Paralegal Fights Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act

Gotta like it when people fight silly fees:

"Like most controversies, the debate over the much-despised FLREA or RAT Act, as named by its critics (short for Recreation Access Tax), has ended up in the courtroom. One hiker’s refusal to pay a $5 fee to park along a road through a national forest could bring the entire national fee-charging program crashing down.


"But that didn’t stop the FS. On the road to Mount Lemmon, the agency kept the exact same fee program it had, only changed the name of the program by declaring the road a High Impact Recreation Area (HIRA). It’s only 18,000 acres, but it lines the 28-mile highway corridor and allows the FS to charge access fees for most of a 240,000-acre area, including access to a hundred miles of popular hiking trails. To get around the prohibition of charging for simply walking through a national forest, the FS interpreted "walking through" as starting outside the area, walking complete through to the other side, and not using a toilet or picnic table or looking at a educational sign along the way, which logistically is nearly impossible, if not ridiculous.

"Then, along came Chris Wallace. Employed as a paralegal, she had some familiarity with the FLERA and she decided to fight it. In legal briefs filed in her case, which has been heard March 21 in federal court in Tucson, she articulates numerous reasons why the FS is illegally charging the fees. Primary among her arguments is powerful fact that Congress specifically prohibited the FS from doing it."