'I think recreation should be subsidized'

  • Gary Guenther

    Hal Clifford photo
 

Note: This article is a sidebar to this issue's feature story.

Gary Guenther, a former Inyo Wilderness ranger and volunteer with Missoula-based Wilderness Watch:

"I think the pressure should be on Congress. The agency is between a rock and a hard place on this issue. I think it's interesting when the environmental community and the wise-use community are both opposed to this program. I think that says something.

"I think there are certain things you should pay for, like developed campsites. But I think (recreation) should be subsidized, because the subsidy is so small, and it benefits so many people.

"I would be much more amenable to fees for recreation if the extractive industries were not subsidized. You're never going to have a totally equitable system. People who use the forest every day, if you have a (season's pass) card, will pay the same as people who only use it once or twice a year. But I think a card is closer to something equitable.

"Where's the money going? Is it to maintain the GS-11s (overhead staff), or is it really going to the ground? The money could be good, but where is it going?"

Copyright © 2000 HCN and Hal Clifford