The Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) surveyed its membership about user fees via email from July 25 to August 24 using The Leisure Trends group. Thirty percent of the 804 surveys that were emailed also responded. Myrna Johnson, vice president of Government Affairs for the Outdoor Industry Association, says the response was especially significant since the vast majority of the surveys returned were filled in by owners, presidents, and upper management.
What follows is OIA's official position on user fees following the survey results:
- The Outdoor Industry Association supports a public process in which the merits of charging fees for recreational use of lands can be fully debated. The process must include and consider the views of the outdoor industry, all varieties of outdoor users, the conservation community and the general public.
- The Outdoor Industry Association opposes continuing to extend the fee demo program through the appropriations process. It is now time for fee policy to be considered and developed by the appropriate authorizing committees. Six years is long enough to gather information on the viability and direction of this program.
- The Outdoor Industry Association can only consider supporting certain user fees if there is a firm commitment to adequate public land funding via appropriations with an emphasis on restoration and maintenance.
- The Outdoor Industry Association supports affordable entrance fees to National Parks and use fees at developed campground sites on public lands.
- Fees at other developed sites must meet strong criteria.
- The Outdoor Industry Association opposes fees for undeveloped recreation activities, such as trail use, backcountry hiking, and mountaineering.
- The Outdoor Industry Association commits to participating in the public process that we believe is required for evaluating and setting parameters for this program. Fees will impact outdoor recreation for the future, as well as how recreation is managed on public lands. The Outdoor Industry Association pledges to work with Congress and the public land agencies to ensure that our customers will continue to enjoy quality, affordable, outdoor recreation opportunities on America’s public lands.
- To read the complete survey and other material OIA has regarding user fees, click on: http://nt1.adventuresports.com/association/oia/OIAmain.asp?Option=List