Annual cabin fees were solved with the Cabin Fee Act, so that means we all can go back to our rockers on the porch without worries about our cabins, right? Unfortunately, no. Cabin use fees were an immediate and real threat to continuance of the recreation residence program and we are fortunate to have solved that problem, however, the need to watch for other possible threats to the program is on-going.
If you’re following the news out of Washington of late, you’ve got to be concerned about proposals to distribute Federal lands to state governments, to eliminate Forest Service law enforcement personnel, and to increase energy development on public lands, to name only a few recent proposals. These proposals and others could threaten the cabin program overall as well as cabins regionally or individually. They could jeopardize the continuation of cabins or make cabins more difficult to use and maintain, for example, through water restrictions or limitations on rebuilding after disasters.
NFH, however, has your back when it comes to threats from Washington DC and government in general, which is part of what you get as a member. Our organization is continually on the alert for issues and proposals which would negatively impact cabins and the cabin program. Once identified, potential threats are researched, assessed to their likely impact and actions developed to counter specific threats through communications, education and, if needed, Congressional contacts through our Washington representatives and individual members.
So who’s watching out for cabin interests?
First would be our NFH officers and board of directors. Elected by the membership to represent our members, the board and leadership of NFH meet on a regular basis to direct the efforts of our volunteer committees and paid staff and decide how our organization will respond to specific issues and threats.
Second would be the Government Liaison Committee. Appointed by the board and comprised of volunteer members, this committee researches and actively monitors identified issues, develops alternative responses and recommends actions to the board.
Third would be our professional representation in Washington DC:
- Summit Strategies Government Affairs is our principal representative to the Federal government, Congress and the Forest Service in Washington DC. Summit’s staff is highly experienced in government relations, has contacts in the Forest Service, other Federal agencies and Congress, and played a key role in our success with the Cabin Fee Act. Summit works under the direction of NFH’s Executive Director, Sharon Leach.
- Kevin Garden, The Garden Law Firm P.C. provides legal representation and advice to NFH when such expertise is needed. Kevin assisted during the development of alternatives to address high cabin fees and has advised on the terms of our special use permit and proposed legislation.
Be assured that NFH is watching out for threats to the cabin program, but your watchfulness is equally important. NFH, including our leadership, volunteers and paid staff, cannot be everywhere, so issues and events will arise that you’ll need to bring to our attention. If that happens, please email or call NFH’s Executive Director, Sharon Leach, at the NFH toll-free number [1-800-669-9971] or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.