Some cabin permittees may have already been notified by the Forest Service about a fee increase. What ALRA warned people about last February is now coming to pass. The fee increases planned by the Forest Service are so high, we thought you better see it in writing. Click on these two newspaper articles.
|US Forest Land Rents Will Go Up -- Way Up (Oregonian, 9/5/97)|
|Cabin Leases to Hit the Ceiling (The Bulletin, Bend, Oregon, 9/5/97)|
Can you imagine having your rent increased by 40 times. That is not going to apply to everyone but it could happen in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area in Idaho. There are fee increases proposed of "only" 300%. Even that amount will price most permittees out of their cabins.
Here is one example from a member in Minnesota. His current fee is $849 for access to his property 8 weeks a year due to weather and road conditions. His proposed fee increase is $4,245 to $16,980. He currently pays property taxes of $634. If the new appraisal goes through, his new property tax would be between $3,170 to $12,689. His combined cost per year for just his lease fee and taxes could increase from his current rate of $1,483 to between $7,415 and $29,660 per year. There is no chance he can afford even the lowest amount.
He says that at that rate, he believes 75% of the local permittees will sell immediately. Because the supply of cabins will greatly exceed the demand, he believes that it is very unlikely properties will be sold, no matter how low the price. At those appraisal prices, few, if any, would even accept the cabin as a gift.
Why is this happening? As we said in February, the combination of a GAO report, national television show (NBC), the attack by the Wilderness Society and the poor appraisals by the Forest Service all converging at the same time is not an accident. By timing the GAO investigation to occur during the appraisal process, Forest Service bureaucrats stampeded the appraisal staff into raising fees very high.
There are those in Congress, the Forest Service and some environmental groups who believe cabin permittees are a special class. They want to see them driven from the national forests. The easiest way to do that is by raising the fee.
They know most permittees are retired or are teachers whose incomes cannot absorb a huge fee increase. They want to drive people out of their cabin and out of the forest . . . and they have found a way . . . . if we let them.
The proposed fee increases are so outrageous that we believe Congress will come to our aid. This issue is partly an appraisal problem and partly a political problem. Cabinowners must rise up in unison to get Congress on our side. Here is what you must do immediately to help:
The key to saving cabin permit fees from this unfair fee increase is to get all forest users to implement the philosophy that an attack on cabins is an attack on all of us. ALRA has thousands of members who will now help save cabin permits and the ability to enjoy family recreation in the forests.
But we need everyone's help. With your support, American Land Rights can reach out to our allies to build a Property Rights Majority in Congress. But you must do your part. You must write the letters and make the phone calls. ALRA must mail thousands of letters to get other permittees and our allies to rise up and help save permit cabins. That costs money, lots of money.
You must carry your weight financially. Thousands of letters, faxes, and trips to Washington are expensive. ALRA has maintained a full time office in Washington DC since the 70s. It is like a fire house. It is very expensive to maintain when you dont need it, but when you need it (NOW) it is critical.
Dont wait. Those that win in Congress are those that act fast and are united. We must send a message to Congress and the Forest Service that we have no intention of being steamrolled by high fees calculated by Forest Service bureaucrats using poor appraisal techniques to get rid of cabins.
Together, we can win. Weve done it before . . . . well do it again, NOW!