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February 21, 2007

America Outdoors E-News

Representative DeFazio (D-OR) Proposes to Kill Forest Service Recreation Fee Initiative Is Your Reservation Staff Helping You Make the Sale?
Coast Guard Goaded by NPS to Require Regulation of Motorized Raft Trips Jim Segerstrom Founder of Swiftwater Rescue Technician Program Dies
Representative DeFazio (D-OR) Proposes to Kill Forest Service Recreation Fee Initiative
  The amenity fees approved under the Federal Land Recreation Enhancement Act (REA), which are now being used to inventory and close some Forest Service recreation facilities, may be revised or eliminated if Representative DeFazio (D-OR) has his way. DeFazio accepts the notion of fees for campgrounds but has concerns about other elements of REA. He wants REA repealed and a new bill voted on through the appropriate committee processes. The existing legislation was stuffed into a huge Appropriations bill in 2004 and hustled through Congress bypassing the formal committee process. Hearings were held, but the bill was never voted out of the House Committee on Natural Resources, now reorganized under Democratic control.

REA is also being used as the authorization for outfitter and guides fees. It allows most of the fees to be retained by agency where they are collected. DeFazio is a member of the House Committee on Natural Resources. For outfitters the expanded amenity fee is collected for use of high impact areas, specialized boat launching facilities with toilets and parking, and trail heads with facilities, such as pack stations. Since any new legislation could impact outfitter and guide fees, including permit fees, AO will follow this effort closely.
Is Your Reservation Staff Helping You Make the Sale?
  America Outdoors has signed an agreement with Signature Worldwide to provide two marketing programs to members: Mystery Phone Shops and Regional Reservations Training sessions for your staff. These programs are designed to help you manage the customer experience from the first phone call.

Mystery Phone Shops. The Mystery Phone Shopping program starts when a Signature 'shopper' will call your company and inquire regarding your services and pricing. They will behave like just another customer. This phone call will be recorded into Signature's shopping system and you will be able to listen to the call and coach your staff. Signature will also provide a score sheet on the call.

These calls are a great window into the customer experience and provide an important dose of reality. Almost all of your customer interaction begins with a phone call. These Mystery Shopping calls will help you determine if your employees are promoting all your services appropriately. You will hear for yourself if they are promoting your products, building a relationship with the caller, asking for the sale, and qualifying the caller. All of these components will impact your business and your reputation.

Your investment in the mystery shopping program will be a one-time set up fee of $100 (per organization) and $30 per shop. A minimum of 12 shops must be requested over a four month period. Please use this Registration Form for the program.

Signature Worldwide specializes in delivering customized training programs that provide frontline staff the tools and skills to consistently exceed customers' expectations. Contact Barry Himmel at 800-398-0518 for more information
Coast Guard Goaded by NPS to Require Regulation of Motorized Raft Trips
  The U.S. Coast Guard is developing inspection and regulatory criteria for motorized inflatable raft trips in Utah and below Glen Canyon Dam. In Utah State Parks will conduct the inspections. The new requirements, which were not made known in the prospectus for one outfitter, have cost their operation nearly $14,000 for just half of their twenty boat fleet.

Abandon ship drills, pressure testing and stability tests are all part of the inspection regime which the outfitter has to pay for. Any modification of the vessel requires a new inspection by the Coast Guard. Since some of these inflatable vessels are de-rigged often, this will present a new challenge to the inspection regime.
Jim Segerstrom Founder of Swiftwater Rescue Technician Program Dies
  Jim Segerstrom, the founder of the Swiftwater Rescue Technician Program and a partner in Rescue 3, passed away Feb. 5th. Many in A.O. will remember Jim from a Western River Guides Convention in Salt Lake City in 1980 where he spoke to us about a new Swift Water Rescue Certification Program he had created and a new organization called Rescue 3.

Jim grew the Swift Water Rescue Technician Program into a highly regarded training program, known worldwide. The training is now offered in over 30 countries throughout the world and is regarded as the state of the art swift water program.

He had suffered a small stroke on Thursday, February 1, followed by a second one while in the hospital. He was transferred to the neurological ICU at UC San Francisco's Moffitt Hospital where he passed away on February 5.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Shiree, Christian, the Segerstrom Family, the Tuolumne County Search and Rescue, and the hundreds of friends Jim had around the globe. More information.
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David L. Brown Executive Director dbrown@americaoutdoors.org
Robin Brown Communications Director robin@americaoutdoors.org
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