Kuster, Curtis, Neguse, LaMalfa Reintroduce Bipartisan Bill to Support Ski Areas as Nation Recovers from COVID-19
**The Ski Hill Resources for Economic Development (SHRED) Act would reallocate undedicated funds collected from ski area permit fees to improve land management and visitor services in local National Forests**
Washington, June 8, 2021
Washington, D.C. — Today, Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02) and John Curtis (R-UT), co-chairs of the House Ski and Snowboard Caucus, along with Congressman Joe Neguse (D-CO) and Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) introduced the Ski Hill Resources for Economic Development (SHRED) Act, bipartisan legislation to support ski areas across the country that are operating on National Forest System lands and bring money back to local forests. Companion legislation was introduced in the Senate by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and John Barrasso (R-WY).
Currently, fees related to the permitting of ski areas on U.S. Forest Service land are given to the Treasury Department, where the funds are not dedicated for any specific purpose. The Ski Hill Resources for Economic Development (SHRED) Act seeks to change this system, and instead direct a portion of the fees to the National Forest System, where they will be used for local infrastructure improvements, avalanche forecasting and safety, and improved visitor services. The legislation also directs money to improve the ski area permitting process, helping ski areas facilitate investment in rural mountain communities.
“Outdoor recreation and skiing are cornerstones of New Hampshire’s economy and the Granite State way of life,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “As co-chair of the Bipartisan Congressional Ski and Snowboard Caucus, my Ski Hill Resources for Economic Development (SHRED) Act will steer more New Hampshire dollars back home by investing fees paid by our Granite State ski mountains into our local forests and communities to help create more year-round jobs and bolster our regional economies for generations to come.”
“Utah is proud to have the greatest snow on Earth, bringing many opportunities for skiing and snowboarding and attracting tourists from around the globe,” said Congressman Curtis. “I believe it is one of our responsibilities to ensure we leave the land we recreate in better than we found it – including our beautiful National Forests. As the co-chair of the Congressional Ski and Snowboard Caucus, I am proud to partner with my fellow co-chair Rep. Kuster on this important legislation that will not only support recreation but will ensure the forests are healthy and maintained for future generations. The SHRED Act would allow the Forest Service to retain ski area permit fees at the forest that they originate in to be used for increased maintenance and improvements on those lands. I am looking forward to working with my colleagues to quickly advance this important bill through Congress.”
“Across our District—in Summit and Eagle Counties in particular—outdoor recreation fuels our economy, drives tourism and is ingrained in our communities and our way of life. Investing in our National Forests, restoring our public lands and supporting outdoor guides and retailers is how we ensure our mountain communities thrive and grow,” said Congressman Joe Neguse, who serves as Chairman of the House Public Lands Subcommittee. “By keeping local Ski fees in the communities developing them, we can invest in our National Forests, improve the recreation permitting process, and support wildfire planning and coordination. There are significant maintenance and restoration needs on our public lands and the Ski Hill Resources for Economic Development (SHRED) Act is a common-sense measure to support these lands, our communities and our mountain economies.”
“It makes good sense to return a portion of the proceeds generated by our federal lands to keep them properly maintained,” said Congressman LaMalfa. “The SHRED Act will keep some of the revenue generated by skiing in our national forests to promote proper land management and ensure the continued operation of those activities. We must do what is necessary to keep federal lands available and well maintained for recreation and enjoyment by the American people.”
“Skiing is a vital component of Colorado’s outdoor recreation industry, creating jobs and boosting local economies,” said Senator Bennet. “The partnership between ski areas, the Forest Service, and mountain communities is critical - especially in areas like the White River National Forest. This bill will rightfully keep funds where they are generated and help local communities tackle their own priorities, like making trailhead improvements or increasing staffing. I look forward to working with my colleagues to get this done for mountain communities in Colorado and across the country.”
“Wyoming is home to world class skiing. The resorts in the Jackson area and across the state are critical to our economy,” said Senator Barrasso. “Right now, Wyoming ski communities are sending money to Washington but not receiving the full benefits from those fees. Our legislation will help make the Forest Service a better partner. By creating a specific dedicated account for these fees, Wyoming skiing communities will get more bang for their buck. They will be able to provide an even better experience for visitors by improving their facilities, protecting the forests, and supporting the local economy.”
“The SHRED Act is important in one regard in that it represents a commitment to our ski areas and the National Forests on which they operate,” said Jessyca Keeler, President, Ski New Hampshire. “But more importantly, it’s an investment in the communities where the funds from this act will be allocated. By setting aside dollars to make permitting and program administration more efficient, more projects can get off the ground in a timely manner, leading to increased economic activity in the often rural and remote areas that stand to benefit from this legislation.”
“As more and more people head outdoors to recreate in these challenging times, this investment in Forest Service capacity and outdoor recreation could not come at a better time,” said Kelly Pawlak, President/CEO, National Ski Areas Association. “Ski areas applaud Reps. Kuster, Curtis, Neguse and LaMalfa for their leadership and bipartisan efforts in support of the SHRED Act. Mountain communities, ski areas, outfitter guides and the millions of people who recreate on the National Forests will all benefit from this critical legislation.”
“What the SHRED Act does for ski areas is a solid model for all facilitated recreation experiences,” said Aaron Bannon, Executive Director, America Outdoors Association. “Outdoor recreation permit fees should be reallocated at the site, should be used to improve and enhance facilitated recreation experiences, and should be made available to help other sites address recreation programming needs that may not have the resources necessary at the local level.”
“Snowsports Industries America (SIA) fully supports the retention of ski area fees through the Ski Hill Resources for Economic Development (SHRED) Act,” said Nick Sargent, President, Snowsports Industries America. “This important legislation will provide valuable resources to improve the Forest Service’s capacity to administer permits and make critical and timely decisions on improving public lands infrastructure and facilitating implementation of year-round recreation activities."
Specifically, the SHRED Act would: