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Re: Proposed Directives for Forest Service Concession Campground Special Use Permits

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avatar Proposed Directives for Forest Service Concession Campground Special Use Permits
December 03, 2009 04:06AM
[Federal Register: December 1, 2009 (Volume 229, Number 74)]
[Notices]
[Page 62736-62742]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr01de09-33]

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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service

RIN 0596-AC91


Proposed Directives for Forest Service Concession Campground
Special Use Permits

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of proposed directives; request for comment.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Forest Service is proposing changes to its directives
governing permits for operation of campground and related Granger-Thye
concessions (concessions with Government-owned improvements) on
National Forest System lands. The proposed directives would reduce from
50 to 10 percent the camping fee discount campground concessioners
(concessioners) are required to offer to holders of Senior and Access
Passes and Golden Age and Golden Access Passports. Additionally, the
proposed directives would allow concessioners to propose camping fee
discounts above 10 percent for these pass holders in their
applications; would require concessioners to offer a 10 percent
discount to holders of Senior and Access Passes and Golden Age and
Golden Access Passports for standard amenity recreation fee (SARF) day
use sites that they operate; and would require concessioners to provide
free use to holders of Annual and Volunteer Passes at SARF day use
sites they operate. Furthermore, existing concessioners could request
amendment of their permit to incorporate all of these changes, as well
as an increase in their land fee for the remaining term of their permit
if their gross revenue increases significantly due to the reduction in
the camping fee discount. Alternatively, the proposed directive changes
would allow existing concessioners to continue operating under the
terms of their current permit until it expires. Public comment on the
proposed directives is invited and will be considered in development of
the final directives.

DATES: Comments must be received in writing by February 1, 2010.

ADDRESSES: Send comments electronically by following the instructions
at the Federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov.
Comments also may be submitted by mail to U.S. Forest Service, Attn:
Carolyn Holbrook, Recreation and Heritage Resources Staff, 1400
Independence Avenue, SW., Stop 1125, Washington, DC 20250-1125. If
comments are sent electronically, please do not send duplicate comments
by mail. Please confine comments to issues pertinent to the proposed
directives, explain the reasons for any recommended changes, and, where
possible, reference the specific section and wording being addressed.
All comments, including names and addresses when provided, will be
placed in the record and will be available for public inspection. The
public may inspect comments received on these proposed directives in
the Office of the Director, Recreation, Heritage, and Volunteer
Resources Staff, 4th Floor Central, Sidney R. Yates Federal Building,
14th and Independence Avenue, SW.,

[[Page 62737]]

Washington, DC, on business days between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Those
wishing to inspect comments are encouraged to call ahead at 202-205-
1426 to facilitate entry into the building. Copies of comments may be
requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Carolyn Holbrook, 202-205-1426,
Recreation, Heritage, and Volunteer Resources Staff.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

1. Background and Need for the Proposed Directives

a. The Campground Concession Program

Three decades ago, Forest Service personnel operated and maintained
most Government-owned recreation facilities on National Forest System
lands. Around that time, the Forest Service began experimenting with
concession operation of its developed recreation sites. The program has
evolved to a point where most highly developed campgrounds on National
Forest System lands are managed by concessioners (approximately 50
percent of Forest Service camping capacity, or 82 percent of the
reservable campsites listed in the National Recreation Reservation
Service (NRRS) are managed by concessioners). The Forest Service
administers approximately 150 permits for operation of Government-owned
campgrounds and related recreation sites under Section 7 of the
Granger-Thye Act, 16 U.S.C. 580d.
These campground concessions vary based on size, the number of
developed recreation sites included, and the range of revenue
generated. For example, a small campground concession with one to three
developed recreation sites might produce revenue ranging from $50,000
to $105,000, while a large campground concession with 10 to 12
developed recreation sites might generate revenue in excess of
$1,000,000. The Agency anticipates that opportunities to camp and
recreate at developed recreation sites will continue to be important to
the public and that the Forest Service will continue to rely on
concessioners to manage developed camping opportunities.

b. Passes Authorized by the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act and
the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act

