ARRA Newsletter - January 2013posted Jan 4, 2013
Tags: Rights to Ride, General News All Article Tags
Happy New Year!All of us at ARRA wish you and yours the very best in 2013. Our hope is that the general state of our national economy improves throughout the course of the year and our fear is that it won't.
The Fiscal Cliff negotiations in Washington during the last days of 2012 were nothing to be proud of in terms of improving the outlook for 2013. We should expect more of our political leaders in both parties. It isn't as though they didn't know when the deadline would occur since they were the very ones who established it in the first place!
This is really living on the edge.
We hope is the 113th Congress will begin to deal with the pending issues sooner rather than later. Whether they like it or not, contentious issues are the first items up on legislative agenda: the debt ceiling and the sequester issue. Resolution of these items will give us an idea of what to expect throughout the first session of this Congress. Living on the edge has got to stop!
Despite our hand wringing about the state of play in terms of the Fiscal Cliff negotiations, ARRA is focusing on a legislative agenda for the 113th Congress. Here is the list thus far:
Recreational Trails Program (RTP):
The reauthorization of the Recreational Trails Program is item #1. We almost lost this program during the last reauthorization of federal transportation programs, but due to the hard work of many organizations and individuals, including ARRA members, RTP was saved at the end of the day. The last go around was a serious wake-up call that we can't assume that RTP renewal is a slam dunk. Read more...
National Monument Designations:
Another issue that could pose a threat in 2013 is the possibility that President Obama will seek to create new National Monument areas by presidential decree. In the December newsletter, we focused on a proposal to create a new National Monument area in the State of Utah in what is commonly referred to as the Greater Canyonlands area.
A new threat suddenly emerged on December 15th when Secretary Salazar participated in a public meeting in Taos, New Mexico. Read more...
Fiscal issues affecting public lands:
Continuing discussions about budget reductions could eventually place some severe limits on the management of our public lands and such limits could affect recreational access. Read more...
Yellowstone National Park
Snowmobiles tour Yellowstone National Park. Once again the "One-Year Rule" permits 318 guided snowmobiles in the park each day. (photo courtesy nps.gov)
We start the New Year on a bright note by recognizing the opening of the winter snowmobiling season has opened at Yellowstone National Park. Every year there is a struggle over how many snowmobiles should be given access to the park and the controversy always poses a severe economic threat to those gateway communities dependent on winter tourism. Snowmobiling is an important economic contributor to these communities during the harsh winter months. We are pleased that the National Park Service decided to extend for another year the "One-Year Rule" that permits on a daily basis access to the park of 318 commercially guided snowmobiles as well as 78 commercially guided snow-coaches.
No doubt, winter access will be an issue that the Park Service and the recreation community will continue to grapple with in the coming years. In the meantime, if you are in the vicinity of this spectacular national park, stop by and hitch a ride. It will be an invigorating experience. Nothing is better than seeing Old Faithful surrounded by a mound of snow!
Larry E. Smith
Americans for Responsible Recreational Access