January 18, 2007
America Outdoors E-News
||Schizophrenic Weather Pattern Creates New Opportunities
||While the East basked in subtropical temperatures heavy snow and cold
weather generated record attendance for Colorado ski resorts. Colorado Ski
Country USA reports its 26 member resorts posted record-setting skier
visitation for the first portion of the winter season. Collectively, Colorado
ski resorts hosted 3,285,649 skiers and snowboarders, an increase of 6.74
percent, or 207,533 visits, over October 31-December 31, 2006. One Colorado
front range outfitter reported record rental of cross country skis and
snowshoes. Many people were using them in their
Winter arrived in the
East in mid-January giving hope to winter snowmobile operations in Maine. With
no snow on the ground, many Maine outfitters were sweating the potential for a
total blowout of their snowmobile season.
Snowpack in the West is
spotty. Current snow depth over Oregon reflects the results of a large winter
storm that moved through the Pacific Northwest earlier in the week. The snow
water-equivalent values since the start of the 2007 Water Year (October 1,
2006) shows above normal amounts over the Washington Cascades and Front Range
of the Rockies in Colorado but below normal percentages dominate the remainder
of the West, especially over the Sierra Mountains and in Arizona. Some snow in
the central to northern Rocky Mountains has helped to improve snowpack
conditions for the region. In Wyoming, drought categories were expanded because
of low snow totals so far this year as well as reservoir and water supply
concerns. Drought indexes expanded in central Wyoming and northwest into
Montana. Drought indexes declined in southern Colorado as precipitation
deficits have improved and current snowpack is above average.
In Arizona, the
snowpack forecast was improved in north-central Arizona, while drought patterns
expanded from southwest Arizona to the north and west to include southern
Nevada. The water year has started off very badly in this region.
Drought conditions expanded along the California and Nevada border
and along the coast of California. Some agricultural impacts on grazing lands
have been reported in California, as pastures have not provided adequate forage
for many producers in the region
||Forest Service Appoints Abigail Kimbell
as New Forest Service Chief
||After 41 years of service, Forest Service Chief Dale
Bosworth announced his retirement. He will be replaced by the first woman to
serve as Chief, Abigail Kimbell, who is experienced with outfitter issues from
her service in Region 1 and in Alaska.
Kimbell currently serves as
Regional Forester for the Northern Region in Missoula, Montana, which includes
northern Idaho, and North Dakota. As Forest Service Chief, Kimbell will oversee
an organization of over 30,000 employees and a budget of just over $4 billion.
Before becoming regional forester, Kimbell served in the Washington Office as
Associate Deputy Chief for the National Forest System, with responsibility for
assisting in the development of the Healthy Forest
Jack Rich, America Outdoors'
Northern Rockies Chair, summarized his experience with Ms. Kimbell. "I've had
the opportunity to attend several meetings over the last three years at which
Gail was also in attendance. She comes off as very down to earth and
well-informed on the issues."
Outdoors Marketing and Management Conference, Set for Reno in 2007 and
Knoxville in 2008
||Get ready for another informative conference in 2007 as
America Outdoors returns to Reno, Nevada for its Marketing and Management
Conference, December 5-8 at the Silver Legacy Resort. Make plans now to be with
us in Reno for Confluence 2007.
Knoxville Tennessee's new
state-of-the-art convention center will host the America Outdoors conference in
2008 from December 3 to 6, 2008.
||NPS Proposed Insurance
Requirements for Small Contracts, CUA's, and Permits Are Impossible to
|| America Outdoors is working with the National Park
Service to modify newly proposed insurance requirements that require coverages
that are unavailable, unnecessary, and could force scores of outfitters and CUA
holders out of business. The requirements apply to outfitters whether they have
property inside National Park boundaries or operate from outside the
boundaries. There are two sets of proposals. One proposed policy was presented
by Price Waterhouse Coopers in late November at Confluence and the other was
drafted last spring. Both have debilitating requirements.
$3 million, CUA holders, Friends organizations, and permit holders would be
subject to these requirements:
The Director must
approve exceptions after obtaining letters from insurance companies stating the
coverage is not available. NPS continues to prohibit waivers of liability for
the inherent risks of the activity but will allow a Park approved Visitor
Acknowledgement of Risk Form. Ironically, NPS officials are exempted from
claims for their errors and omissions in their discretionary decision-making
during the normal course of their business.
- Carry $5,000,000
aggregate for pollution coverage and $3,000,000 for a single limit, which is
- Limits for liability
coverage are increased to $2 million aggregate
- Guides would have to
carry professional liability insurance (errors and omissions coverage), also
known as malpractice insurance in layman's terms, which is also unavailable;
- The Price Waterhouse
Coopers proposal required $50,000 in no fault medical payments per year, which
is not available or appropriate;
- Flood and quake
insurance would be required along with business interruption and extra expense
(to restart the business); "
- All insurance
providers will have to be "admitted" carriers. Virtually all the general
liability coverage for outfitters is provided by surplus lines carriers. None
are admitted. The policy requires that all carriers be "licensed" in the state
where they do business.
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