The Forest Service authorizes operation of Government-owned
campgrounds and related Granger-Thye concessions under Section 7 of the
Granger-Thye Act (16 U.S.C. 580d).
From its enactment in 1965 until its repeal in 2004, section 4 of
the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act (LWCFA) (16 U.S.C. 460l-6a)
established criteria for charging a use fee for developed recreation
sites on National Forest System lands. From 1996 until its repeal in
2004, the Recreational Fee Demonstration Program (Fee Demo) statute
(Pub. L. 104-134, Sec. 315) provided separate, broader authority than
the LWCFA for charging a use fee for developed recreation sites.
However, as a matter of policy, until 2004, concessioners were
authorized to charge fees for developed recreation sites only if the
Forest Service could charge fees for those sites under the LWCFA (see
Forest Service Manual (FSM) 2344.31).
In December 2004, the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act
(REA) (16 U.S.C. 6801-6814) supplanted the LWCFA and the Fee Demo
statute as the sole recreation fee authority for the Forest Service.
The Forest Service continued to utilize the same standards, now the
criteria in REA, for determining whether developed recreation sites,
both those managed by the Forest Service and those managed by
concessioners, were eligible for charging a use fee. The campground
concession prospectus was updated to reflect changes in REA. However,
FSM 2344.31 must now be updated to replace references to the LWCFA with
references to REA.
Additionally, the LWCFA established three passes: (1) A lifetime
pass for senior citizens and permanent residents, called the Golden Age
Passport; (2) a lifetime pass for citizens and permanent residents with
a permanent disability under Federal law, called the Golden Access
Passport; and (3) an annual pass available to anyone, called the Golden
Eagle Passport. The Golden Eagle Passport entitled the holder to free
admission at Federal recreation sites where an entrance fee was
charged. The Golden Age and Golden Access Passports entitled the holder
to free admission at Federal recreation sites where an entrance fee was
charged, as well as a 50 percent discount on camping fees charged at
Federal recreation sites. Forest Service policy at FSM 2344.31 also
requires concessioners to provide a 50 percent discount on camping fees
to holders of the Golden Age or Golden Access Passport.
REA replaced the Golden Eagle, Golden Age, and Golden Access
Passports with the America the Beautiful-National Parks and Federal
Recreational Lands Pass (Interagency Pass). The Interagency Pass
consists of four passes: (1) The Annual Pass, which replaced the Golden
Eagle Passport; (2) the Senior Pass, which replaced the Golden Age
Passport; (3) the Access Pass, which replaced the Golden Access
Passport; and (4) the new Volunteer Pass, for those who volunteer on
Federal lands. REA provides that the Golden Eagle, Golden Age, and
Golden Access Passports remain in effect under the terms under which
they were issued, to the extent practicable, until they are lost,
stolen, or expired.
REA prohibits the Forest Service from charging entrance fees, but
authorizes the Forest Service to charge an SARF for recreation sites
that meet certain criteria, including day use sites, and an expanded
amenity recreation fee for campgrounds and other facilities that meet
certain criteria. REA provides that the holder of an Interagency Pass,
including the Annual, Senior, and Access Passes, is entitled to free
use at Forest Service recreation sites where an SARF is charged. Unlike
the LWCFA, however, REA does not provide that the holder of a senior
citizen or disability pass is entitled to a 50 percent discount on
camping fees charged at Federal recreation sites. However, the
participating agencies, including the Forest Service, elected to apply
the 50 percent discount on camping fees provided under the LWCFA to
holders of Senior and Access Passes issued under REA at federally-
operated recreation sites. Consistent with FSM 2344.31, since enactment
of REA, the Forest Service has also continued to require concessioners
to provide a 50 percent discount on camping fees to holders of Golden
Age and Golden Access Passports and Senior and Access Passes.

c. The Effects of the 50 Percent Discount on Camping Fees

The Forest Service is the only participating agency that requires
concessioners to provide a 50 percent discount on camping fees to
holders of these passes. For example, the National Park Service allows
its concessioners to elect whether to honor these passes, and most
elect not to honor them. In addition, concessioners have raised five
concerns regarding the 50 percent discount on camping fees: (1) REA
does not require a camping fee discount for Senior and Access Passes;
(2) a 50 percent discount is very steep and is not comparable to other
discounts in the private sector; (3) the 50 percent discount is non-
negotiable and thus cannot be used as a marketing tool to encourage
off-peak use; (4) application of the 50 percent discount to holders of
Senior and Access Passes is unreasonable in view of the growing

