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nedmtnman
I saw this on another forum and the link is to the regs. It seems there is a movement to reduce the discount at National Forest Service camgrounds to 10% from the current 50 %. The only people this would benefit is the corporations that contract to operate the campgrounds. Please go to this web site and post a comment.


http://www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/hom...900006480a60f36

http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/E9-28744.htm

Florida Native
Like everything else the government does, they don't make this easy, but it is worth making your comments.
RV Camper
Forest Service to Eliminate Senior and Disabled Camping Discounts

DURANGO, CO - The U.S. Forest Service has announced it plans to eliminate the 50% discount at National Forest campgrounds that has traditionally been available to holders of lifetime Senior and Access (permanent disability) passes. The change will apply at campgrounds operated by private concessioners, which represent 50% of National Forest camping capacity and 82% of reservable campsites.

Under current policy, concessioners are required to honor Senior and Access passes for campground fees under the same terms as if the Forest Service operated the facility directly, meaning that a 50% discount must be offered. Most highly developed campgrounds are now concessioner-run.

In a notice in the December 1st Federal Register, the agency outlined a new policy that would replace the half-price rule that has been in place since the mid-'60s with a 10% discount. The policy would also require Senior and Access pass holders to pay a fee at National Forest day-use sites that are currently covered in full by their passes.

Day-use sites managed by concessioners will also be affected. Under the new policy, holders of the annual America the Beautiful Pass would be entitled to free entry, but Senior and Access lifetime pass holders would get only a 10% discount. This changes current policy, which calls for all three passes to be honored equally at day-use fee sites.

Seniors 62 and older pay a one-time $10 fee for their lifetime pass. Lifetime passes for the permanently disabled are free. Together, Senior and Access passes represent more than 78% of all pass sales.

<End excerpted news release>

We strongly suggest that you take a moment to tell the U.S. Forest Service what you think by clicking on the comment link below, or by sending your comments via postal mail. You may also wish to contact your state and Federal representatives as well.

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

You can send comments electronically by following the instructions at the Federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov, or utilize this link: http://www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/hom...900006480a60f36

Comments also may be submitted by mail:

U.S. Forest Service, Attn: Carolyn Holbrook
Recreation and Heritage Resources Staff
1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Stop 1125
Washington, DC 20250-1125

Comments sent by postal mail should reference the notice by the following title:
Proposed Directives for Forest Service Concession Campground Special Use Permits (Document ID FS-2009-0001-0001)
Wink
Just remember what they said.No more tax.Now the word is fee.I have noticed here that this year you get the 50% at some of the camp grounds we go to.But not really.As there is a utility fee.Still not bad but going up a little at a time.Also all day use parks are not free all ready as with a lot of the springs in Florida. huh.gif
Wink
RLM
Since I have work camped and been a volunteer with the USFS, I read the link from end to end and then I reread it to be sure any comment I made would be accurate. Since it is written in plain English -as opposed to legalize - one can find many, many holes in the argument for having us suck up to concessionaires. Some of the arguments, based on my experience with the USFS, are so absurd that even one with a two digit IQ would not believe them.

Make no mistake, this proposal confirms that those of you who hold the passes are entitled to a 50% discount on campground fees regardless of whether or not the concessionaire posts info to the contrary …”Consistent with FSM 2344.31, since enactment of REA, the Forest Service has also continued to require concessionaires to proved a 50 percent discount…” So please hold fast and take the discount that is currently available despite what you are told to the contrary by the concessionaire employees.

What I find particularly humorous is this statement of doom …”If the discount policy remains unchanged, based solely on the growth of seniors, campsite costs for non-seniors could increase by $.75 to $1.00 by 2022 strictly to offset the senior discount.” My calculator says that, in a ten year period, that would be about 8 cents per campsite for a non-senior camper. Let me see now...dump the 50% discount or charge an extra 8 cents...which benefits the concessionaire more......Are you Smarter Than a Fifth Grader???

