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BARK v. United States Forest Service

ELR Citation: 44 ELR 20073
Nos. 12-1505, (D.D.C., 03/28/2014) (Contreras, J.)

A district court held that fee restrictions set forth in the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (REA) do not apply to private, third-party concessionaires who operate recreation areas within the National Forests. Nonprofit groups challenged the U.S. Forest Service’s issuance of several special use permits, along with its overall policy of issuing such permits, on the ground that the permits allow concessionaires to charge restricted fees in violation of the Act. But while the Act places detailed restrictions on recreation fees the Forest Service and other federal agencies may charge to visitors, REA's restrictions do not apply to third parties who charge fees for goods or services as part of the Forest Service’s concession program. The language of §14(e) clearly exempts the concessionaires from the restrictions set forth in the Act.