating before then, don't hesitate to give us a call and we'll get you set up right away.

Make Your Hotel Reservations for Daytona Today. Double Rooms Are Available.
There are plenty of rooms left at the Hilton for now, however no rooms with King beds. So, please make your reservations today. Call 1-386-254-8200 and refer to America Outdoors Association or click HERE. Click here to Register for the conference.


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