The USFS is under the control of the Department of Agriculture. My I respectfully suggest that you contact a House or Senate representative to voice your opposition. You can find those members at the following sites:
http://agriculture.house.gov/inside/members.html
http://ag.senate.gov/site/cmtemembers.html

nedmtnman> Thank you for posting this. My US Senator is on the Ag Committee and I am going to bend his ear. I’d respectfully suggest others also do so. If you don’t, then you have no cause to bitch about the loss of an entitlement.
Florida Native
My congressman is Alan Grayson. If you have been keeping up with the news, you can see it would be a waste of time. I will email both of my senators though. We use the card whenever we can. Florida has a similar program with a 65 age limit. I see taxes and fees going up in the future.
DXSMac
I'm not 62 but my questions are....

The Golden Age Passport is also accepted at National Park Service Parks and Corps of Engineers parks. If the Forest Service changes to 10%, would the other two agencies have to follow suit?

JJ
kcmoedoe
In the long term, the elimination of the 50% discount will benefit taxpayers as a whole. When the concession contract comes up bid, the forest service would receive higher bids based on the higher revenue potential of the sites. In effect, the forest service is getting less income from their concession leases because they currently subsidize camping for senior citizens. At the risk of being branded a heretic, why should someone born in 1944 get a 50% discount and someone born in 1945 get nothing? Don't get me wrong, when I reach 65 I will be glad to take any discount available, but why should the taxpaying public as a whole be subsidizing campsites for those 65 and older?
abbygolden
QUOTE(kcmoedoe @ Dec 5 2009, 11:51 AM) *

In the long term, the elimination of the 50% discount will benefit taxpayers as a whole. When the concession contract comes up bid, the forest service would receive higher bids based on the higher revenue potential of the sites. In effect, the forest service is getting less income from their concession leases because they currently subsidize camping for senior citizens. At the risk of being branded a heretic, why should someone born in 1944 get a 50% discount and someone born in 1945 get nothing? Don't get me wrong, when I reach 65 I will be glad to take any discount available, but why should the taxpaying public as a whole be subsidizing campsites for those 65 and older?


I wish there was an avatar for a can of worms!
stonybirch
QUOTE(kcmoedoe @ Dec 5 2009, 09:51 AM) *

In the long term, the elimination of the 50% discount will benefit taxpayers as a whole. When the concession contract comes up bid, the forest service would receive higher bids based on the higher revenue potential of the sites. In effect, the forest service is getting less income from their concession leases because they currently subsidize camping for senior citizens. At the risk of being branded a heretic, why should someone born in 1944 get a 50% discount and someone born in 1945 get nothing? Don't get me wrong, when I reach 65 I will be glad to take any discount available, but why should the taxpaying public as a whole be subsidizing campsites for those 65 and older?

blink.gif Your comments stating that you are willing to accept discounts at age 65 seems to be somewhat contradictory if you are questioning discounts for '65 & older' and senior citizens.Those of us in that over 65 of senior citizens have many, many years paying for the park and forests services. Perhaps many helped to build those park during the days of the WPA. In my opinion, these discounts are offered as show of R E S P E C T, which is in short supply in our society today.
Florida Native
Gosh, Toadless, from that picture on your website, I had you down for at least 62. Now I am just kidding you.
kcmoedoe
QUOTE(stonybirch @ Dec 7 2009, 04:26 PM) *

