In 2021, the Ski Hill Resources for Economic Development (SHRED) Act, which aimed to help national forests retain some of the fees that they typically pay the Treasury, was introduced to Congress. This would allow for reinvestments at the ski resorts and national forests. There has been some traction on the bill, but not enough to get approved.
According to WCAX, it has been reintroduced to the House of Representatives and Senate chambers by a bipartisan group of representatives and senators. In the Senate, it’s being led by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and John Barrasso (R-WY). In the house, it was reintroduced by Congresswoman Annie Kuster (D-NH), Congressman John Curtis (R-UT), Congressman Joe Neguse (D-CO), and Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-CA).
Here is the summary of the bill from Congress.gov:
“This bill establishes the Ski Area Fee Retention Account. A specified portion of rental charges for ski area permits on a Forest Service unit shall be deposited in such account. Amounts in the fund shall be available to the unit for expenditure without further appropriation for ski area administration, improvements, visitor services, and wildfire preparedness. Funds may be reallocated only if the amounts collected exceed the reasonable needs of the unit.”
Here are further details about the bill, which are from the press release:
- “Keep Ski Fees Local: By establishing a Ski Area Fee Retention Account to retain the fees that ski areas pay to the Forest Service. For National Forests that generate ski fees, 80 percent of those fees are available for authorized uses at the local National Forest. The remaining 20 percent of those fees would be available to assist any National Forests with winter or broad recreation needs.
- Support Winter Recreation: In each forest, 75 percent of the retained funds are directly available to support the Forest Service Ski Area Program and permitting needs, process proposals for ski area improvement projects, provide information for visitors, and prepare for wildfire. Any excess funds can be directed to other National Forests with winter or broad recreation needs.
- Address Broad Recreation Needs: In each forest, 25 percent of the retained funds are available to support a broad set of year-round local recreation management and community needs, including special use permit administration, visitor services, trailhead improvements, facility maintenance, search and rescue activities, avalanche information and education, habitat restoration at recreation sites and affordable workforce housing. This set-aside would dramatically increase some Forest Service units’ budgets to meet the growing visitation and demand for outdoor recreation.”
The bill has co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle, so it’s possible that it can reach President Biden’s desk. We’ll keep you posted on the latest developments for this bill.
Image Credits: Ian Wood of Unofficial Networks(Photos are from Snowbird, Copper, and Loon, which are all on U.S. Forest Service land)