[[Page 62738]]

number of senior citizens in the United States; and (5) the 50 percent
discount requires concessioners to raise camping fees to compensate for
the loss in revenue, thus increasing prices for non-seniors and
discouraging a future generation of campers.

d. Not Honoring the Interagency Pass at SARF Day Use Sites Operated by
Concessioners

A converse problem has emerged with SARF day use sites that are
operated as concessions. After enactment of REA, the Forest Service
took the position that concessioners should not be required to provide
free use at SARF sites to any Interagency Pass holders. There were
several reasons for this policy, including the need to (1) Maintain
eligibility for the regulatory exemption from the Service Contract Act
at 29 CFR 4.133(b) by not requiring concessioners to provide extensive
free services; (2) honor the terms under which these concessions were
offered; and (3) maintain the economic viability of concessions.
However, not requiring concessioners to honor Interagency Passes at
SARF day use sites has resulted in misunderstanding by some Interagency
Pass holders, who expect to have their passes honored at all SARF day
use sites. The problem has created a dilemma for the Forest Service.
The Agency believes that all pass holders should understand how their
passes will be honored at concessions. Additionally, the Agency
believes that holders of the Interagency Pass have a reasonable
expectation that their passes will be honored at all SARF day use
sites.
However, it would not be economically viable to require
concessioners to provide free use to all Interagency Pass holders. Not
only were these costs not anticipated when the applications for these
concessions were submitted, but these requirements, in addition to the
camping fee discount, would be detrimental to the economics of the
concessions and could render many of them nonviable. Furthermore,
although camping fees are the primary source of revenue for most
concessions, for some, the primary source of revenue is day use sites.
Concessioners are concerned that the Agency will remove these sites
from concessions to satisfy the expectations of Interagency Pass
holders and thus eliminate viable business opportunities.

e. Annual Interagency Pass Sales by the Forest Service

Based on data obtained from a 2008 field survey, the issuance of
Interagency Passes by the Forest Service can be characterized as
follows:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Percentage of
Type of pass Number sold total
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Access............................ 11,991 15.7
Senior............................ 47,488 62.0
Annual............................ 16,437 21.5
Volunteer......................... 227 00.3
-------------------------------------
Total......................... 76,143 100
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Senior and Access Passes, which currently entitle the holder to a
50 percent discount on camping fees at concessions, represent more than
78 percent of Interagency Passes issued by the Forest Service. Annual
Passes, which are not currently honored by concessioners for free use
at SARF day use sites, represent 21.5 percent of Interagency Passes
issued by the Forest Service. Volunteer Passes, which are also not
currently honored by concessioners for free use at SARF day use sites,
constitute an insignificant percentage of Interagency Passes issued by
the Forest Service.

f. Offering Different Discounts on Camping Fees for the Two Sets of
Senior and Disability Passes

