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Don't forget to send in your
comments on the Forest Service
permitting directives.
from David Brown, Executive Director

January 31, 2008

Comment on the Proposed Forest Service Permitting Directives America Outdoors Working on Border Issues That May Hinder Travel for Members' Customers
Authorization for New Taxing Authority for Navigable Waters Still Hung Up in the House    
Comment on the Proposed Forest Service
Permitting Directives

As you may know, the comment period on the proposed directives for permitting outfitters and guides in National Forests is currently scheduled to end on February 19, 2008. We have heard that there may be another extension to the comment period; however, we recommend that you submit your comments as soon as possible to ensure they are received on time. If you have already sent your comments to the Forest Service, congratulations! Send a copy to dbrown@americaoutdoors.org if you have not done so already.

Comments should be submitted electronically at http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=SubmitComment&o=09000064803304bc

You will find a template for submitting comments at http://www.americaoutdoors.org/docs/TemplateMembersComments.doc

You may copy and paste the document into your word processor and customize your comments.

For an electronic version of the document, send an email to dbrown@americaoutdoors.org

If you need help or have questions, please call David Brown, Executive Director, at 800-524-4814. If you want your comments reviewed prior to submission, send them well in advance of the comment deadline to dbrown@americaoutdoors.org

America Outdoors Working on Border Issues
That May Hinder Travel for Members' Customers
  The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), which is supposed to be implemented by June 2009, initially required all travelers crossing the Canadian and Mexican borders to carry a passport. The reaction to the adverse economic impacts on border states caused the Department of Homeland Security to scale back its initial efforts. Then Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff inflamed many members of Congress and travel and tourism industry leaders when he told critics of his plans to "grow up".

Members of Congress in the Niagara Falls area were particularly angered by the comment. Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-NY, and Rep. Thomas Reynolds, R-NY, both criticized Chertoff and his plan to require cross border travelers to carry birth certificates as the first step. That plan is supposed to go into effect January 31st.

Representative Reynolds, a Republican with close ties to the Bush Administration, was blunt. "Secretary Chertoff thus far hasn't proven capable of implementing portions of WHTI (the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative), and frankly has as much credibility on telling people to grow up as 'Geoffrey the Giraffe'," Reynolds said in a prepared statement. "DHS should focus more on getting things right than pointing fingers at the hard-working families and businesses of Western New York."

America Outdoors' efforts in Washington are aimed at fixes for problems impacting a few key members. The Travel Industry Association of America, of which AO is a member, is tackling the larger issue. According to TIA, "Canadians made more than 40 million visits to the United States in 2006, spending more than $13.5 billion. Canadian travel to America is too important to place at risk," said Roger Dow, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Travel Industry Association. "Just a five percent decline in Canadian visits to the United States could cost the American economy nearly $700 million. At a time when we must stimulate our economy, we cannot afford to implement the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative in a way that will hinder legitimate border travel without enhancing security."

  Coast Guard Authorization Bill with New Taxing Authority for Navigable Waters Still Hung Up in the House
  America Outdoors continues to work to remove Sec. 302 from H.R. 2830, which authorizes new sales and amusement taxes on services on navigable waters. The bill would allow multiple government jurisdictions to levy taxes on services provided by outfitters and others. Sec. 302 is not in the Senate version of the bill, S. 1892. To see a letter sent to Senator Snowe, (R-ME), go to http://www.americaoutdoors.org/newsandmedia.php?doctype=2 The password to access the area in the future is RENO.
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America Outdoors® Inc., PO Box 10847, Knoxville, TN, 37939

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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