blink.gif Your comments stating that you are willing to accept discounts at age 65 seems to be somewhat contradictory if you are questioning discounts for '65 & older' and senior citizens.Those of us in that over 65 of senior citizens have many, many years paying for the park and forests services. Perhaps many helped to build those park during the days of the WPA. In my opinion, these discounts are offered as show of R E S P E C T, which is in short supply in our society today.
I don't see how it is contradictory at all. I am willing to take anything I am offered that benefits me as long as it is not illegal or immoral. That doesn't necessarily mean it is a good idea to offer it. You mention that these discounts are offered as a show of respect. What if the person accepting the discount doesn't deserve any respect. What if Charlie Manson was paroled at age 80 and decided to camp at a forest service campground, do we owe him a 50% discount as a show of "respect" for his life's contributions to society? In business, discounts are used to lure customers into the discounter's place of business. If you want to make the case that forest service campgrounds need to lure in more customers over the age of 65, you have a legitimate argument in my opinion. If the discount is offered as some benefit for living long, I have a problem with that logic. I just don't see how living longer than an arbitrary amount of years makes someone deserving of special benefits, especially if the cost is borne by the taxpayer. American society has already provided senior citizens a multitude of benefits that are funded by the taxpayer, I just don't think that discounted camping spots is a necessary entitlement.
DXSMac
QUOTE(Lindsay Richards @ Dec 7 2009, 08:21 PM) *

Gosh, Toadless, from that picture on your website, I had you down for at least 62. Now I am just kidding you.



Gee.... thanks........ (Harumph, harumph....... just kidding....) I wish I could take a better picture. Unfortunately, the best picture I have is from when I was 47 and it was a great picture, but since I'm now 54, it would be kind of "lying" to keep using a picture from when I was 47....

But back to Golden Age Passports..... my current "gentleman friend" (I'm sorry but when one is in their 50's, the word "boyfriend" just sounds icky.......) is 62 and just got one of those passports. He agrees with KCMoeDoe about the 50% being too much of a discount, but he says, "heck, if I qualify I'm taking it......."

JJ
Florida Native
I am in the 5th year of my 3rd 6 year drivers licence, so my pictue in 17 years old. It can all be done by computer and via mail. In my case, I have not changed at all except for weight and hair color. My wife has told me that I have to go get a new photo next May when my birthday comes up. When we reached 65 we were thrilled to get onto Medicare for which I have been paying for over 40 years. Looks like it is going to be cut soon.
John Blue
We need to look at it like this. Out birth year is not the trick here. As soon as you get to age 62 you pay the $10 dollars and get your card. Now you have worked a long time and sent tons of dollars to the IRS to help run the world. Now you only have a small window of time to enjoy what little life you have left. From age 62 to time you need to stop driving an RV is short. You have done your part to change the world and now is the time to have some fun in life. You have helped others and now other people can help you.
rgatijnet
Some of the National Parks have already figured out ways to get around the Senior Pass free access. They do not charge an entrance fee so if you have a Senior Pass, you, along with everyone else, can get into the Park for free. If you want to park, however, and enjoy the sights, they charge $10+ for parking your automobile.
I guess it is all about the money and Washington feels they have to get more creative to get more money from us without actually raising taxes. Almost all fees have been raised and we are now paying twice for things that used to be funded with the federal income taxes that we paid. sad.gif
Jerry S
For what it's worth, let me give you my take on "senior" discounts. This pertains to "senior" discounts in our society in general, not just NPS park discounts. I certainly can't pinpoint when this happened, but our society started giving older Americans a financial break on a variety of things decades ago. At the time, once most folks reached a certain age, their income (and thus buying power) declined substantially. You didn't have a lot of people retiring with retirement incomes above the national household income of the day and portfolios equal to 10+ times that. The "senior" discounts gave older people the chance to enjoy things that would have otherwise stretched their budgets. Whether it was was a night out for dinner and a movie or or public and commercial transportation, these discounts put these things within reach of millions of seniors who could not affor them on their incomes.

In recent decades more and more Americans have reached that certain age with a lot more in their pockets than the previous generations. OK, maybe not so much with the recent economy, but many of us still have no "real" financial concerns. On the other hand, there are still millions of seniors for whom these discounts make life a little easier financially. Although many of us on this forum don't need these discounts, I would hope we can appreciate how lucky we are not to need them.

