LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

RECREATION FEE DEMONSTRATION PROJECT

12/01

 

 

PL 104-134, HR 3019, Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations for fiscal year 1996 (4/26/96)

 

SEC. 315. RECREATIONAL FEE DEMONSTRATION PROGRAM.—

(a) The Secretary of the Interior (acting through the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service) and the Secretary of Agriculture (acting through the Forest Service) shall each implement a fee program to demonstrate the feasibility of user-generated cost recovery for the operation and maintenance of recreation areas or sites and habitat enhancement projects on Federal lands. 

(b) In carrying out the pilot program established pursuant to this section, the appropriate Secretary shall select from areas under the jurisdiction of each of the four agencies referred to in subsection (a) no fewer than 10, but as many as 50, areas, sites or projects for fee demonstration. For each such demonstration, the Secretary, notwithstanding any other provision of law—

(1) shall charge and collect fees for admission to the area or for the use of outdoor recreation sites, facilities, visitor centers, equipment, and services by individuals and groups, or any combination thereof;

(2) shall establish fees under this section based upon a variety of cost recovery and fair market valuation methods to provide a broad basis for feasibility testing;

(3) may contract, including provisions for reasonable commissions, with any public or private entity to provide visitor services, including reservations and information, and may accept services of volunteers to collect fees charged pursuant to paragraph (1);

(4) may encourage private investment and partnerships to enhance the delivery of quality customer services and resource enhancement, and provide appropriate recognition to

such partners or investors; and

(5) may assess a fine of not more than $100 for any violation of the authority to collect fees for admission to the area or for the use of outdoor recreation sites, facilities, visitor centers, equipment, and services.

(c)(1) Amounts collected at each fee demonstration area, site or project shall be distributed as follows:

(A) Of the amount in excess of 104% of the amount collected in fiscal year 1995, and thereafter annually adjusted upward by 4%, eighty percent to a special account in the Treasury for use without further appropriation, by the agency which administers the site, to remain available for expenditures in accordance with paragraph (2)(A).

(B) Of the amount in excess of 104% of the amount collected in fiscal year 1995, and thereafter annually adjusted upward by 4%, 20 percent to a special account in the Treasury for use without further appropriation, by the agency which administers the site, to remain available for expenditure in accordance with paragraph (2)(B).

(C) For agencies other than the Fish and Wildlife Service, up to 15% of current year collections of each agency, but not greater than fee collection costs for that fiscal year, to remain available for expenditure without further appropriation in accordance with paragraph (2)(C).

(D) For agencies other than the Fish and Wildlife Service, the balance to the special account established pursuant to subparagraph (A) of section 4(i)(1) of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act, as amended.

(E) For the Fish and Wildlife Service, the balance shall be distributed in accordance with section 201(c) of the Emergency Wetlands Resources Act.

(2)(A) Expenditures from site specific special funds shall be for further activities of the area, site or project from which funds are collected, and shall be accounted for separately.

(B) Expenditures from agency specific special funds shall be for use on an agency-wide basis and shall be accounted for separately.

(C) Expenditures from the fee collection support fund shall be used to cover fee collection costs in accordance with section 4(i)(1)(B) of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act, as amended: Provided, That funds unexpended and unobligated at the end of the fiscal year shall not be deposited into the special account established pursuant to section 4(i)(1)(A) of said Act and shall remain available for expenditure without further appropriation.

(3) In order to increase the quality of the visitor experience at public recreational areas and enhance the protection of resources, amounts available for expenditure under this section may only be used for the area, site or project concerned, for backlogged repair and maintenance projects (including projects relating to health and safety) and for interpretation, signage, habitat or facility enhancement, resource preservation, annual operation (including fee collection), maintenance, and law enforcement relating to public use. The agency-wide accounts may be used for the same purposes set forth in the preceding sentence, but for areas, sites or projects selected at the discretion of the respective agency head.

(d)(1) Amounts collected under this section shall not be taken into account for the purposes of the Act of May 23, 1908 and the Act of March 1, 1911 (16 U.S.C. 500), the Act of March 4, 1913 (16 U.S.C. 501), the Act of July 22, 1937 (7 U.S.C. 1012), the Act of August 8, 1937 and the Act of May 24, 1939 (43 U.S.C. 1181f et seq.), the Act of June 14, 1926 (43 U.S.C. 869–4), chapter 69 of title 31, United States Code, section 401 of the Act of June 15, 1935 (16 U.S.C. 715s), the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965 (16 U.S.C. 460l), and any other provision of law relating to revenue allocation.

(2) Fees charged pursuant to this section shall be in lieu of fees charged under any other provision of law.

(e) The Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture shall carry out this section without promulgating regulations.

(f) The authority to collect fees under this section shall commence on October 1, 1995, and end on September 30, 1998. Funds in accounts established shall remain available through September 30, 2001.

 

 

PL 104-208, HR 3610, Making Appropriations for the Department of Defense for FY 1997 (9/30/96) 

 

(Bill not printed.  The following language is contained in House Report 104-863)

Sec. 319. Section 101(c) of Public Law 104 134 is amended as follows:  Under the heading “Title III--General Provisions” amend section 315(b) by striking “50, areas,” and inserting in lieu thereof “100, areas,” and amend section 315(f) by striking “September 30, 1998” and inserting in lieu thereof “September 30, 1999” and by striking “September 30, 2001” and inserting in lieu thereof “September 30, 2002”.

