Bennet, Neguse help reintroduce SHRED Act — a federal bill aimed at bolstering Forest Service funds collected from ski areas
Legislation seeks to create dedicated fee account for national forests to use on winter and recreational-related projects
Summit Daily News
U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, along with a bipartisan coalition of other Congressional lawmakers, including Sen. Michael Bennet, recently reintroduced legislation aimed at bolstering outdoor recreation by developing a framework for how national forests collect and spend some of the annual fees paid by ski areas operating within U.S. Forest Service land.
“Our bill will deliver for Colorado’s mountain towns, keep ski fees local and bring federal resources to our national forests,” Neguse stated in a Feb. 9 social media post.
Dubbed the Ski Hill Resources for Economic Development — or SHRED Act — the legislation would create a dedicated account for permit fees from ski areas collected by the Forest Service to be used on local projects within those national forest areas.
Under the current proposal, the legislation would allow 80% of fees to be used on local projects and 20% to be used for assisting other national forests with winter or recreation-related needs.
According to Forest Service estimates shared in a Feb. 2 press release from Bennet’s office, the bill could generate up to $27 million in retained ski area fees to Colorado’s National Forests — the vast majority of those funding coming from the White River National Forest.
A further breakdown of the legislation shows how those collected fees would be used by forests, with 75% of funds going directly to ski and winter-related projects such as permitting needs, processing proposals for ski area improvements, providing information for visitors and wildfire preparation.
About 25% would be used for “a broad set of year round local recreation management and community needs,” according to Bennet’s office, which are listed as special use permit administration, visitor services, trailhead improvements, facility maintenance, search and rescue activities, avalanche information and education, habitat restoration, and affordable workforce housing.
The bill, which was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2021, initially gained some momentum but failed to advance to a vote on the Senate floor.
In a statement on Feb. 2, Bennet said the bill will help support national forests “as their landscapes face increased demand” and called on Congress to “swiftly pass this legislation to support our ski areas and recreation management on our public lands.”
This story is from SummitDaily.com
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