Here’s a link to the courthouse news service article on the concessionaire’s lawsuit.
The National Forest Recreation Association and co-plaintiffs American Land & Leisure, Recreation Resource Management, and CLM Services sued the U.S. Forest Service in Federal Court.
They note acerbically that the shutdown of the federal government has cost their employees hundreds of jobs, and that “Congress has stated no intention to vote to restore campground concessioners’ ‘back pay.'”
They claim the Forest Service is “nonsensically asserting that, while recreating and camping in undeveloped areas is fine, recreating and camping in developed campgrounds and recreation areas run by trained, private concessioners who do not receive any federal funds creates a risk to property, public health and safety because the Forest Service has reduced funds.”
The companies say they do not get federal funding: “In fact, plaintiffs pay money to the federal government to operate.”
The Forest Service this month decided to close certain areas in the National Forest System and suspend all concessionaire operations at developed campground and recreation sites nationwide.
The plaintiffs are concessionaires at the sites, operating campgrounds in National Forests across the country. They say their services are crucial for the safety of campers, providing emergency first aid, restrooms and clean drinking water on federal campgrounds. They also repair parking lot potholes, fire hydrants and roads.
Since the shutdown of the federal government has closed campgrounds in federal forests, campers have been forced onto undeveloped areas, despite the companies’ autonomy from the federal government.
“Having people camp at developed campgrounds or recreate in developed areas operated by concessioners reduces the risks to public safety and resource damage,” the groups say.
They claim that “the reduction in Forest Service funding has absolutely no impact on the ability of concessioners to continue to ensure public safety and reduce risk of property damage.”
I continue to wish we could hear the logic for why ski areas are OK but concessionaires aren’t. Still haven’t got a phone call back from the furloughed public affairs folks.