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America Outdoors E-Bulletin
July 27, 2006
||Bill to Extend NPS CUA's to 5-Year Term Gets Approval in the
House Resources Committee
||Supported by America Outdoors, H.R. 5802
will modify existing law governing the issuance of Commercial Use
Authorizations in National Parks by extending the term from a maximum of 2
years (under current law) to up to 5 year terms when NPS limits the number of
CUA's issued. The House Resources Committee approved the measure as a
non-controversial measure during a committee mark-up last week. We hope the
bill will be included in a package of non-controversial provisions and be
passed by the U.S. House of Representatives next
The current law
governing Commercial Use Authorizations, which replaces Incidental Business
Permits in National Parks, was passed in 1998. The CUA language was a last
minute addition to the bill and did not go through the hearing process so did
not receive adequate review. The 1998 law:
- gives NPS the
authority to limit the number of CUA's issued,
- prohibits any kind of
preference for incumbent CUA holders when the number of authorizations is
- requires cost recovery
for CUA administration,
- limits the term to two
- Non-profits are
exempted from the requirement to obtain CUA's unless their income from the
authorized activity is taxable.
Under the 1998 law, NPS
originally proposed a random drawing for CUA's when NPS limited the number, but
withdrew that proposal under a howl of criticism. A rule is expected this year
on the issuance of CUA's, which will likely include some form of competitive
process. AO predicts a log-jam and significant costs for processing hundreds of
applications every two years, especially where they are offered competitively.
Furthermore, the potential for many long-standing CUA holders to lose their
access when NPS limits the number of CUA's is significant. Some NPS rangers
have suggested they don't have the time to deal with the paperwork necessary
for new CUA applications for incidental activities.
H.R. 5802 provides a more
realistic process for issuing CUA's when the number issued is limited. The bill
also extends preferential right of renewal to in Park concessions contracts
from $500,000 to $750,000 in gross revenues and indexes that amount for
inflation. NPS will also be required to provide a debriefing to those who are
not awarded a contract citing the reasons they lost.
The changes to the
current CUA language proposed by H.R. 5802 include:
CUAs should contact their Senators and urge them to support the Senate version
of H.R. 5802 after the bill is passed by the House. Call the Capitol
Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for your Senator's office.
- Where the number of
CUA's is limited the term may be increased to 5 years.
- NPS may consider
demonstrated capability to provide quality visitor services and experience with
the resources and values in the park unit for which the authorization is
- Cost recovery shall
not seek to recover costs from applicants or authorized holders related to
capacity studies and recreation activities and monitoring of use not associated
||Log Jam on Middle
Fork Blocks River and Strands Hundreds of Rafters
||Up to 200 rafters are
stranded on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River because a massive washout
clogged the wilderness river with logs. The U.S. Forest Service has suspended
raft launches at Boundary Creek until it dynamites the logs from the river. Two
rangers were dispatched on Tuesday to begin blasting the logs out of the
The blowout at Lake Creek, in the upper third of the 100-mile Middle
Fork trip, sent about 50 logs into the river, creating a river-wide
obstruction. The washout probably was caused by isolated rainstorms that swept
through Central Idaho on Sunday night. Residents at a backcountry ranch at
Pistol Creek sent a horseback rider upstream to warn rafters. Rafters from
various trips were sharing food until the long jam is removed. It is expected
that the obstruction will be cleared today.
||Fran Mainella Resigns as NPS Director
||In a surprise announcement, NPS
Director Fran Mainella announced her resignation Wednesday. The resignation
comes a day after a hearing in the House Subcommittee on National Parks about
NPS Management Policies. Mainella had served for six years.
High School Joins
||Huge Experiences was founded in 2001 with the goal of
providing top level kayak instruction for high school students. The successful
kayak instructional and training camps soon evolved into an accredited high
school division, New River Academy. This unique high school offers accredited
private school academics, cultural studies, international travel, exploration
of world-class whitewater, professional kayak coaching, and classes with a
ratio of 2.5 students to each educator.
New River Academy quickly
became what director David Hughes envisioned in college as the idea educational
model. Students are actually excited to go to school, and they often speak
about what they learned over dinner. Hughes states, "We seek the greatest
whitewater destinations and take advantage of their inspiring environment
within our classes."
This fall semester Huge Experiences' New River Academy
will tour eastern US rivers prior to embarking on an exploration of Costa Rica.
The classes are almost full with only three openings still available.
||Return to top of page
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