Monday, March 09, 2009

Can't see the forest for the fees

I’ve said this before and it never ceases to be true: giving government agencies near-total control with virtually zero accountability is always — always — a bad idea. This axiom is playing itself out again in the Kern River Valley where Sequoia National Forest Service officials have earned the community’s ire by bumping up day use and camping fees. Everyone knows it costs money to keep up with the potties, trash and vandalism massive crowds bring with them over the summer. What’s sticking in residents’ craws, however, is this: • The Forest Service isn’t keeping up with trash, sanitation and vandalism. • It isn’t providing better amenities. • It hasn’t properly accounted for fees it’s collected and spent over the last several years. And, in the process of doubling its fees on several sites, it also proposed a host of new fee sites the community feared would ensnare the whole lake and upper Kern River into a scheme that would have seen visitors charged $10 for parking to snap a few pictures...Bakersfield Californian

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