It is impracticable for the Forest Service to offer different
discounts on camping fees, one for holders of Golden Age and Golden
Access Passports and another for holders of Senior and Access Passes.
Most highly developed Forest Service campgrounds are managed by
concessioners, and campsites at these campgrounds are included in the
NRRS. It is not feasible under the current technological configuration
and contract for the NRRS to distinguish between Golden Age and Golden
Access Passports and Senior and Access Passes in providing camping fee
discounts for concession sites in the NRRS. Provision of the discount
to eligible customers for Forest Service sites in the NRRS is driven by
provision of the holder's pass number, not the type of pass. There is
no way to differentiate between the numbers for Golden Age and Golden
Access Passports and the numbers for Senior and Access Passes in the
NRRS because they have the same number of digits. Moreover, there is no
national database of pass numbers for either type of pass. Thus, there
is no means to verify which discount holders of the two types of passes
should receive through the NRRS.
The Agency does not want to discourage use of the NRRS because it
is known in the market as the primary portal for campground
reservations on Federal lands and it reduces the need to handle cash in
remote locations, thereby enhancing public safety and accountability.
The Forest Service also does not want to treat reservation and walk-in
customers differently with regard to how these two sets of passes are
honored at concessions.
Differentiation between the two sets of passes would create an
excessive workload for the NRRS because of the need to ensure at all
reservation levels (that is, at the call center, over the internet, and
for field sales) that the correct discount is being provided.
Differentiation would add complexity to field operations by requiring
verification of eligibility and would increase the risk of failure for
the NRRS contractor in meeting the Government's performance standards
by imposing a requirement that is difficult to verify.
Different discounts for the two sets of passes would create
inequity among members of two classes of citizens, seniors and the
disabled. Under the NRRS, customers are not classified. All customers
are considered equal; the only differentiation is that those with a
Golden Age or Golden Access Passport or Senior or Access Pass enter the
pass number and receive a discount on camping fees. Furthermore, when
the Interagency Pass was adopted, holders of Golden Age and Golden
Access Passports were encouraged to exchange them for Senior or Access
Passes, and many did. Establishing a dual discount policy would seem
unfair to these pass holders.
Finally, a dual standard for the two sets of passes would be
confusing to current and future pass holders. Therefore, the Forest
Service is

[[Page 62739]]

proposing to offer the same discounts on camping fees to holders of
Golden Age and Golden Access Passports as holders of Senior and Access
Passes.

g. Analysis of the Concession Industry

In 2008, the Forest Service commissioned a market and financial
analysis to assist the Forest Service in understanding current trends
in the campground concession industry. As part of the study, interviews
were conducted with Forest Service employees across the country at the
regional, district, and forest levels; campground concessioners; the
National Forest Recreation Association; the Good Sam Club; the National
Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds; and the RV Industry
Association. While AARP declined to be interviewed, the organization
stated via email that it may submit comments on the proposed
directives. The Forest Service used the report resulting from the study
as part of its analysis in preparing this notice.

h. The Effect of Changing Demographics

Between 2008 and 2022, it is estimated that the number of senior
citizens 62 years of age or older in the United States will increase at
an average annual rate of approximately 3 percent a year due to the
effect of the Baby Boom generation (born between 1946 and 1964). The
total senior population will grow by approximately 50 percent from 47
million in 2008 to 70.7 million in 2022, increasing from 15.4 percent
of the total population in 2008 to 20.7 percent in 2022 according to
census estimates. In contrast, the rest of the U.S. population is
expected to decline.
Between 2001 and 2006, the number of concession camping nights sold
at a discount was approximately 7.4 percent nationally. By 2007,
discounted senior use increased to 11.4 percent nationally. Some
concessioners already provide senior discounts on 25 to 30 percent or
more of their camping fees. Due to the growth of eligible seniors, the
number of discounted camping nights could increase nationally to 17
percent by 2022, assuming current participation rates by seniors and
non-seniors in camping.
Concessioners' cost to provide the 50 percent senior and disability
discounts in 2007 was approximately $4,000,000 nationally. Given the
projected growth in seniors, continuation of the 50 percent senior and
disability discount policy could increase the cost of providing the 50
percent discount to $6,000,000 nationally by 2022. This increase in
operating costs would likely require a corresponding increase in
camping fees for non-seniors, who represent a shrinking demographic in
relation to seniors.
Assuming full campsite costs ranging from $10.50 to $15.00 for non-
seniors, senior pass holders who would pay $5.25 to $7.50 per night for
a family campsite under current Forest Service policy would pay $9.45
to $13.50 for that campsite under the proposed directives. Non-seniors
already pay an estimated $1.50 extra to offset the senior discount. If
the discount policy remains unchanged, based solely on growth in the
number of seniors, campsite cost for non-seniors could increase by $.75
to $1.00 by 2022 strictly to offset the senior discount. The
consequential cost of the current policy to non-seniors is inequitable.

