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Senator Ralph Regula's Fee Demo support modeled on The Wilderness Center, Inc.?

Goin’ to The Wilderness Center, Inc.

A large number of persons have recently contacted me (Scott Silver) to say that they considered it odd that a Congressman with virtually no contact with federally managed public lands, let alone with designated Wilderness [Ralph Regula (R-OH)] should serve as the American Recreation Coalitions #1 Champion of recreation user fees and be the author of current legislation to make these fees permanent (HR 3283).

It is a well accepted fact that of all of the recreation fees to which the public has objected, the loudest objection has been heard regarding Wilderness fees. After all Wilderness a wild place untrammeled by Man and largely free of improvements. So how can anyone dare to put a dollarable figure upon such a place --- especially after John Muir warned: “Nothing dollarable is safe, however guarded.”???

Interestingly enough, not one of the 77 acres of designated Wilderness in the State of Ohio is part of the Recreation Fee Demonstration Program!!! In fact, Ohio’s entire West Sister Island Wilderness is closed to human entry. (Bet you didn’t know there was any Wilderness in Ohio !!) Go to the following website -

So what model is Mr. Regula using as he promotes the recreation industry’s commercialization / privatization agenda??? I believe I may have stumbled upon the answer. Perhaps the model is that of “The Wilderness Center, Inc.,” located right within Mr. Regula’s own District-16. (see below for details).

I share a fear about fee-demo expressed by many person who love the wild. We fear that making Wilderness “dollarable” ensures that it will grow to look less like the land of Muir and more like the theme park described below.
--Scott Silver, Co-founder of nonprofit Wild Wilderness 11.06.03


The Wilderness Center, Inc.
(click for a barrel of fun)

Membership at The Wilderness Center:

Escape to The Wilderness Center:    573 acres to explore in Wilmot; 120 acres to explore in Zoar

"Far enough to be an adventure. Not so far as a journey!"

Want to, but not sure how? We pride ourselves in being a caring community. Just ask. Stop by the office or call. Staff and volunteers are here to make it easy for you.
Family activities: Environment Investigators, Summer Days Enrichment, Space Day, Storytellers Concerts, Folk Concerts, Nature Walks, Picnics, Photography Shows, Woodcarvers Shows, Local Tours, Maple Sugaring and Pancake Dinner, Enchanted Forest, Planetarium Shows, Wildlife Watching, Breakfast with the Birds, and more.

Opportunities for life time learning and adventure through eleven specialty clubs: Astronomy, Artistic Endeavors, Backpackers, Birders, Botanizers, Cavers &
Climbers, Fly Fishing, Geology, Nature Photographers, Storytellers, and Woodcarvers

Too tame? How about a trip? Yellowstone, Great Smoky Mountains, Kenya, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Canada, or the Badlands.

Too noisy? Sit in the woods hidden from roads, buildings, and people. Center yourself.

Have the need to help? We have many opportunities. You could teach nature-we’ll even teach you how to teach and the nature, too. You could be a possum, a spider, or a salamander. You could flip pancakes or serve chicken. Work in the office or bookstore. Paint, carpenter, or drive a tractor. We need helpers to keep the trails clean, wash the windows, and mail the Newsletter. Everything that happens at The Wilderness Center happens through wonderful helpers.

Your Wilderness Center Membership buys all these opportunities plus a monthly Newsletter, activity, and bookstore discounts.

Your membership is an active way to help 16,000 children a year learn about nature; protect 985 acres of forest, streams, and prairie; carry out scientific research of the Great Lakes Region; and provide answers about the natural world to our community.

Your membership entitles you to free admission to in most nature parks across the United States. For a listing, click here.

Sing along with us!
Goin’ to the wilderness
Goin’ to have some fun
Break out of town
Fast as I can run.

Goin’ to The Wilderness Center
Wilmot bound
Me and my kids
Explorin’ around.

Goin’ to the Wilderness
Wander up and down
Warblers, deer
Prairie to be found.

Goin’ to The Wilderness Center
Good times all
Each season holds new wonders
Spring, summer, winter, fall.

THE WILDERNESS CENTER, INC., PO Box 202, Wilmot, OH 44689-0202
TOLL FREE Phone: 877-359-5235
Phone: 330-359-5235
Fax: 330-359-7898

Commentary by Scott Silver on the "failed fee demo program"  07-12-02

"We have seen the Forest Service aggressively grow the user fees beyond the original intent of the program. In some instances the Forest Service has taken a "field of dreams" approach: if they build it, the public will pay?" Quoted from Op-Ed by Senator Larry Craig (R-ID):

Pasted above is an Op-Ed article by Senator Craig which appeared in this morning's press. Senator Craig (R-ID) had been a staunch supporter of Fee-Demo since the program's inception. So when Craig now says: "the recreation fee demonstration project has flunked in Idaho", that is an important (and telling) condemnation of the failed recreation fee program.

