America Outdoors E-Bulletin
February 14, 2006
||NPS to Issue CUA's Competitively; Replace Current IBP's
||The National Park Service has issued the interim
guidelines for issuance of Commercial Use Authorizations in National Parks. The
Competitive award of CUA's where the superintendent limits the number issued
for a specific activity;
the process for competitive award for CUA's for two year terms will be approved
by each Region;
· Issuance only
to qualified entities;
Requirement for approval of rates and charges where the number of CUA's is
· No preference to
incumbent IBP or CUA holders;
Cost recovery for the issuance and administration of CUA's.
· Non profits are exempted from the requirements
to have CUA's unless their service produces taxable income and the Park will
require them to state so in a letter and possibly provide other documentation.
· Regional directors must
approve the issuance of any CUA that generates more than $100,000 in revenues.
NPS intends to make most of those concession contracts instead of CUA's.
· The interim guidelines are not
subject to public comment but NPS will later develop rules that are subject to
The rules are largely
the result of a provision that was stuck into the National Parks Omnibus
Management Act in 1998 the night before the bill was voted on by House of
Representatives. Former Representative Jim Hansen's Resource Committee inserted
the language at the last minute. While exempted from the CUA, institutional
groups and other non profits will be required to have Park permits and pay
fees. Page 3 of the interim guidelines specifies that Park should consider all
use when limiting the number of CUA's but goes on to single out commercial
operators by stating, "One tool is to limit the number of commercial
operators." This bias against commercial operators is not required by the law.
What you should do if you are an IBP holder.
1. Call your Superintendent to find out if he or she
plans to limit the number of CUA's issued for your service. If not, you will
not be subject to competitive award or price controls, but you will be subject
to cost recovery and higher fees.
the Park intends to limit the number, ask how he or she intends to offer CUA's
and how he or she will determine who is qualified to provide the service.
3. Call AO immediately if your
longstanding operation in a Park is at risk through a competitive award
4. Competitive award may favor
large concession operations depending on the criteria used for award.
Send an email to
a copy of the CUA directive.
||Commercial Rafting in
Colorado Up 14.1% in 2005
||The data is in for rafting in the state of Colorado and
it confirms a stunning recovery for state's rafting industry, which hit a low
point during the fire's and drought of 2002. Commercial rafting grew by 14.1%
from 2004 to 2005. Total rafting use for the state was only 4% under the record
year in 1999. The Arkansas River is lagging behind a bit, 10% off its peak
year. Since the fires and drought of 2002, commercial rafting has rebounded
from 319,562 visits to 504,622 visits in 2005, a 57% increase.
||Oil and Gas Development Hot Issue among Outfitters in Utah and
||The Department of Interior's aggressive campaign to
issue oil and gas leases apparently includes a policy to limit public
information to landowners and recreation interests who might be impacted by
drilling. Leases are being auctioned off by BLM and other agencies for oil and
gas development at a frenetic pace. In Colorado one BLM employee recently
stated the only notice given to the public about the auction of proposed leases
is on a bulletin board in the BLM office. Private landowners, cities and other
stakeholders are upset with the agency for issuing leases in sensitive areas
with limited public notice. River outfitters have been surprised to see
drilling rigs show up in river bottoms.
The indiscriminant issuance of so many leases, even in municipal
water supply watersheds, has created a backlash in some areas that are normally
supportive of development. Protests are being filed by cities, realtors and
private property owners over the lack of protection for watersheds and private
property. Drilling can create significant run-off of water with high metal and
salt content. Rigs and heavy equipment can damage land. Drilling rigs are
showing up on private land where owners do not own subsurface mineral rights to
Legislation providing more protection for private
property recently passed by unanimous vote in a committee in the Colorado
legislature. The goal of the legislation is to reimburse property owners for
the damage caused by drilling. A similar law is already in effect in Wyoming.
The city of Grand Junction, Colorado recently protested leases for gas drilling
in the watershed for the city's water supply. At the same time the city bid on
some leases in other areas in hopes of realizing revenues from their own wells.
At the recent meeting of Colorado and Utah outfitters, concern was
expressed about BLM's failure to keep the public informed of proposed auctions.
Outfitters in the area have also raised concerns about drilling next to the
river in Labyrinth Canyon and the lack of information made available to the
||Plan Ahead Before Firing an
||Whether you have an employment contract or not, all
employees and executives have legal rights, so protect yourself by doing the
Keep a detailed record of the employee's or executive's actions and
nonactions which resulted in the termination. You may need this to support your
case in a lawsuit.
· Don't hold
back any part of an employee's salary without good reason and only after
consultation with your lawyer. Most states have laws that require employers to
pay salaries promptly.
your company's benefit plans and be sure to pay the terminated employee any
accumulated money due.
the employee leaves, make sure all property belonging to the company is
returned. This can include such items as: customer list, financial statements,
projections, legal contracts, and marketing plans.
· Review any employment contracts for potential
problems (e.g., you must give three months' written notice) before terminating
any employee; also check with your lawyer about enforcing any noncompete,
confidentiality, or trade secret provisions.
· Check the company's bylaws and stockholder
agreements for obligations. For example, the executive may have the right to
sell his or her stock back to the company or you personally within a certain
period of time. Pay attention to the time period and arrange for the cash
needed to purchase the stock.
If a terminated executive has signatory power over the company's bank accounts,
withdraw that power immediately.
· When notifying your employees, suppliers, and/or customers
that the employee is no longer with the company, be careful that your wording
doesn't bring on a libel or slander suit.
· Don't forget to ask the employee or executive for office
keys, company credit cards, and his files on the company's business.
Before firing an employee, particularly one with an employment
contract, ask your lawyer to review your written memorandum of the reasons for
the dismissal as well as any legal documents or memos related to his or her
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