Fees: "Fie," Foes Fume
Organizers say more than 200 grassroots groups have sprung up across the U.S. to protest fees for using federal lands. In 1996, Congress launched a pilot program to allow certain national forests, refuges, and other federal lands to begin charging fees for access, parking, and campsites. Congress this year is deciding whether to extend and expand the program. Federal officials say they need the moola because recreational demands on the lands have soared in recent years, while budget allocations have remained level. But opponents say that the user fees prevent lower-income people from having access to public lands, which should be open to all citizens, and that the fees amount to double taxation.