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America Outdoors Association

November 8, 2010

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America Outdoors Association Bulletin

AOA Conference Attendance Looking Strong.  More Exhibitors with Money-Saving Services and Products to Diversify Your Operations

Election Changes Line-up of Leadership of Key Committees in the House

Forest Service Proposes New Directive on Enhancing Partnership

I-161 Ballot Initiative Eliminates Outfitters’ Out of State Hunting Licenses

AOA Conference Attendance Looking Strong.  

The discount for early registration ends this week so register on line at http://www.americaoutdoors.org to save money.  Get in on the fun and the latest strategies so you’re your business will grow as the economy continues its steady recovery. 

Election Changes Line-up of Leadership of Key Committees in the House

The lame duck session is expected to convene in mid November with consideration of appropriations bills, extension of existing tax cuts and a defense authorization bill. The Senate is supposed to convene on November 15th. The current Democrat leadership will preside over both the House and the Senate during the lame duck session.

After Congress reconvenes in 2011, a number of key committees in the U.S. House of Representatives will see new chairs. In consultation with other members, these Chairmen control the agenda, set hearings and decide which legislative initiatives move through their committee. Some of the chairs of key committees and subcommittees are already predictable. 

Interior Appropriations.  Mike Simpson, (R-ID).  This subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee develops budgets for all Interior and related agencies including the Forest Service, which is part of the Department of Agriculture. Rep. Simpson has already expressed a desire to head the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee and has said federal agencies will have to operate more efficiently in the future.

House Committee on Natural Resources – Doc Hastings (R-WA) is likely to assume Chairmanship of the full-committee which oversees management and authorization of activities in National Forests, National Parks, BLM and USFWS managed areas, energy and mineral resources, oceans, insular affairs and wildlife and water and power. 

Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands.  – Robert Bishop (R-UT) is most likely to succeed Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) as subcommittee chair. This subcommittee could be reorganized.  This committee authorizes new National Parks, Wild and Scenic Rivers, wilderness areas and other Congressional designations. It has the authority to oversee outfitter permits, concessions and fees. 

Transportation and Infrastructure – John L. Mica (R-FL) is line for chairmanship of the full committee which oversees the Coast Guard, Department of Transportation and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, flood control, highways and bridges, TSA, airports, aviation, registration and licensing of small boats, Federal management of emergencies and natural disasters and water power among other duties.  Jim Oberstar (DFL-MN) lost his bid for re-election after 35 years in Congress.

Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee – Frank L. LoBiondo (R-NJ) is line to take the subcommittee chairmanship.  Don Young (R-AK) serves on the committee and was once chairman of the Subcommittee.  This subcommittee will oversee the development of the next Coast Guard Authorization bill.  The last bill contained a repeal of the prohibition of state and local taxes on navigable waters under federal authority, which was removed before a final vote on the compromise between the House and the Senate versions.

Highways and Transit Subcommittee – John Duncan (R-TN) is likely to be the subcommittee chair.  This committee oversees highway safety regulations for commercial motor vehicles, which is important for the regulations governing 9 to 15 passenger vans, buses and motor coaches.   Representative Duncan also played a key role in opposing the repeal of the prohibition of state and local taxes for services on federally navigable waters.  He wrote Chairman Oberstar opposing the tax provision.

Forest Service Proposes New Directive on Enhancing Partnership

The Forest Service is proposing to establish an internal directive in the Forest Service Handbook (FSH) 1509.14 that would “enhance” policies related to partnerships.  Comments must be received in
writing by November 15, 2010.  AOA will post its proposed comments on the americaoutdoors.org website on November 9th.

The Forest Service is especially interested in receiving input to the following questions:
1. Purposes served by partnership arrangements: What should be the purpose(s) of partnership arrangements between the Forest Service and State, Tribal, non-governmental, or other
organizations or individuals? Where can or should partnerships have the greatest
impact in the future, and toward what ends?
2. Essential characteristics of partnerships: When the Forest Service and a partner work together, what are the essential characteristics that are needed in that relationship to lead to a successful outcome? In what ways does Agency guidance regarding the essential characteristics of the partnership relationship need clarification?
3. Reaching new partners: As the Nation’s demographics change, the people served by the Forest Service are becoming increasingly diverse. The Agency wants to reflect this diversity in its partnership activities. We are interested in hearing from the public about: (a) Which potential partners are
under-represented and under-served; (b) what kinds of work are these individuals or organizations involved in; (c) how engaging these partners will be beneficial; and (d) how the Forest Service can better access and communicate with under-represented and under-served groups.
4. Partner recognition and sponsorship: Increasingly, nongovernmental organizations and individuals are expressing interest in working with the Forest Service to improve the condition of our environment, including our Nation’s forests. The Forest Service is able to work with many of these organizations directly, as well as indirectly through established non-profits (for example, the National Forest Foundation and others). What are the appropriate ways the Forest Service should recognize our partners, both non-profit and for-profit?

Comments may be sent by email to Andrea Bedell-Loucks, Deputy Director, National Partnership Office,

I-161 Ballot Initiative Eliminates Outfitters’ Non Resident Hunting Licenses

By a slim margin, Montana voters approved the ballot initiative that eliminates non resident licenses for Montana outfitters.  Prices of non-resident tags will increase - Deer/elk combo licenses go up from $628 to $897 (up 43%) and deer combo goes from $328 to $527 (up 61%); resident licenses remain the same.  All non-resident licenses will be drawn by lottery leaving outfitter’s clients no assurance they will get licenses if they book a hunt. 

Mac Minard, Executive Director of Montana Outfitters and Guides Association, said passage of the initiative will hurt tourism in the State and cost Montanan’s jobs, especially in rural communities.  He commented that those who carefully studied the issue (who were not anti-outfitter) opposed passage of the initiative.  Many hunters in the state wrongly blame outfitters for their loss of access to hunting opportunities on private land.  By undermining outfitters access to licenses for out of state hunters, proponents of I-161 believe less private land will be leased by outfitters for exclusive hunting rights, when in fact many private land owners simply do not want unsupervised hunters running around on their private property.  Minard said another factor that led to I-161 passage was with the Secretary of State’s representation of the issue in the language on the ballot, which was biased in favor of the initiative proponents.  Minard is optimistic that the issue will be addressed in the future in way that restores outfitters ability to market hunts to out of state hunters and restores support for this important component of the Montana tourism industry.

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