The Alaska Region Forest Service is proposing a simplified fee policy for outfitters and guides doing business on the Tongass and Chugach national forests. Notice of the proposed policy is planned for publication in the Federal Register April 18, 2008. The public will have 45 days to comment.
Efforts to revise the outfitter and guide fee policy began in response to a 1997 U.S. District Court case which challenged the policy for assessing fees. The Court directed the Alaska Region to devise a fee schedule for outfitters and guides that charges similar fees for similar activities, and also ensures the Forest Service receives fees that are based on market value for use of national forest system lands.
Following publication of a proposed policy in the Federal Register in September 2006, the Alaska Region received comments from outfitters and guides, the travel industry and other interested publics. The agency then revised the fee schedule in response to those comments, and based on market evidence and analysis.
The new proposed policy simplifies administration for outfitters and guides as well as permit administrators in the Alaska Region. The number of activities in the plan was reduced from 30 to nine by combining similar activities.
Fees collected from outfitter and guide permit holders are used to enhance and manage the outfitter/guide programs on national forests in Alaska. The increase in fees meets the courts ruling that fees be determined using methods that are fair to outfitter/guides while providing the Forest Service with fair market value for use of national forest system lands in Alaska. Implementation of the proposed fee policy is scheduled for January 2009.
Send comments by mail to: Dennis E. Bschor, Regional Forester, Attn: Recreation, Lands and Minerals, P.O. Box 21628, Juneau, Alaska 99802-1628; or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. It is not necessary to resubmit comments already sent in response to the Federal Register notice of Sept. 15, 2006.