i. Forest Service Discount Versus Market Discounts

Now that the Baby Boom generation is starting to retire, many
hospitality, travel, and recreation companies have reconsidered their
approach to senior discounts. Nevertheless, some level of discounting
remains widespread across hospitality industries. Discount levels vary
and come with more or less restrictions, but a generally accepted
standard appears to be approximately 10 percent, rather than 50
percent, as under current Forest Service policy. Camping discounts in
the private sector are not uniquely targeted towards seniors. Where
annual membership fees are charged, discounts range from 10 to 50
percent. In contrast to the Forest Service senior discount,
participating campgrounds are generally required to honor the 10
percent discount at any time of year, although black-out dates may
apply. The 50 percent discount is typically offered only when space is
readily available and can therefore be used to encourage off-peak use
without reducing peak season income.

j. Proposed Change to Pass Policy for Concessioners

To address the economic impact of escalating senior pass use on
concessions, to approximate the market rate for discounts, and to treat
all holders of senior and disability passes the same, the Forest
Service is proposing to reduce the camping fee discount concessioners
are required to offer holders of Golden Age and Golden Access Passports
and Senior and Access Passes from 50 to 10 percent. Concession
applicants could propose a higher discount in their application to
encourage use during off-peak times.
To address the competing objectives of meeting expectations of
Interagency Pass holders, while retaining the option to operate SARF
day use sites as part of concessions, the Forest Service is also
proposing to require concessioners to offer a 10 percent discount to
holders of Golden Age and Golden Access Passports and Senior and Access
Passes and free use to holders of Annual and Volunteer Passes at SARF
day use sites operated by concessioners.
Revenue derived from camping fees represents approximately 88
percent of total concession revenue, while revenue derived from day use
sites, most of which comes from SARFs, represents approximately 12
percent of total concession revenue. Reducing the camping fee discount
for holders of Golden Age and Golden Access Passports and Senior and
Access Passes from 50 percent to 10 percent would increase revenue for
concessions by approximately $3,360,000 or 9.6 percent nationally. The
report estimates that the current cost of the 50 percent camping fee
discount to concessioners is $4.2 million. The proposed directives
would reduce the camping fee discount to 10 percent or $0.84 million.
The difference between the value of the current discount and the
proposed discount, $3.36 million, equals the estimated increase in
campground concession revenue ($4.2 million - $.84 million = $3.36
million). Additionally, the report estimates that total campground
concession revenue is $35 million. Thus, reducing the camping fee
discount for holders of Golden Age and Golden Access Passports and
Senior and Access Passes from 50 to 10 percent would increase
campground concession revenue by approximately $3.36 million or 9.6
percent of total concession revenue nationally (3.36 / 35 = .096).
Based on 2007 data, the agency estimates that establishing a
discount of 10 percent for holders of Golden Age and Golden Access
Passports and Senior and Access Passes at concession-operated SARF day
use sites would cost concessioners approximately $50,000 nationally
(assuming that gross revenue is $4,200,000 and that senior represents
11.4 percent of total use). This cost could increase to $75,000 by 2022
based on the increase in the number of eligible seniors. Granting free
use to holders of Annual and Volunteer Passes would cost concessioners
approximately $134,000 to $420,000 nationally (assuming that annual
pass use ranges from 3.2 to 10 percent of total use). There are
insufficient data regarding current pass use at SARF day use sites.
Therefore, the lower number in the range is based on the number of
Annual and Volunteer Passes issued by the Forest Service, which
represents 28 percent of the number of Senior and Access Passes issued
by the agency. The

[[Page 62740]]