 

 

HR 1469, 1997 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Recovery from Natural Disasters, and for Overseas Peacekeeping Efforts, Including Those in Bosnia (Vetoed by President)

 

House Report 105-83 (HR 1469)

 

Sec. 401.--The Committee recommends amending the recreation fee demonstration pilot program which was enacted in fiscal year 1996. The amendment would remove the inflation “penalty” in the current legislation which reduces the amount of fees which are kept by the individual fee collecting units each year. The amendment also changes the base year for calculating fee increases from fiscal year 1995 to fiscal year 1994. These changes will result in additional fees being retained by individual collecting units beginning in fiscal year 1997 and continuing through the end of the pilot program. The decrease in revenues to the Treasury in fiscal year 1997 resulting from this amendment are offset by a rescission in the Clean Coal Technology program in the Department of Energy.

 

The Committee recommends a rescission of $17,000,000 for clean coal technology. This rescission includes $10,000,000, as proposed by the Administration to offset the appropriation for implementing the transportation plan for Yosemite National Park and $7,000,000 to offset the fiscal year 1997 impact of the amendment to the recreation fee demonstration pilot program addressed in Section 401 of chapter 4 in this title. These funds are available for rescission due to projects that have been terminated prior to completion. The rescission is not specific to any particular round of clean coal projects.

 

Language is included in Title I, chapter 4, under General Provision, Department of the Interior and Related Agencies, amending the recreational fee demonstration program which was enacted in fiscal year 1996.

 

Conference Report 105-119 (HR 1469)

 

Section 5001.--The conference agreement includes language in section 5001 that amends the recreation fee demonstration program to permit the collecting agencies to keep 100% of the funds in excess of the amount collected for fiscal year 1994 as proposed by the House and by the Senate.

 

 

PL 105-18, HR 1871, Making emergency supplemental appropriations for recovery from natural disasters, and for overseas peacekeeping efforts, including those in Bosnia, for the fiscal year ending September 30, 1997, and for other purposes.  (6/12/97)

 

SEC. 5001. Section 101(c) of Public Law 104-134 is amended as follows: Under the heading `Title III--General Provisions' amend sections 315(c)(1)(A) and 315(c)(1)(B) by striking in each of those sections `104%' and inserting in lieu thereof `100%'; by striking in each of those sections `1995' and inserting in lieu thereof `1994'; and by striking in each of those sections `and thereafter annually adjusted upward by 4%,'.

 

 

PL 105-83, HR 2107, Making appropriations for the Department of the Interior and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 1998, and for other purposes. (11/14/97)

 

SEC. 107. In fiscal year 1998 and thereafter, for those years in which the recreation fee demonstration program authorized in Public Law 104-134 is in effect, the fee collection support authority provided in 16 U.S.C. 460l-6(i)(1)(B) applies only to parks not included in the fee demonstration program, and that the amount retained under this authority to cover fee collection costs will not exceed those costs at the non-demonstration parks, or 15 percent of all fees collected at non-demonstration parks in a fiscal year whichever is less. Fee collection costs for parks included in the fee demonstration program will be covered by the fees retained at those parks.

 

Sec. 320. (a) Section 101(c) of Public Law 104-134 is amended as follows:  Under the heading ``TITLE III--GENERAL PROVISIONS'' amend section 315(c)(1) by striking subparagraphs (A) and (B) and inserting:

“(A) Eighty percent to a special account in the Treasury for use without further appropriation, by the agency which administers the site, to remain available for expenditure in accordance with paragraph (2)(A).

“(B) Twenty percent to a special account in the Treasury for use without further appropriation, by the agency which administers the site, to remain available for expenditure in accordance with paragraph (2)(B).”

(b) Subparagraph (C) of section 315(c)(1) is amended by inserting “and the National Park Service” after “the Fish and Wildlife Service.”

 

SEC. 321. None of the funds collected under the Recreational Fee Demonstration program may be used to plan, design, or construct a visitor center or any other permanent structure without prior approval of the House and the Senate Committees on Appropriations if the estimated total cost of the facility exceeds $500,000.

 

House Report 105-163

 

RECREATIONAL FEE DEMONSTRATION PROGRAM

 

The Committee is closely monitoring the development of the Recreational Fee Demonstration Program, authorized in fiscal year 1996.  This is a unique opportunity for the bureaus to develop and test a broad variety of cost recovery methods at 100 units per agency. This program was developed in direct response to the land management agencies' concern over their growing backlog maintenance needs. According to the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Forest Service, their combined estimated backlog is $10 billion dollars.  The Committee does not intend to offset these additional dollars with reductions to appropriations in future years. However, the Committee wants to emphasize that these funds are to be used primarily to reduce the backlog maintenance requirements. The Committee understands that some projects may be necessary to enhance visitor services and safety and demonstrate to the public that their dollars are being spent wisely. The Committee has included bill language in section 321 prohibiting the use of these fees for any visitor center or permanent structure without advance Committee approval.  Also, the Committee understands that the bulk of the funds will be collected at the largest units. This is particularly true for the National Park Service. The Committee wants to remind the agencies that 80% of the fees collected may be retained in the units where fees are collected and the 20% balance should be allocated to the smaller units in the systems.  The Committee applauds the Forest Service's efforts to try a wide variety of projects. This will assist in determining through real experience what works and what is problematic. The Committee encourages all of the agencies to offer a wide array of projects including those that are out of the traditional recreation mainstream and are not merely increased entrance fees. 

