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Adams v. United States Forest Service

ELR Citation: 42 ELR 20039
Nos. 10-16711, (9th Cir., 02/09/2012)

The Ninth Circuit held that the U.S. Forest Service exceeded the scope of its authority under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act by charging fees to those who drive to Mount Lemmon, park their cars, and then picnic, hike, or camp in nearby undeveloped areas. The Act authorizes the Forest Service to impose a standard amenity recreation fee in a high-impact recreation area. But the Forest Service's fee structure at issue here violates the Act's express prohibition on charging fees for parking and then hiking without using the facilities and services, camping in undeveloped areas, or picnicking on roads or trailsides. Because the statutory language is clear, the Forest Service's interpretation was entitled to no deference and the district court erred in dismissing plaintiffs' claim.