Our Updated Advice What to Do About Your 2014 Cabin Permit Fee
March 6, 2014
In early January we communicated our best advice to cabin owners facing 2014 fee bills – and some with 2013 fee bills – that they simply can’t pay. We’ve heard back from many of you and have learned more about the Forest Service collection process, and, frustratingly, the Cabin Fee Act is stilllanguishing in Congress. So for many, it now may be time to fish or cut bait, as they say, because you can’t sit on a fee bill forever without some unwelcome results. First, we remain optimistic that the CFA will eventually be passed by Congress, but it’s got to be soon to help with extremely high fees. . . . Despite strong bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress, the Cabin Fee Act is part of a huge logjam that defies understanding. Be assured though that we continue to push the legislation as hard as possible! Now, about those fee bills. In our prior communication, we advised that if you could not afford to pay your bill, simply do nothing for the time being. While the “do-nothing” strategy might be the only option for some cabin owners, the Forest Service has indicated that making no payment at all will place the permittee into noncompliance with their permit and could trigger revocation proceedings. Instead, we have heard from the Forest Service that the agency will act more favorably toward cabin owners who make any “good faith effort” to pay some portion of their 2014 bill, even if it’s not the full amount. . . . (Read more and download the entire letter here.)
It's time again for our annual NFH elections, an opportunity for you to participate in the democratic process of choosing the leadership to represent your interests in our national membership organization. This year we will elect a new president, as Geoff Anderson is termed out and steps down after six years. Several other positions are up for election, as well as the entire Nominating Committee.
Click here for more information and to see the entire slate of candidates and candidate statements.
The CFA Continues (Slowly)
following is a brief report from our Washington representative, Aubrey King, on the progress of the Cabin Fee
Act in the Senate:
Thursday, December 19th, the Cabin Fee Act (S.1341) passed out of committee following a successful markup by
the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee (ENR). Only two amendments were
made: 1) An effective date for the legislation was set for 1/1/14 and 2) the reference to forest units "derived
from the public domain" in the title paragraph was deleted. There
was no discussion of S. 1341 at the markup, so the bill remains as we
submitted. It was simply approved by
voice vote along with a half dozen or so other "noncontroversial"
words: "Let me reiterate that Oregon cabin
owners and those in other states deserve high praise for their great work in
letting their Senators know how important this bill is. Speaking of
grassroots impact, Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) became a cosponsor just before the
markup—new cosponsors are typically not allowed after markups."
S. 1341 was promptly sent by ENR to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)
for review. On the basis of prior ENR experience, we may not hear
back from the CBO before late January, especially since the CBO is now busy
reviewing the President's 2015 budget proposals. We will do what we can
through our friends in both the House and the Senate to expedite that review. Getting the CFA enacted remains our primary focus and mission. Stay informed and engaged!
Meanwhile, see the preceding article about how to respond to your 2014 fee bills while we work to pass the CFA.
Pete Bailey for the C2 Steering Committee December 2013
National Forest Homeowners is a member-directed organization representing cabin-owner recreation residence permittees on our national forests. NFH provides leadership, member information and assistance, and advocacy for continuation of all recreation residences. It is dedicated to educating its members and others in sound science stewardship of our forests.