 

In an effort to assure accountability for these funds, the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture are directed to prepare a joint report for the Committees on Appropriations by January 31, 1998.  This report should contain specific lists of backlog projects in priority order for each of the four agencies. It should report fees collected in fiscal year 1997, estimates for fiscal year 1998, and identify the projects that will be completed in each fiscal year. Also included should be a list of the different methods of collection, lessons learned and suggestions for legislative and management improvements.  This report should be updated and submitted annually by January 31st until the demonstration program is completed.  The Committee is concerned that there has been inadequate interagency cooperation and coordination with the selection and implementation of new fees into a coherent, seamless Federal fee system for regions.  Visitors should not be faced with a plethora of fees from several bureaus in the same geographic area. The bureaus are instructed to be attentive to visitor complaints this summer about this problem and work to resolve the situation. The public's support for this program is essential if Congress is to consider a permanent recreational fee program after fiscal year 1999. 

 

In addition to providing focused increases for operational shortfalls and backlog maintenance projects, the Committee has taken two actions to enhance the Recreational Fee Demonstration Program. As part of the fiscal year 1997 Emergency Supplemental Bill, the Committee included language in Section 5001 that amends the demonstration program to permit the collecting agencies to keep 100% of the funds in excess of the amount collected for fiscal year 1994. This action changes the base year and removes the 4 percent inflationary factor. In addition, the Committee recommends language in this bill which allows the Service to retain 100 percent of all fees collected through this program, of which 80 percent remains in the collecting unit. The National Park Service has long complained about its growing backlog of maintenance needs. While the Committee expects that most of these additional funds will be used specifically to reduce the backlog  maintenance problem, limited funds may be used to improve visitor services so that the American public will see immediate results.  The Committee intends to keep a very close accounting of the current maintenance backlog and how the additional funds are being used to reduce that backlog. The Park Service is directed to submit a current list of maintenance backlog projects per unit and priority, excluding all road projects that will qualify for the Federal Lands Highway Funds.  The submission should also include specific criteria established by the Washington leadership used to qualify projects for the backlog list and the system the Service intends to put in place to allocate the additional dollars and monitor the progress. The Committee notes that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been able to identify and prioritize its maintenance and operational requirements in a very usable format, and continued internal resistance from the National Park Service in this regard is unacceptable.  Language is included in Section 321 of the bill which prohibits the use of the recreational fee funds to plan, design, or construct any visitor center or other permanent structure without prior approval of both the House and the Senate Committees on Appropriations. This language also applies to significant reconstruction.

 

The Committee also commends the Park Service for its excellent work in developing a new line item construction program which will be reflected in the fiscal year 1999 budget submission. The current system places primary emphasis on the importance of individual projects to specific parks with secondary or no consideration given to a project's contribution to the National Park System. This method oftentimes placed greater importance on the larger parks where visitation is greater. This has contributed to the large backlog in the other units. This new approach is expected to be more balanced and, combined with the additional revenues generated by the Committee's Recreational Fee Demonstration Program, should enable the Park Service to reduce dramatically its backlog of maintenance needs over the next few years. 

 

Recreation use.-- The Committee recommends $218,293,000 for recreation use, $2,000,000 above the budget request and $7,142,000 above the 1997 funding level. The Committee is pleased with the spirit of entrepreneurship and action that the Forest Service has used to implement the recreation fee demonstration program, and accordingly has increased the recreation management activity funding so that all fixed cost increases are covered. The Committee encourages the Forest Service to continue in this spirit and to be more inclusive of non-traditional recreation projects when selecting additional pilots for the demonstration program. The Committee stresses that the recreation fee demonstration authority is intended to permit the Federal agencies to enter into cooperative agreements with other Federal, State, county, city, tribal, and other governmental entities for joint fee projects.  The Committee intends that: (1) under these cooperative agreements, one party may collect fees authorized under another party's jurisdiction on behalf of that party and distribute those fees to that party; (2) once fees are divided according to a mutually agreed upon cooperative agreement, the process for allocating funds prescribed in the recreation fee demonstration should apply to fees authorized by the fee demonstration; and (3) these cooperative agreements should be attached to recreation fee demonstration project business plans and included in the parties' fiscal records. Detailed instructions regarding the implementation of the recreation fee demonstration project and reporting requirements are included at the front of this report so that similar requirements pertain to each of the four agencies included in the fee demonstration.

 

Section 320 amends the Recreational Fee Demonstration program established as section 315 in the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 1996. The amendment permits the land management agencies to keep 100 percent of funds collected by the program beginning in fiscal year 1998. 

 

Section 321 prohibits the use of recreational fees for the construction of any permanent structure without advance Committee approval.

 

Language is included in Title III--General provisions, limiting the use of funds for issuing a final rulemaking on jurisdiction over subsistence fishing in Alaska; limiting the use of funds for enforcing certain timber policies; amending the pilot recreational fee demonstration program for the land management agencies in this bill by removing the base year provision; requiring Committee approval prior to using recreational fees for constructing permanent buildings; providing greater flexibility for use of the reforestation trust fund by the Forest Service; prohibiting use of funds for certain Secretary of Agriculture office functions; requiring social and economic analysis be included in the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management project documents; and specifying conditions under which certain counties and municipalities in the State of New York may participate in Heritage area programs. 

 

Senate Report 105-56

 

Recreation use. --The Committee recommends $224,571,000 for recreation use, which is $8,278,000 above the budget request. The Committee applauds the initiatives taken by the Forest Service in several recreation programs, including implementation of the Recreation Fee Demonstration Program, attention to universal accessibility for recreation facilities, and establishment of partnerships for development and management of the recreation program. The Committee continues to believe that the Recreation Fee Demonstration Program can play a significant role in reducing the size of the maintenance backlog. The Forest Service is encouraged to ensure adequate attention is given to the collection of fees in recreation demonstration areas in order to make the public fully cognizant of the reasons fees are needed and the projects which such fees will finance. Modern collection methods, including the use of credit and debit cards is encouraged in high-use areas. The Committee is encouraged by past efforts to showcase universal access sites and encourages continued application of universal access standards in new sites where possible. 

