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America Outdoors E-News

January 15, 2008

Template for Members to Use to Submit Comments to Forest Service Permitting Directives Posted on the AO Website. Conference Call for Questions Set for January 18th E-Marketer Presentation Available to AO Members
Tributary of Futaleufu River in Chile Threatened by Gold Mine Write Letters Opposing Language Authorizing Taxes on River Trips in Coast Guard Authorization Bill
Big Mergers of Outfitters Underway in West Virginia    
Template for Members to Use to Submit Comments to Forest Service Permitting Directives
Posted on the AO Website.
Conference Call for Questions Set for January 18th.

A template for members to use to submit comments on the Forest Service permitting directives is available on the AO website. Please write your comments and submit them as soon as possible. Comments are due by February 19th. The template includes instructions on submitting comments and draft comments that you should customize to your circumstances. Sample comments from members are also on the site. Go to Member Resources on the AO web site.

A file was sent to all known Forest Service outfitter members, but since some spam filters caught the attachment, some Forest Service outfitter members did not receive the notice.

Outfitters operating on BLM lands should also comment, even if briefly, because the agencies often coordinate their directives.

The link on the first page of the instructions goes directly to the Forest Service website for submission of electronic comments. That Forest Service site allows attachments. It is essential that you comment on the directives prior to February 19th, the close of the comment period. If you have questions about this document or the proposed comments or how to customize them to your situation, please contact David Brown at dbrown@americaoutdoors.org or call 865-558-3595

Please plan to spend an hour or two customizing your comments. Your opportunity to operate in National Forests depends upon it.

The template includes proposed comments for the Federal Register Notice and the draft Forest Service Handbook, which are linked. The Forest Service Handbook contains specific direction to field staff on permit administration, so comments on that draft is essential.

Members may attend a conference call on January 18th at 1:00 PM to 1:30 PM EST to ask questions about the draft comments and about how to submit comments. The dial in number is 866-279-3280 Passcode is 9088396

A short letter is also available which you may customize to enable your business associates to submit comments. Please drop me an email if you want that document. dbrown@americaoutdoors.org

You may access more information on the directives on the AO website www.americaoutdoors.org under Government Affairs. http://www.americaoutdoors.org/AOAlertMain.asp?Option=10

E-Marketer Presentation Available to AO Members
  An entertaining and interesting Powerpoint presentation from Geoff Ramsey at E-Marketer is available to AO members by clicking the following link. Warning: a high speed connection is needed. It takes a minute or two to download the presentation but it is worth it. So be patient. You will need Powerpoint on your computer. Once the presentation is up, click each slide to transition to the next. This presentation is full of great information and entertaining facts.
Click through to a link. Then click open to view the presentation immediately.
Tributary of Futaleufu River in Chile
Threatened by Gold Mine
  One of the world's greatest adventure tourism destinations is being threatened by the plans of Kinross Gold Corporation, of Canada and Geocom Resources Inc. of the United States. These junior level mining concerns are intent on establishing a gold mine along the Rio Espolon, a major tributary of the Futaleufu River. Discovery work was conducted within the claim in 2006 resulting in the release of assay results in April, 2007. Along with substantially high gold deposits, some as concentrated as 20.9 grams per tonne, the assay also returned reports of a "massive" sulfide layer nearly three meters thick within the ore body. These sulfide layers are notorious for producing Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) - sulfuric acid - a potent environmental poison which is discharged from mine tailings. Furthermore, such toxic drainage can go on for centuries, long after a mine has shuttered its operation. Rather than declare the area unfit for a safe mining enterprise, Kinross Gold Corporation and Geocom Resources Inc. have instead elevated the Espolon Claim to a "formal venture status" thus instigating a confrontation with determined and established environmental organizations(1) and adventure travel outfitters for the future of the region, as outlined below. Source: Earth River Expeditions website. http://patagonia-under-siege.blogspot.com/2007/12/double-threat-of-cyanide-leach-mining.html

Write Letters Opposing Language Authorizing Taxes on River Trips in Coast Guard Authorization Bill
  Below you'll find an excellent example of a letter to a Representative on the proposed language that would authorize taxes on services on navigable waterways through the Coast Guard Authorization bill. Please see the letter from Dave McKay of Colorado River and Trail Expeditions. Write your letter to Congress today. Write your Representative and Senators. Faxed letters are best. Emails are not taken as seriously.
To find contact information for House members from your state go to: http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW_by_State.shtml
For the Senate go to: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

The Honorable

Washington, DC 20515

FAX: 1-202-

Dear Congressman:

RE: Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2007 - H.R. 2830 - Deletion of Section 302 As a constituent of your Congressional District and the owner of a small business that conducts river trips in Utah, Alaska, Arizona, and Colorado, I am writing to ask you to support the deletion of Section 302, Goods and Services, from the Coast Guard Authorization Act when this bill is considered. Representative Oberstar is the bill's sponsor. The House Committee on Energy and Commerce, of which you are a member, is likely to consider the bill early this year

Section 302 of the bill overturns provisions of the Rivers and Harbors Appropriate Act of 1884 that prevented vessels operating on navigable waters from being taxed by every local and state government through which they transit. Interestingly, the bill provides an exemption for vessels involved in foreign commerce (cruise ships), while allowing additional taxes to be imposed upon small fishing operations, rafting outfitters, and guiding companies. I say "additional taxes, "because we are already paying fees and taxes to various state and federal entities, including, but not limited to, income taxes, sales tax, registration fees, concession fees, land use fees, right of entry fees, launch fees, and visitor fees. If every town, city, borough, county, or other local taxing entity through which we travel on our river trips is allowed to levy fees and taxes upon our rafting expeditions, hundreds of dollars could conceivably be added to the cost of a trip. Also, the record keeping and paper work required would be an overwhelming burden to our small office staff of three people.

Congressman ___________, small seasonal businesses like ours are already suffering from the general economic downturn, higher fuel costs, exorbitant health insurance rates, and existing fees and taxes. We value our experienced and professional employees and want to pay them well for the great work that they do. Why should they be denied a cost of living raise because more taxes are cutting into our ever-decreasing profit margin? Similarly, how can we ask our clients to pay more taxes on a river trip than they will pay on an Alaskan cruise? Please help us by removing Section 302 from the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2007.

In appreciation of your time, I have intentionally kept this letter brief. I will be happy to provide more details upon request.

Thank you very much for your earnest consideration of this issue.


Your name
Your company name
Your address
City, state, zip
  Big Mergers of Outfitters Underway in West Virginia
  A newly created company, River Expeditions, is the result of the merger of five companies in West Virginia. Rivers, Extreme Expeditions, Appalachian Wildwaters, USA Raft, and Rock-N-Roll Rafting recently merged into one company. Other mergers of large companies in West Virginia are expected this spring. Mergers are also in offing on the Ocoee, according to the rumor mill.
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America Outdoors Staff Title E-mail address
David L. Brown Executive Director dbrown@americaoutdoors.org
Robin Brown Communications Director robin@americaoutdoors.org
Chrystal Graham Office Manager office@americaoutdoors.org
Office Phone 865-558-3595
Office Fax 865-558-3598

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