I guess that could be considered a "Merry Christmas" thought.
rgatijnet
QUOTE(Jerry S. @ Dec 9 2009, 10:44 PM) *

For what it's worth, let me give you my take on "senior" discounts. This pertains to "senior" discounts in our society in general, not just NPS park discounts. I certainly can't pinpoint when this happened, but our society started giving older Americans a financial break on a variety of things decades ago. At the time, once most folks reached a certain age, their income (and thus buying power) declined substantially. You didn't have a lot of people retiring with retirement incomes above the national household income of the day and portfolios equal to 10+ times that. The "senior" discounts gave older people the chance to enjoy things that would have otherwise stretched their budgets. Whether it was was a night out for dinner and a movie or or public and commercial transportation, these discounts put these things within reach of millions of seniors who could not affor them on their incomes.

In recent decades more and more Americans have reached that certain age with a lot more in their pockets than the previous generations. OK, maybe not so much with the recent economy, but many of us still have no "real" financial concerns. On the other hand, there are still millions of seniors for whom these discounts make life a little easier financially. Although many of us on this forum don't need these discounts, I would hope we can appreciate how lucky we are not to need them.

I guess that could be considered a "Merry Christmas" thought.


I don't disagree with what you are saying but I also look at it from another angle. The Baby Boomer generation, being the largest, was used primarily to fund the Social Security system, as well as pay in the majority of the federal taxes during their working career. Now, when those same baby Boomers are reaching retirement and are just starting to reap the rewards of their own working years, sacrifice, and taxes paid, it seems that the Federal Government are now not willing to provide the same benefits that the Baby Boomers paid into the system to give our predecessors.
Bigdog
QUOTE(John Blue @ Dec 8 2009, 08:14 PM) *

We need to look at it like this. Out birth year is not the trick here. As soon as you get to age 62 you pay the $10 dollars and get your card. Now you have worked a long time and sent tons of dollars to the IRS to help run the world. Now you only have a small window of time to enjoy what little life you have left. From age 62 to time you need to stop driving an RV is short. You have done your part to change the world and now is the time to have some fun in life. You have helped others and now other people can help you.




biggrin.gif biggrin.gif I'm with you.. Besides a lot of the NFS CGs are the only ones with large enuff sites for the tad bit larger rvs
oregonfisherman
QUOTE(abbygolden @ Dec 5 2009, 03:02 PM) *

I wish there was an avatar for a can of worms!

Hi,
I understand what you are saying but when we bought it clearly stated A LIFETIME PASS at a 50% discount for the designated Federal lands. That should mean something. Doesn't seem fair that they can decide to change the conditions for passes they have already sold. That would be pretty irresponsible and low to not now honor the commitment....a little like if a bank were allowed to change the agreed upon interest rate on a contract because they now need more money. They may have to do what they need for future contracts but I think they are obligated to honor the ones already issued even though my kids were also born a couple years too late for the pass too. rolleyes.gif
nedmtnman
Come to think of it a few years ago a park gate attendant told us that the Park Service was going to end the passport for seniors but still honor the ones out there.
kcmoedoe
QUOTE(oregonfisherman @ Dec 22 2009, 01:45 PM) *

Hi,
I understand what you are saying but when we bought it clearly stated A LIFETIME PASS at a 50% discount for the designated Federal lands. That should mean something. Doesn't seem fair that they can decide to change the conditions for passes they have already sold. That would be pretty irresponsible and low to not now honor the commitment....a little like if a bank were allowed to change the agreed upon interest rate on a contract because they now need more money. They may have to do what they need for future contracts but I think they are obligated to honor the ones already issued even though my kids were also born a couple years too late for the pass too. rolleyes.gif

That lifetime pass was for admission to those facilities, not for the use against any fees charged by a concessionaire. You wouldn't expect your Golden Age pass to get you 50% off meals or T-shirts and campgrounds run by concessionaires is the same issue. As I stated before, any discount given by the government is paid for by other taxpayers.
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