 

Sec. 320. Deletes House language amending the recreation fee demonstration program.  Sec. 321. Includes language requiring prior approval by the Appropriations Committees before commencing planning, design, or construction of any project funded with recreation fee demonstration moneys when the estimated total project cost is greater than $500,000. 

 

Sec. 341. Exempts residents who reside within the boundaries of units of local government which receive payments under the payments in lieu of taxes [PILT] program from paying user fees in fiscal year 1998, under the Recreation Fee Demonstration Program, for access to the White Mountain National Forest. The Committee directs the Forest Service not to supplement White Mountain National Forest recreation programs which would otherwise be financed with these receipts, from other funds.     

 

Conference Report 105-337

 

Amendment No. 57: Deletes language proposed by the House and stricken by the Senate restricting the use of funds for finalizing a rule or regulation pertaining to the recognition, management, or validity of a right-of-way pursuant to Revised Statute 2477 and inserts language providing that Park Service units participating in the recreation fee demonstration program cover the cost of collecting fees within the funds retained at each unit. The managers note that 80% of all fees collected under the demonstration project are retained by the collecting unit.

 

Amendment No. 132: Modifies language proposed by the House and stricken by the Senate which permits all fees collected through the recreation fee demonstration program to be used by the collecting agency. The modification adds language stipulating that the National Park Service should pay administrative costs for collecting fees from the funds that are retained by each collecting unit.

 

Amendment No. 133: Modifies House language as proposed by the Senate limiting the use of recreation fees to construct visitor centers or other permanent structures, to permit such construction if the total estimated cost does not exceed $500,000. 

 

Amendment No. 151: Deletes language inserted by the Senate exempting residents in communities which receive lower-than-authorized PILT payments from paying user fees under the recreation fee demonstration program for the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire and inserts language renaming Walnut Creek NWR, IA as the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge.

 

 

PL 105-277, HR 4328, Making appropriations for the Department of Transportation and related agencies for FY 1999.  (10/21/98)

 

Sec. 316. None of the funds collected under the Recreational Fee Demonstration program may be used to plan, design, or construct a visitor center or any other permanent structure without prior approval of the House and the Senate Committees on Appropriations if the estimated total cost of the facility exceeds $500,000.

 

Sec. 327. Section 101(c) of Public Law 104-134, as amended, is further amended as follows: Under the heading “Title III--General Provisions” amend section 315(f) (16 U.S.C. 460l-6a note) by striking “September 30, 1999” after the words “and end on” and inserting “September 30, 2001” and striking “September 30, 2002” after the words “remain available through” and inserting “September 30, 2004”.

 

Conference Report 105-825

 

Sec. 316. None of the funds collected under the Recreational Fee Demonstration program may be used to plan, design, or construct a visitor center or any other permanent structure without prior approval of the House and the Senate Committees on Appropriations if the estimated total cost of the facility exceeds $500,000.

 

Sec. 327. Section 101(c) of Public Law 104 134, as amended, is further amended as follows: Under the heading “Title III--General Provisions” amend section 315(f) (16 U.S.C. 460l 6a note) by striking “September 30, 1999” after the words “and end on” and inserting “September 30, 2001” and striking “September 30, 2002” after the words “remain available through” and inserting “September 30, 2004”.

 

 

PL 106-176, HR 149, To make technical corrections to the Omnibus Parks and Public Lands Management Act of 1996. (3/10/2000)

 

SEC. 310. NATIONAL PARK SERVICE ENTRANCE AND RECREATIONAL USE FEES. 

(a) The Secretary of the Interior is authorized to retain and expend revenues from entrance and recreation use fees at units of the National Park System where such fees are collected under section 4 of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965 (16 U.S.C. 460l-6a), notwithstanding the provisions of section 4(i) of such Act. Fees shall be retained and expended in the same manner and for the same purposes as provided under the Recreational Fee Demonstration Program (section 315 of Public Law 104-134, as amended (16 U.S.C. 460l-6a note).

(b) Nothing in this section shall affect the collection of fees at units of the National Park System designated as fee demonstration projects under the Recreational Fee Demonstration Program.

(c) The authorities in this section shall expire upon the termination of the Recreational Fee Demonstration Program.

 

Senate Report 106-125

 

Section 310. National Park Service Entrance and Recreational Use Fees--Authorizes units of the National Park System, that are not currently participating in the Recreational Fee Demonstration Program, to retain and expend entrance and recreational-use fees under the same formula as directed by the provisions of the Recreational Fee Demonstration Program.

 

Section 310 would authorize the Secretary to spend, without further appropriation action, all amounts earned from recreation fees at all units of the National Park System rather than just those units participating in the recreational fee demonstration program. Under current law, 85 percent of the receipts earned at nonparticipating sites must be appropriated before they can be spent. (The remaining 15 percent is used, without further appropriation, to cover collection costs.) CBO estimates that allowing the National Park Service to spend all such amounts earned through 2001 (when the demonstration program ends) would increase direct spending by $18 million over the 2000 2004 period. 

 

 

PL 106-291, HR 4578, Making appropriations for the Department of the Interior and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2001, and for other purposes. (10/11/2000)

 

Sec. 314. None of the funds collected under the Recreational Fee Demonstration program may be used to plan, design, or construct a visitor center or any other permanent structure without prior approval of the House and the Senate Committees on Appropriations if the

estimated total cost of the facility exceeds $500,000.

