Tipton, Members of Congressional Ski and Snowboard Caucus Introduce Legislation to Support Recreation Improvements in Ski Areas
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representatives Scott Tipton (CO-03) and Ann McLane Kuster (NH-02), co-chairs of the Congressional Ski and Snowboard Caucus, along with Representatives Doug Lamborn (CO-05) and Diana DeGette (C0-01), introduced H.R. 2509, the Ski Area Fee Retention Act, which would help support recreation improvements in ski areas by establishing a funding account within the U.S. Forest Service specifically dedicated to permitting.
“Business conducted at ski areas contributes millions of dollars to our local economies every year, but due to a slow and backlogged permitting process, many ski areas are unable to make necessary improvements that better serve the growing industry,” said Congressman Tipton. “This legislation seeks to reduce bureaucracy by empowering the U.S. Forest Service to keep more of the fees they receive from ski areas, expediting the permitting process and ultimately benefitting outdoor enthusiasts.”
“The ski and outdoor recreation industry is a critical part of New Hampshire’s economy and identity as a state,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “If we can expand support for the ski industry and promote year-round recreation at our ski mountains, we’ll create more year-round jobs and bolster local economies. Fees paid by ski mountains should be invested in our local forests and that’s exactly what our legislation would do: ensure local dollars are reinvested to support the local economy.”
“Skiing and outdoor recreation is a key part of what makes Colorado special and is vital to our state’s economy,” said Congressman Lamborn. “This legislation will promote year-round recreation activities, infrastructure improvements, and expanded services for visitors through more efficient permitting.”
“Colorado’s ski resorts pay the federal government tens of millions of dollars every year to operate their ski areas on our public land,” said Congresswoman DeGette. “This bill will ensure that a majority of the money that these Colorado businesses pay stays right here in our state, to help preserve our national forests and help our communities grow.”
Currently, there are 122 ski areas nationwide that sit on public lands generating approximately $37 million in permit fees, which are sent to the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Ski areas rely on funds from the Forest Service Recreation Program for improvement projects, but staffing shortages and underfunding has prolonged the period in which approvals are granted.
H.R. 2509 will allow the U.S. Forest Service to retain a portion of the fees generated from ski areas to support permit administration. Forests with ski areas generating more than $15 million a year would be allowed to retain 50% of the fees, while forests that generate less than $15 million from these fees would retain 65%.
Full text of the bill can be found here.