"All trail-access decisions are political decisions"

The Trail Political Action Committee (TPAC) was founded as the first national non-partisan political action committee dedicated solely to championing responsible off-highway vehicle recreation on designated roads, trails, and areas on public lands through the electoral and legislative processes.
The TPAC tactical goal is to target key races using state-of-the art real-time analysis where there is a tough election and the pro-access candidate needs some extra support to help to defeat their opponent.
TPAC is needed to counter the anti-access special interests in Washington DC who have long ago figured that contributing to closure-oriented politicians is how they will accomplish their goal of restricting OHV access on federal lands.
TPAC is ready to stand in that political breach to stop the flow of anti-access politicians into the Capital. TPAC will work hard to reverse that trend so that pro-access legislators will exist as the majority in Congress and the White House.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

White House Orders Closure of Privately Managed Parks

Gate Closed at OR Dunes NRA
The White House has validated TPAC’s motto that… “All Trail Decisions are Political Decisions” by issuing a precedent setting order directing federal agencies to close all parks that are managed by private management firms including the Arizona-based Recreation Resource Management Company.
Historically, these user-pay/user-benefit privately managed federal units have stayed open during government shutdowns including the 3 week shutdown in 1995.
Included below is an October 2, 2013 letter to Congress written by Recreation Resource Management’s owner, Warren Meyer.
October 2, 2013
Senator John McCain
Senator Jeff Flake
Representative David Schweikert
Help! Administration Orders Shut Down of Privately-Operated Parks in National Forest
Parks that require no Federal money, and actually pay rent to the Treasury, are being required to close
My company, based in North Phoenix, operates over 100 US Forest Service campgrounds and day use areas under concession contract. Yesterday, as in all past government shutdowns, the Department of Agriculture and US Forest Service confirmed we would stay open during the government shutdown. This makes total sense, since our operations are self-sufficient (we are fully funded by user fees at the gate), we get no federal funds, we employ no government workers on these sites, and we actually pay rent into the Treasury.
However, today, we have been told by senior member of the US Forest Service and Department of Agriculture that people “above the department”, which I presume means the White House, plan to order the Forest Service to needlessly and illegally close all private operations. I can only assume their intention is to artificially increase the cost of the shutdown as some sort of political ploy.
The point of the shutdown is to close non-essential operations that require Federal money and manpower to stay open. So why is the White House closing private operations that require no government money to keep open and actually pay a percentage of their gate revenues back to the Treasury? We are a tenant of the US Forest Service, and a tenant does not have to close his business just because his landlord goes on a vacation.
I urge you to help stop the Administration from lawlessly taking arbitrary and illegal actions to artificially worsen the shutdown by hurting innocent hikers and campers. I am not asking you to restore any funding, because no funding is required to keep these operations open. I am asking that the Administration be required to only close government services that actually require budget resources.
Warren Meyer
In additions, confusion continues to plague the public since the Antideficiency Act, passed by Congress in 1870, prohibits the government from incurring any monetary obligation for which the Congress has not appropriated funds.   This precludes FS and BLM recreation staff from disseminating closure-related information to the public.
The Government Accountability Office states that employees who violate the Antideficiency Act may be subject to disciplinary action, suspension and even "fines, imprisonment, or both."
As hunters, off-roaders, fishermen, equestrians, and mountain-bikers prepare for this weekend’s adventure on federal lands, they can rest assured that closure signs await their arrival at many Forest Service, NPS, and BLM campgrounds, staging areas, and trailheads.

1 comment:

  1. To underscore your message, note that the NPS send in a law enforcement team to the Claude Moore Colonial Farm -- the only unit of the NP system that operates without federal employees and funds. They forced the volunteers and non-profit organization staff operating the park unit our of the park and have now posted a guard to prevent any trespassing. Claude Moore Farm has not received any funding since 1982. It has always been exempted from past shutdowns. Not under this Administration. The farm's director had some choice words to say about NPS. See the story at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/oct/2/nps-orders-closure-park-receives-no-federal-fundin/?page=all#pagebreak