 

Sec. 334. A project undertaken by the Forest Service under the Recreation Fee Demonstration Program as authorized by section 315 of the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 1996, as amended, shall not result in--

(1) displacement of the holder of an authorization to provide commercial recreation services on Federal lands. Prior to initiating any project, the Secretary shall consult with potentially affected holders to determine what impacts the project may have on the holders. Any modifications to the authorization shall be made within the terms and conditions of the authorization and authorities of the impacted agency.

(2) the return of a commercial recreation service to the Secretary for operation when such services have been provided in the past by a private sector provider, except when--

(A) the private sector provider fails to bid on such opportunities;

(B) the private sector provider terminates its relationship with the agency; or

(C) the agency revokes the permit for non-compliance with the terms and conditions of the authorization.

 

In such cases, the agency may use the Recreation Fee Demonstration Program to provide for operations until a subsequent operator can be found through the offering of a new prospectus.

 

SEC. 336. In section 315(f) of title III of section 101(c) of Public Law 104–134 (16 U.S.C. 460l–6a note), as amended, strike “September 30, 2001” and insert “September 30, 2002”, and strike “September 30, 2004” and insert “September 30, 2005”.

 

House Report 106-646

 

Section 112 prohibits the National Park Service from reducing recreation fees for non-local travel through any park unit.

 

The Committee has monitored closely the Forest Service implementation of the recreation fee demonstration program. Although there have been some difficulties, the agency is congratulated for its flexibility and innovation. The Committee stresses that recreation fees should never be used to replace appropriated funds; the fees should be used for direct improvements on-site that enhance the recreation experience.

 

Section 315 prohibits the use of recreational demonstration program fees in excess of $500,000 for the construction of any permanent structure without advance Committee approval. 

 

Language also is included providing for a Youth Conservation Corps program; providing for the use of funds in support of Everglades land acquisition and permitting no-year availability for certain recreation fees associated with units not participating in the recreation fee demonstration program. 

 

Language is included under General provisions, Department of the Interior, to limit the use of funds for contract support costs; and to prohibit fee exemptions for non-local traffic through National Parks.  

 

Language is included under Title III--General provisions, to permit limiting competition under the Jobs in the Woods program; requiring Committee approval prior to using recreational fees for constructing certain permanent buildings;

 

Senate Report 106-312

 

Sec. 112. Prohibits the National Park Service from implementing a reduced entrance fee program to accommodate non-local travel through a unit, but allows the Secretary to provide for local non-recreational passage through individual park units. 

 

Sec. 314. Includes language requiring prior approval by the Appropriations Committees before commencing planning, design, or construction of any project funded with recreational fee demonstration moneys when the estimated total project cost is greater than $500,000. 

 

Sec. 331. Provides that the Forest Service may not inappropriately use the Recreation Fee Demonstration program to supplant existing recreation concessions on the national forests.

 

Sec. 334. Extends the Recreation Fee Demonstration Program for a period of one year beyond the current expiration. Fees may be collected until September 30, 2002, and remain available through September 30, 2005. While the Committee strongly supports the fee demonstration program, it recommends this limited extension with some reluctance so that participating agencies may make necessary management plans beyond the current expiration date. The Committee feels that the fee demonstration program ultimately will benefit from a formal authorization by the appropriate authorizing committees. To this end, the Committee strongly urges the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture to submit a legislative proposal that would permanently authorize the program and address some of the concerns and criticisms that have been raised to date. In the interim, the Committee directs the Secretaries to report to the committees on appropriations and the relevant authorizing committees on the results of the demonstration program. The report should address whether fees are an unreasonable barrier to public use, delineate and respond to various criticisms of the program that have come to the Secretaries' attention, evaluate the degree of success at the sites with demonstration programs, assess which types of uses are suited for fees and which are not, and describe how much was collected for each use at each site and how those funds have been used. The report should also address the criteria used to determine the success of programs at different sites; the degree to which standard guidance has been and should be provided to local managers; the merits of uniform nationwide fee structures; policies and guidelines for the distribution of collected funds and allowable uses therefor; concerns regarding multiple fees for recreation activities at neighboring parks, forests and refuges; and methods to ensure that facilities at fee collection sites are in suitable condition before fees are imposed. The Committee recommends that opportunities for comment by interested parties be provided prior to preparation of this report. The report should be delivered to the Committees on Appropriations and the relevant authorizing committees no later than September 1, 2001. 

 

Sec. 338. Provides that residents living within the boundaries of the White Mountain National Forest are exempt from certain user fees.

(b)  Local Exemptions From Demonstration Program Fees .--

(1) In general .--Each unit of general local government that lies in whole or in part within the White Mountain National Forest and persons residing within the boundaries of that unit of general local government shall be exempt during that fiscal year from any requirement to pay a Demonstration Program Fee (parking permit or passport) imposed by the Secretary of Agriculture for access to the Forest. 

(2) Administration .--The Secretary of Agriculture shall establish a method of identifying persons who are exempt from paying user fees under paragraph (1). This method may include valid form of identification including a drivers license.

 

COMPLIANCE WITH PARAGRAPH 12, RULE XXVI OF THE STANDING RULES OF THE SENATE

Paragraph 12 of rule XXVI requires that Committee report on a bill or joint resolution repealing or amending any statute or part of any statute include “(a) the text of the statute or part thereof which is proposed to be repealed; and (b) a comparative print of that part of the bill or joint resolution making the amendment and of the statute or part thereof proposed to be amended, showing by stricken-through type and italics, parallel columns, or other appropriate typographical devices the omissions and insertions which would be made by the bill or joint resolution if enacted in the form recommended by the committee.” 