higher number in the range is based on the assumption that passes
issued by other Federal agencies will be presented at these sites.
These two costs combined ($184,000 to $470,000) represent approximately
0.53 to 1.3 percent of all Forest Service campground concession revenue
nationally.
The agency estimates that the cost of providing a 10 percent
discount for holders of Golden Age and Golden Access Passports and
Senior and Access Passes and free use to holders of Annual and
Volunteer Passes at SARF day use sites would be offset by the estimated
$3,360,000 increase in revenue nationally from reducing the camping fee
discount for holders of Golden Age and Golden Access Passports and
Senior and Access Passes. The agency estimates that the concession
program as a whole would experience a net revenue increase of
approximately 8.3 to 9.0 percent based on the combined effect of the
reduced discount on camping fees for holders of Golden Age and Golden
Access Passports and Senior and Access Passes; the 10 percent discount
for holders of those passes at SARF day use sites; and free use for
holders of Annual and Volunteer Passes at concession-operated SARF day
use sites.
If existing concessioners would experience a net decrease in
revenue, they could elect not to amend their permit to include the
requirements in the proposed directives. When permits are reoffered,
the Agency would strive to compose the offering so that implementation
of the proposed directives would not render a concession uneconomical.
Where revenue generated from SARF day use sites is substantial, the
prospectus would allow applicants to propose separate percentages of
gross revenue for SARF day use sites and camping.
The effect of these policy changes on a particular concession would
vary depending on the amount of revenue generated from camping fees
relative to the amount of revenue generated from SARF day use sites.
Some concessions would experience a significant increase in revenue,
while others might experience little or no change. The Forest Service
is proposing to amend the land use fee to maintain market value for
existing concessioners who agree to have their permits changed to
reflect the new policy. Specifically, the Forest Service is proposing
to increase the land use fee by adding a surcharge for the balance of
these concessioners' permit term in accordance with the schedule below.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Percentage of gross revenue
Increase in gross revenue added to the land use fee
------------------------------------------------------------------------
$10,000 or less........................... No change.
$10,001 to $25,000........................ +0.25.
$25,001 to 50,000......................... +0.5.
$50,001 to 75,000......................... +1.0.
$75,001 to 100,000........................ +1.5.
Over $100,000............................. +2.0.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The example below illustrates the economic effect of the proposed
directives on a concession that has a significant SARF day use
component. In this example, a concession generates approximately
$500,000 in revenue, 50 percent of which is generated from camping
fees, and 50 percent is generated from day use; 11.4 percent of campers
and day users hold Senior or Access Passes, and 3 percent of day users
hold Annual or Volunteer Passes.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Current camping Proposed camping Change in revenue/
Overnight use Camper nights fee Current revenue fee Potential revenue land use fee
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
No Pass........................... 15,703 $15.00 $235,545 $15.00 $235,545
Senior and Access Passes.......... 2,021 7.50 15,158 13.50 27,284
Totals........................ 17,724 ................. 250,703 ................. 262,829 +12,126
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Change in revenue/
Day use Use days Current use fee Proposed use fee land use fee
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
No Pass........................... 36,581 $5.85 $213,999 $5.85 $213,999
Senior and Access Passes.......... 4,872 5.85 28,501 5.27 25,675
Annual and Volunteer Passes....... 1,282 5.85 7,500 0 0
Totals........................ 42,735 ................. 250,000 ................. 239,674 -$10,326
Net Change in Revenue............. ................. ................. ................. ................. ................. +1,800
Surcharge......................... ................. ................. ................. ................. ................. none
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In this scenario, net concession revenue would increase by only $1,800, so there would be no surcharge.

k. Summary

The proposed 10 percent discount for seniors and the disabled would
be comparable to other market discounts and would be sustainable for
concession operations, even with changing demographics. The reduction
in the camping fee discount, combined with the added discount and free
use at SARF day use sites, would generate sufficient revenue to sustain
viable concession operations and correct the unsustainable cost of a
non-market based senior discount. These changes are both necessary and
timely. Furthermore, the proposed changes would ensure consistency and
fairness in the Forest Service's concessions pass policy.
Proposed policy changes that are adopted would be incorporated as
appropriate in the standard prospectus; the standard special use permit
for concession campgrounds and related Granger-Thye improvements, form
FS-2700-4h; and other applicable forms.

2. Section-by-Section Analysis of Proposed Changes to FSM 2344.3,
Campgrounds and Related Granger-Thye Concessions

In General

FSM 2344.3 would be revised, and section 2344.31, paragraph 1,
would be replaced with proposed paragraphs 1, 2, 2(a), 2(b), 2(c), and
3. Current paragraphs 2, 3, and 7 would be renumbered to 5, 6, and 10
and revised, respectively, to replace references to the

[[Page 62741]]

LWCFA with a reference to REA if applicable and to incorporate
amendments to Section 7 of the Granger-Thye Act. The remaining current
paragraphs 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 would be renumbered to 7, 8, 9, 11, and 12
respectively.