In acknowledging that fee-demo has not, and will not, accomplish its officially stated purposes, Craig goes on to offer three potential alternative solutions. The first of these is for Congress "to properly fund recreation activities on public lands, and make sure recreation dollars are going to recreation.'

I endorse that solution whole-heartedly and encourage everyone in the nation to contact their Senators and Representatives officials and tell them it is time to once again properly fund recreation activities on public lands and to make sure recreation dollars get to recreation.

Clearly, the USFS has failed. Clearly, the Fee-Demonstration program has failed. Of these facts there can be no doubt.

The time to bring the US Forest Service under control and to demand fiscal accountability from this agency is long over-due. The time has come to permanently end forest fees, once and for all!

With Fee-Demo being recognized as a hopelessly failed idea, a potential policy vacuum will likely develop should activists successfully convince Congress to kill the program (That remains a big "IF"!! but not nearly so big an "IF" as it once was!!!).

It is more imperative than ever to ensure that Congress implements the RIGHT SOLUTIONS for the management of recreation on America's public lands. It is crucial that inappropriate solutions, such as increased dependence upon public-private partnerships, leveraged funding, commercialization and privatization be avoided.

It is time to kick the American Recreation Coalition out of the national recreation policy driver's seat. Their failed policies have caused too many problems already!!!  And perhaps more than anything, it is time to restore the principles of Democracy to the management of America's public lands.


Scott Silver




Read more . . .
Western Slope No Fee Coalition
Arizona No Fee Coalition

  Fee Demo and Climbing Fees
Fee Demo fees replaced by new Recreation Access Fees
Fee Demo groundwork may save Geocaching on our public lands
Fee Demo program made permanent through last minute political deal!
Reserve your next backcountry adventure!
Fees, forests don't always fit, by Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho
Congressman Greg Walden limits fee demo
Fee demo program discriminates against our poor folks

Fee Demo looses to grass roots outrage
Fee Demo Forest Pass dropped at 20 sites on the Deschutes National Forest! 
Senator Regula's Fee Demo support and The Wilderness Center, Inc.
Senator Craig calls Fee Demo a failed program
Outdoor recreation in Oregon far from free 
Oregon Field Guide: “Pay to Play on Public Land”  

National Park Service plans climbing fees increase! 
Fee demo rejected by USFS employees 
Fee demo has "fallen short" - Senator Craig 
Fee demo demonstrations 

  The Badlands Wilderness
BLM posts Reward for information on Juniper rustlers
BLM weighing public input on management plan
Oregon's Badlands hit by old growth Juniper rustlers  Photos
Congressman Greg Walden to visit The Badlands
Badlands Wilderness endorsed by COTA
OpEd - Unregulated OHV use is being reviewed across the western states
OHV use curtailed by new USFS policy decisions 
Sierra Club's Juniper Group supports Badlands Wilderness 
OHV regulation discussed at BLM meeting in Bend, Oregon
OpEd - Badlands part of BLM's recreation management area
OpEd - We need the Badlands Wilderness 
OpEd - Off-roaders have no reason to fear Badlands Wilderness designation
Speak for the Badlands at Town Hall Meeting 
Hiking poles are becoming essential gear 
Vandals destroy ancient pictographs in the Badlands
Senator Wyden tests support of Badlands Wilderness
Badlands Wilderness endorsed by Bend City Commissioners
The Badlands: proposed for Wilderness status

The Badlands, a brief history  
The Badlands pictographs reported 75 year ago

Map of huge exclusive OHV areas adjoining the Badlands  

Mark Fiore animates the Bush Roadless Rule  You will love this!  
Reserve your next backcountry adventure!
Nation's forests might be on the road to ruin, by President Bill Clinton
Wilderness at risk from new Bush policies
Steens management scandal may affect wilderness study areas  
BLM outsourced Steens Management Plan to mining industry leaders!
Owyhee River wilderness study area inventory with ONDA
OHV vandals charged in Yellowstone
Oregon's B and B Complex fire closure modified 
Senate says NO to Big Oil in Alaska 
Gloria Flora - Environmental Hero 
Re-introducing wolves into Oregon 
George Bush overlooking the environment

  Eastern Oregon Adventures
Backpacking Big Indian Gorge in The Steens 
Owyhee Canyon wilderness study area in south east Oregon 
ONDA's Owyhee wilderness inventory camp near Rome, Oregon 
NOLS group on an Owyhee River Canyon adventure 
Owyhee River desert lands - Jordan Valley Rodeo 
Steens Mountain wedding in Eastern Oregon