 

In compliance with this rule, the following changes in existing law proposed to be made by the bill are shown as follows: existing law to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets; new matter is printed in italic; and existing law in which no change is proposed is shown in roman.

 

OMNIBUS CONSOLIDATED RESCISSIONS AND APPROPRIATIONS ACT OF 1996, PUBLIC LAW 104–134, An Act making appropriations for fiscal year 1996 to make a further downpayment toward a balanced budget, and for other purposes.

SEC. 101(a)* * *

* * * * * * *

(c) For programs, projects or activities in the Department of the

Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1996, provided

as follows, to be effective as if it had been enacted into law as the

regular appropriations Act:

* * * * * * *

TITLE I—DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

* * * * * * *

TITLE III—GENERAL PROVISIONS

* * * * * * *

SEC. 315. RECREATIONAL FEE DEMONSTRATION PROGRAM.—

(a) ***

* * * * * * *

(f) The authority to collect fees under this section shall commence

on October 1, 1995, and end on [September 30, 2001] September

30, 2002. Funds in accounts established shall remain available

through [September 30, 2004] September 30, 2005.

 

Conference Report 106-914

 

Section 334 retains the text of section 331 as proposed by the Senate prohibiting the Forest Service from using the recreation fee demonstration program to supplant existing recreation concessions.

 

Section 336 retains the text of section 334 as proposed by the Senate extending the Recreation Fee Demonstration Program for one additional year. The managers are greatly encouraged by the progress being made in this effort and expect the four land management agencies to continue emphasis on this program. The House had no similar provision.

House Report  107-103 (6/19/01)
 
MAINTAINING AMERICA'S HERITAGE
 
Since fiscal year 1996, this Committee has made a commitment to address the serious backlog maintenance needs of our public lands, cultural agencies and Native American facilities. This effort has involved rehabilitation of existing facilities and new construction of visitor facilities in our National Parks, Wildlife Refuges, National Forests, public lands, the Smithsonian Institution and the National Gallery of Art. It has also meant new and replacement Indian schools, hospitals and clinics.  This commitment has resulted in over $1 billion in program increases since 1996 in addition to the hundreds of millions of dollars realized through the Recreational Fee Demonstration Program for land management agencies. These funds are over and above the annual funding through appropriations. 

 

RECREATIONAL FEE DEMONSTRATION PROGRAM, PHASE II
 
The Committee recommends bill language in Title III (section 312) extending the recreational fee demonstration program for an additional four years as requested by the Administration. The Committee has added some minor modifications to facilitate implementation of this program.
 
This program, begun in the fiscal year 1996 Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, allows the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Forest Service to charge certain fees for recreation activities and retain most of the fees at the site to reduce the backlog in deferred maintenance and enhance the visitor experience. The program has been very successful. The Committee is generally pleased with the implementation by the agencies. To date, the fee program has raised over $650,000,000 to enhance recreation experiences on America's public lands. The Committee expects to see continuing changes and adjustments as the agencies make the fee program more user friendly and efficient. The agencies need to use a business-like approach, carefully listen to visitors, and make program adjustments accordingly. 
 
The Committee recommends the following changes to the recreational fee demonstration to: (1) extend the program for four years; (2) provide enhanced authority to give discounted or free admission in certain instances, such as for volunteers; (3) allow, beginning in fiscal year 2003, certain short-term Forest Service recreation special use fees to be included in the program in order to improve service to outfitters and guides who aid visitors on the public lands; (4) raise the number of sites each agency may include in the program; and (5) limit the use of funds for capital construction to $500,000 unless approval is obtained from the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations. 
 
The Committee believes that the program will continue to benefit from close Congressional monitoring. The Committee directs the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture to submit a joint, annual accomplishment report by March 1 of each year so that this information may be included during annual consideration of the budget request. This requirement supersedes previous reporting requirements established in earlier Committee reports. 
 
The Committee is concerned that fee collection and administrative costs may be too high in certain locations. The Secretaries should strive to keep these costs to no more than 20 percent of fee receipts and include a list in the annual report of sites that exceed this threshold. The Committee expects the Secretaries to pursue innovative fee collection methodologies during this phase II, including automated fee collection and, especially, interagency fee compatibility and cooperative fees with non-Federal entities such as State parks. The Committee expects that the agencies will ensure that any fees levied will be fair to all visitors, and shall consider any fees paid by permittees on behalf of visitors in determining such fairness. Agencies should not use the fee program to displace existing permittees and concessionaires. For the Forest Service, the Committee has included an additional $2,000,000 within the national forest system, recreation management activity to establish a revolving fund to be used to make improvements at recreation fee sites. Units will be able to borrow against this fund to improve sites where fees are charged or proposed to be charged and then repay the fund with subsequent fee receipts.

 

Recreational Fee Demonstration Program.--The Committee has extended the recreational fee program an additional four years through 2006. The program, established in fiscal year 1996, has provided the Park Service with over $457,000,000 in additional revenue to date. The Committee notes that the cost of collection has remained fairly static at 20.7 percent. The Committee strongly encourages the Service to reduce this cost through the use of more innovative collection techniques that do not require personnel. The Service should provide a report to the Committee by February 1, 2002, which details by park unit the cost of collection and the use of staff and other collection methods. 
 
