CONTRIBUTED BY CORY GARDNER AND MICHAEL BENNET
Washington, DC – Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Michael Bennet (D-CO), reintroduced the Ski Area Fee Retention Act. Currently, ski area permit fees paid to the Forest Service are sent to the U.S. Department of the Treasury and then appropriated back to the Forest Service. This legislation would create a Ski Area Fee Retention Account under the National Forest System, in which a portion of the roughly $37 million in annual fees generated by the ski areas would be retained by the National Forests they are generated in. This would ensure that the Forest Service has adequate resources to administer permits and review capital improvement project proposals in more heavily trafficked forests, such as the White River National Forest – the most visited National Forest in the country.
“It’s important that our skiing communities don’t just send money to Washington and not fully benefit from fees they generate for the federal government,” said Senator Gardner. “My bipartisan legislation with Senator Bennet will make it easier for our skiing communities to make the capital improvements they need by keeping the fees they generate.”
“The Forest Service is a critical partner to Colorado communities and our outdoor recreation industry,” said Senator Bennet. “By retaining some of the ski area fees for use in our local National Forests, we can strengthen the Forest Service’s ability to serve our mountain towns and the businesses that drive our economy.”
“All of the ski areas operating on public land appreciate Senator Gardner and Senator Bennet’s support in introducing this critical legislation,” said Geraldine Link, Director of Public Policy for National Ski Areas Association. “The bill will support the important public-private partnership between the Forest Service and ski areas, facilitate private investment in infrastructure on public lands, and ultimately benefit rural economies and the recreating public.”
“Colorado Ski Country USA thanks Senators Gardner and Bennet for their leadership in introducing the Ski Area Fee Retention Act of 2018,” said Melanie Mills, President & CEO of Colorado Ski Country USA. “Ski areas in Colorado strongly support this proposed legislation, which will provide local Forest Service offices with the resources they so badly need to administer ski area permits and to review and process ski area proposals for improvements.”