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Arizona Boy Scouts, Churches Protest U.S. Forest Service's Rising Fees


by Joe Salkowski, The Arizona Daily Star
June 16, 2001
Summarized Article by: Kyle Bagnall

The U.S. Forest Service has announced plans to make dramatic increases in the cost of leasing land in the Colorado National Forest along Mount Lemmon's Organization Ridge in 2003. Local groups, including the BSA and several local churches say the increases are far beyond their budget.

Paul Abbott, director of the Old Pueblo District, said the annual cost of leasing land for the Boy Scout camp would jump from $4,500 to $71,000 if the increases occur as scheduled.

Forest Service spokesman Ken Palmrose said the increases are steep because the cost of leasing land in the Colorado National Forest hasn't risen in decades. The price increase, Palmrose said, is the agency merely complying with a federal law which requires it to collect fair-market value for leasing its lands.

Representatives of nonprofit groups met with U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe, who inserted language in a recent appropriations bill asking the Forest Service to reconsider its plans.

"I don't believe that when Congress told the Forest Service to operate more like a business that we wanted them to go after nonprofit groups that are providing these kinds of services to communities," Kolbe said. "That's certainly not what we intended."

Palmrose said groups that serve children or the poor can apply for significant reductions in the cost of their leases. "We'd like to sit down with them to see if they could meet those discount requirements," Palmrose said.

Addendum: Scouting for All says why should the BSA receive any special privileges from the Federal government when it blatantly discriminates against persons who are gay and atheists? Wake up BSA!



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