Independence NHP.--The Committee has taken seriously its commitment to reduce the significant maintenance needs of Independence National Historical Park.  Since 1992, the Committee has provided $65,000,000, including $7,549,000 in this bill, with a heavy emphasis on eliminating health and safety problems. Several years ago, the Committee was approached about a unique public-private partnership to construct a new Gateway Visitor Center, a new Liberty Bell complex, an Independence Park Institute, and a National Constitution Center (NCC) along with landscaping improvements. The Federal share of the $65,600,000 redevelopment project was $3,500,000 for landscaping. In addition, $60,000,000 was provided to complete the Federal share of the National Constitution Center.  In addition, the Committee was assured by the non-Federal partners and the Park Service that the operational and cyclic maintenance repair costs would, for the most part, remain unchanged. A commitment was made that all new structures on Independence Mall, with the exception of the NCC, would be funded fully by park partners or through private donations rather than through Federal appropriated dollars. With the exception of the new Liberty Bell Pavilion, all operational and cyclic maintenance costs for new structures, including the NCC, are the responsibility of the non-Federal park partners.  The Committee is aware that the costs for these non-Federally funded structures have increased because of alterations to the original plans. The Committee has no intention of appropriating additional dollars for this project or dedicating any recreational fee demonstration money toward this effort and expects the non-Federal partners to fulfill their commitment to this partnership.  
 
The Committee has included an additional $10,000,000 in this account to assist regional offices deal with the increased workload associated with reducing the backlog maintenance in the National Park System. Since 1995, the Committee has tripled the line-item construction and repair/rehabilitation programs and created the Recreational Fee Demonstration Program, which has yielded nearly $500,000,000 in additional non-appropriated funds primarily for this purpose.  Coupled with the downsizing of the Denver Service Center, this situation has added significantly to the workload and the regional offices have had difficulty providing the needed services to the parks.  In response, the Committee agreed to a reprogramming of $3,500,000 in fiscal year 1999 to help deal with this problem. The Committee expects that this additional $10,000,000 will provide the appropriate staffing levels and expertise to deal with this increased focus on eliminating the serious construction backlog in the National Park System. The Committee cautions the Service to use these funds wisely and notes that they are to be used exclusively for the execution of repair/rehabilitation, fee demonstration, and construction backlog projects. The Committee expects a report by December 1st of each year on the allocation of these funds.

 

Recreation, heritage and wilderness.-- The Committee recommends $245,000,000 for recreation heritage and wilderness, $9,878,000 above the budget request and $15,237,000 above the 2001 level. The Committee has provided a substantial funding increase that should be used to enhance service to the public and protect National forest system lands and waters as well as heritage sites and activities. Within the increase, $2,000,000 is provided for the Forest Service to establish a revolving account in support of the recreational fee demonstration program as explained in the front of this report. The Committee expects the Forest Service to develop an enhanced understanding of the operational needs and infrastructure backlog within the recreation program and convey this information in future budget justifications. The Committee continues to monitor the Forest Service implementation of the recreation fee demonstration program and expects the agency to remain flexible and innovative in using this authority to enhance service to the American public. This issue is discussed in more detail within Title III, which includes language to begin phase II of this program. The Committee stresses that recreation fees should never be used to replace appropriated funds; the fees should be used for direct improvements on-site that enhance the recreation experience. The Committee is concerned that the manner in which indirect cost pools are assessed has unfairly affected recreation programs and created a disincentive for the recreation fee demonstration program. This problem should be addressed forthwith. The challenge cost share (CCS) program funding for recreation use should be no less than the 2001 level. Volunteer work and contributions by the recreation community, especially the national scenic and historic trail organizations, are impressive and accordingly the Committee has provided funding increases in support of these efforts.

 

Section 312 extends the recreational fee demonstration program for 4 additional years and makes other modifications, including prohibiting the use of recreational demonstration program fees in excess of $500,000 for the construction of any permanent structure without advance Committee approval.  

 

Section 325 prohibits the Forest Service from using revenue from the recreation fee demonstration program to supplant existing concessions.  

 

Language is included under Title III--General provisions, to permit limiting competition under the Jobs in the Woods program; extending the recreational fee demonstration program for 4 additional years, allowing certain Forest Service special use permit fees to be included in the program beginning in fiscal year 2003, raising the limit on the number of fee sites each agency may use, and requiring Committee approval prior to using recreational fees for constructing certain permanent buildings.
 
Language is included under Title III--General Provisions, permitting the Forest Service in consultation with the Department of Labor to modify concession contracts for certain campgrounds; prohibiting the Forest Service from using revenue from the recreation fee demonstration program to supplant existing concessions;
 