2344.3--Campground and Related Granger-Thye Concessions

FSM 2344.3 would be revised to replace the reference to the LWCFA
with a reference to REA. Additionally, the title would be revised for
consistency with the standard campground concession permit.

2344.31--Policy

Current Paragraph 1
This paragraph would be revised to conform to the current practice
in concession prospectuses and the NRRS of requiring a 50 percent
discount for holders of Senior and Access Passes. Additionally, it
would limit the requirement to extend a 50 percent discount to holders
of Golden Age and Golden Access Passports and Senior and Access Passes
to permits that are in effect before the effective date of the revised
directives, unless concessioners agree to amend their permit to reflect
all of the new requirements in paragraphs 2(a), 2(b), 2(c), and 3.
Proposed Paragraph 2
This paragraph would address the new policy for honoring passes at
concessions.
Proposed Paragraph 2(a)
Paragraph 2(a) would reduce the discount on camping fees which
concessioners are required to provide to holders of Golden Age and
Golden Access Passports and Senior and Access Passes from 50 to 10
percent. Additionally, paragraph 2(a) would allow concessioners to
propose higher discounts in their applications.
Proposed Paragraph 2(b)
Paragraph 2(b) would require concessioners to provide a 10 percent
discount at SARF day use sites to holders of Golden Age and Golden
Access Passports and Senior and Access Passes.
Proposed Paragraph 2(c)
Paragraph 2(c) would require concessioners to provide free use to
holders of Annual and Volunteer Passes at SARF day use sites.
Proposed Paragraph 3
For existing concessioners who elect to amend their permits to
incorporate the changes to the concession pass policy in the proposed
directives, this paragraph would impose an increase in the land use fee
if their gross revenue increases by more than $10,000 from the
reduction in the camping fee discount.
Proposed Paragraph 4
This paragraph would clarify that required discounts and free use
to pass holders must be factored into proposed land use fees.
Current Paragraphs 2 and 3
Current paragraph 2 in FSM 2344.31 would be renumbered as paragraph
5, and current paragraph 3 would be renumbered as paragraph 6. Proposed
paragraphs 5 and 6 would cite the new FSH on publicly managed
recreation sites or REA, rather than the LWCFA.
Current Paragraph 7
This paragraph would be renumbered as paragraph 10 and would be
revised to conform with amendments to Section 7 of the Granger-Thye Act
regarding land use fee offset.
Current Paragraph 9
This paragraph would be renumbered as paragraph 12 and would cite
the new FSH on publicly managed recreation sites. Additionally, this
paragraph would be revised to include the requirements of the NRRS
contract, including the need to make at least 60 percent of campsites
reservable and to allow reservations to be made on the date of arrival
or up to 4 days in advance of arrival. However, the permit clause
addressing the NRRS would be removed from the FSM and placed in the
standard campground concession permit form, FS-2700-4h.
Current Paragraphs 4, 5, 6, and 8
These paragraphs would be renumbered as 7, 8, 9, and 11.

3. Regulatory Requirements

Environmental Impact

These proposed directives would revise national Forest Service
policy governing administration of concession permits. Forest Service
regulations at 36 CFR 220.6(d)(2) exclude from documentation in an
environmental assessment or environmental impact statement ``rules,
regulations, or policies to establish Servicewide administrative
procedures, program processes, or instructions.'' The Agency has
concluded that these proposed directives fall within this category of
actions and that no extraordinary circumstances exist which would
require preparation of an environmental assessment or environmental
impact statement.

