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Know the West

Tagging a protest


Opponents of a new pass to visit the Red Rock area of Coconino National Forest near Sedona, Ariz., are using a rearview mirror tag to claim exemption from fees. The Forest Service says its fee demonstration program is needed to restore and enhance a scenic treasure, but members of the AZ NoFee Coalition fear "the emphasis will go from how best to care for the land to how best to promote it." A daily pass costs $5 per vehicle, or $15 weekly.

NoFee Coalition spokeswoman Tammy Kelley says the protest has become "very popular" with visitors. The no-fee rationale: If recreational use such as hiking or camping is not involved, fees do not apply. The agency isn't convinced. Forest Service enforcers have so far issued citations only to repeat offenders, but a citation of $30 could become routine. Elsewhere in the nation, protesters have taken to the courts to challenge penalties in similar recreational fee programs on public lands (HCN, 2/14/00: Land of the fee).

Contact AZ NoFee Coalition at 520/773-1064, write to P.O. Box 874, Flagstaff, AZ 86002 or e-mail [email protected]