Section 315 of the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1996 is amended as follows: 
Sec. 315. Recreational Fee Demonstration Program. --(a) The Secretary of the Interior (acting through the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service) and the Secretary of Agriculture (acting through the Forest Service) shall each implement a fee program to demonstrate the feasibility of user-generated cost recovery for the operation and maintenance of recreation areas or sites and habitat enhancement projects on Federal lands. 
(b) In carrying out the pilot program established pursuant to this section, the appropriate Secretary shall select from areas under the jurisdiction of each of the four agencies referred to in subsection (a) no fewer than 10, but as many as 100, areas, sites or projects for fee demonstration. For each such demonstration, the Secretary, notwithstanding any other provisions of law-- 
    (1) * * *                                                              
    (2) shall establish fees under this section based upon a variety of cost recovery and fair market valuation methods to provide a broad basis for feasibility testing, including the provision of discounted or free admission or use as the Secretary considers appropriate;  * * * * * * *
    (4) may encourage private investment and partnerships to enhance the delivery of quality customer services, and resource enhancement, and provide appropriate recognition to such partners or investors; and 
    (5) may assess a fine of not more than $100 for any violation of the authority to collect fees for admission to the area or for the use of outdoor recreation sites, facilities, visitor centers, equipment, and services . ; and 
    (6) in fiscal year 2003 and thereafter may retain, for distribution and use as provided in subsection (c), fees imposed by the Forest Service for the issuance of recreation special use authorizations not exceeding one year under any provision of law. 
    (c)(1) * * *  
    (2)(A) * * *  
    * * * * * * *  
    (D) None of the funds collected under this section may be used to plan, design, or construct a visitor center of any other permanent structure without prior approval of the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate if the estimated total cost of the structure exceeds $500,000.   
         * * * * * * *    
    (d)(1) Amounts collected under this section shall not be taken into account for the purposes of the Act of May 23, 1908 and the Act of March 1, 1911 (16 U.S.C. 500), the Act of March 4, 1913 (16 U.S.C. 501), the Act of July 22, 1937 (7 U.S.C. 1012), the Act of August 8, 1937 and the Act of May 24, 1939 (43 U.S.C. 1181f et seq.), the Act of June 14, 1926 (43 U.S.C. 869 4), chapter 69 of title 31, United States Code, section 401 of the Act of June 15, 1935 (16 U.S.C. 715s), the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965 (16 U.S.C. 460l), the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 (Public Law 106 393; 16 U.S.C. 500 note), and any other provision of law relating to revenue allocation.   
         * * * * * * *  
    (f) The authority to collect fees under this section shall commence on October 1, 1995, and end on September 30, 2006. Funds in accounts established shall remain available through September 30, 2009.
 
PL 107-63, HR 2217, Conference Report 107-234, Making Appropriations For The Department Of The Interior And Related Agencies For The Fiscal Year Ending September 30, 2002, And For Other Purposes. (10/11/2001)

 

Sec. 312. (a) Recreational Fee Demonstration Program.--Subsection (f) of section 315 of the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1996 (as contained in section 101(c) of Public Law 104 134; 110 Stat. 1321 200; 16 U.S.C. 460l 6a note), is amended-- 
       (1) by striking “commence on October 1, 1995, and end on September 30, 2002” and inserting “end on September 30, 2004”; and 
       (2) by striking “September 30, 2005” and inserting “September 30, 2007”. 
     (b) Expansion of Program.--Subsection (b) of such section is amended by striking “no fewer than 10, but as many as 100,”. 
     (c) Revenue Sharing.--Subsection (d)(1) of such section is amended by inserting “the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 (Public Law 106 393; 16 U.S.C. 500 note),” before “and any other provision”.  
     (d) Discounted Fees.--Subsection (b)(2) of such section is amended by inserting after “testing” the following: “, including the provision of discounted or free admission or use as the Secretary considers appropriate”.  
     (e) Capital Projects.--Subsection (c)(2) of such section is amended by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:  
     “(D) None of the funds collected under this section may be used to plan, design, or construct a visitor center or any other permanent structure without prior approval of the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate if the estimated total cost of the structure exceeds $500,000.”.

 

Sec. 325. A project undertaken by the Forest Service under the Recreation Fee Demonstration Program as authorized by section 315 of the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 1996, as amended, shall not result in--  
    (1) displacement of the holder of an authorization to provide commercial recreation services on Federal lands. Prior to initiating any project, the Secretary shall consult with potentially affected holders to determine what impacts the project may have on the holders. Any modifications to the authorization shall be made within the terms and conditions of the authorization and authorities of the impacted agency. 
    (2) the return of a commercial recreation service to the Secretary for operation when such services have been provided in the past by a rivate sector provider, except when--  
     (A) the private sector provider fails to bid on such opportunities; 
     (B) the private sector provider terminates its relationship with the agency; or 
     (C) the agency revokes the permit for non-compliance with the terms and conditions of the authorization.  
In such cases, the agency may use the Recreation Fee Demonstration Program to provide for operations until a subsequent operator can be found through the offering of a new prospectus.  

 

…The recreation, heritage and wilderness activity has a general program increase of $3,500,000 and it does not include a special allocation for the fee demo program revolving account, although this could be pursued at agency discretion….

 

Section 312 modifies language in section 312 as proposed by the House concerning an extension of the recreational fee demonstration program. The managers have agreed to a two year extension of this program through fiscal year 2004 rather than the four year extension recommended by the House. The managers have provided this extension to allow the authorizing committees with jurisdiction to continue their assessment of this program and to provide for a permanent solution to this issue. The managers strongly encourage the authorizing committees to address this matter forthwith so short-term extensions via the appropriations process are no longer germane. The managers have also modified the House language by deleting subsection (e), which extended the program to certain Forest Service special use permits. The managers recommend that the authorizing committees examine various options in this regard. The managers have retained language proposed by the House and contained in Senate recommended section 313 concerning the use of receipts from this program to construct permanent structures when the total cost of the facility exceeds $500,000. The managers note that the recreational fee demonstration program has generated substantial revenue, which has made a major impact on many parks, forests, refuges and public land units. By the end of fiscal year 2002, the program will have generated $937 million for the four participating agencies. The managers continue to believe that a user fee program, which focuses the fees directly to local, on-the-ground improvements, is an essential tool to help fund major Federal recreational assets. The managers expect the agencies implementing this program to focus on public service, to work closely with local communities and the recreational industry, and to use the receipts to enhance visitor services and reduce the backlog in deferred maintenance.