Regulatory Impact

These proposed directives have been reviewed under USDA procedures
and Executive Order (E.O.) 12866 on regulatory planning and review. The
Office of Management and Budget has determined that these directives
are not significant. These directives would alter recreation use fees
paid by the public at concessions. Therefore, these proposed directives
would not have an annual effect of $100 million or more on the economy,
nor would they adversely affect productivity, competition, jobs, the
environment, public health and safety, or State or local governments.
These proposed directives would not interfere with an action taken or
planned by another agency, nor would they raise new legal or policy
issues. Finally, these proposed directives would not alter the
budgetary impact of entitlement, grant, or loan programs or the rights
and obligations of beneficiaries of those programs. Accordingly, these
proposed directives are not subject to Office of Management and Budget
review under E.O. 12866.
Moreover, the Agency has considered these proposed directives in
light of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 602 et seq.).
Pursuant to a threshold Regulatory Flexibility Act analysis, the Agency
has determined that these proposed directives would not have a
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities
as defined by the Act because the proposed directives would not impose
new recordkeeping requirements on them; the proposed directives would
not affect their competitive position in relation to large entities;
and the proposed directives would not significantly affect their cash
flow, liquidity, or ability to remain in the market. To the contrary,
these proposed directives would either have a positive or neutral
effect on the economics of concessions. The benefits are not likely to
alter costs to small businesses. Revenue for small entities is likely
to increase from 0.5 to 8.3 percent as a result of these proposed
directives.

No Takings Implications

The Agency has analyzed these proposed directives in accordance
with the principles and criteria contained in E.O. 12630 and has
determined that the proposed directives would not pose the risk of a
taking of private property.

Civil Justice Reform

These proposed directives have been reviewed under E.O. 12988 on
civil justice reform. If the proposed directives were adopted, (1) All
State and local laws and regulations that conflict with

[[Page 62742]]

the proposed directives or that would impede their full implementation
would be preempted; (2) no retroactive effect would be given to the
proposed directives; and (3) they would not require administrative
proceedings before parties may file suit in court challenging their
provisions.

Federalism and Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal
Governments

The Agency has considered these proposed directives under the
requirements of E.O. 13132 on federalism and has concluded that the
proposed directives conform with the federalism principles set out in
this E.O.; would not impose any compliance costs on the States; and
would not have substantial direct effects on the States, the
relationship between the Federal Government and the States, or the
distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of
government. Therefore, the Agency has determined that no further
assessment of federalism implications is necessary at this time.
Moreover, these proposed directives do not have tribal implications
as defined by E.O. 13175, entitled ``Consultation and Coordination With
Indian Tribal Governments,'' and therefore advance consultation with
Tribes is not required.

Energy Effects

The Agency has reviewed the proposed directives under E.O. 13211,
entitled ``Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect
Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use.'' The Agency has determined that
these proposed directives do not constitute a significant energy action
as defined in the E.O.

Unfunded Mandates

Pursuant to Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2
U.S.C. 1531-1538), the Agency has assessed the effects of these
proposed directives on State, local, and Tribal Governments and the
private sector. These proposed directives would not compel the
expenditure of $100 million or more by any State, local, or Tribal
Government or anyone in the private sector. Therefore, a statement
under section 202 of the act is not required.

Controlling Paperwork Burdens on the Public

These proposed directives do not contain any new recordkeeping or
reporting requirements or other information collection requirements as
defined in 5 CFR Part 1320 that are not already required by law or not
already approved for use. Any information collected from the public
that would be required by these proposed directives has been approved
by the Office of Management and Budget and assigned control number
0596-0082. Accordingly, the review provisions of the Paperwork
Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) and its implementing
regulations at 5 CFR Part 1320 do not apply.

4. Access to the Proposed Directives

The intended audience for this direction is Forest Service
employees charged with issuing and administering concession permits. To
view the proposed directives, visit the Forest Service's Web site at
http://www.fs.fed.us/specialuses/. Only the section of the FSM that is
the subject of this notice has been posted, i.e., FSM 2344.3,
Campgrounds and Related Granger-Thye Concessions.

Dated: November 24, 2009.
Hank Kashdan,
Associate Chief.
[FR Doc. E9-28744 Filed 11-30-09; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-11-P
avatar Re: Proposed Directives for Forest Service Concession Campground Special Use Permits
December 03, 2009 12:50PM
Bureau-babble not permitted. Please resubmit on one 8.5" x 11" page in 12-point type.

Thank you,
The unwashed common folk
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