Kuster, Tipton Introduce Legislation to Support Recreation on Ski Areas
(Washington, DC) – Today, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03), the co-chairs of the House Ski and Snowboard Caucus, introduced bipartisan legislation that will support ski areas in New Hampshire, Colorado and across the country that are operating on National Forest System lands. Currently, fees related to the permitting of ski areas are given to the Treasury Department, where the funds are not dedicated for any specific purpose. The Kuster-Tipton legislation would direct a portion of the fees to the National Forest System, where they will be used to promote year-round recreation activities, infrastructure improvements, and expanded services for visitors through more efficient permitting. The legislation is expected to dedicate $22 - $24 million for the Forest Service’s permit administration.
“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.”
“The current permitting process for ski area projects on National Forest System land is broken. To improve visitors’ experiences and support recreation opportunities on public lands, we must increase capacity for permitting administration within the Forest Service, and that is exactly what the Ski Area Fee Retention Act will do,” said Tipton. “Allowing the Forest Service to retain a portion of the ski area fees for permit administration on the ski area where the fees were generated will create efficiencies in federal spending, incentivize private investment, boost local economies and enhance visitor experience. Outdoor enthusiasts across the country will benefit from this legislation.”
“This legislation will greatly assist our Forest Service-based ski areas in making improvements to the resorts and the lands on which they operate in a quicker, more efficient manner, thereby leading to greater economic development in some of the most rural areas of New Hampshire,” said Jessyca Keeler, Executive Director of Ski New Hampshire. “Ski areas operating in the mountainous communities of New Hampshire are often the glue that holds the local economies together, providing much-needed jobs and an important tax source for the towns in which they operate. Locally retained ski fees will help several of our communities by providing funds to the regional USFS offices to help them with the review and approval of new capital projects and provide the necessary permits in a timely manner. These projects are often vital to economic growth, spurring not only more local jobs and the local spending that comes with those jobs, but also encouraging greater tourist travel to those ski areas and the towns and communities in which they operate.”