News Clips


The Inyo National Forest has selected John F. “Pancho” Smith as the Acting Forest Supervisor. Pancho comes to the Inyo from the Los Padres National Forest where he is the District Ranger for the Santa Barbara and Ojai Ranger Districts.

Pancho will be here for the next four months. The Forest Supervisor position on the Inyo National Forest is currently being advertised and will be filled permanently within the next several months.

“I am thrilled to be here in Bishop, working with the great employees of the Inyo National Forest and the communities within and adjacent to the forest.” Pancho said. “Please reach out to me at any time and I will try to answer your questions or get your pointed in the right direction”.



Here are several documents that provide outstanding information about financial help that is available through the SBA from the recently passed CARES Act.  The Act is designed to help small businesses, some non-profits, sole proprietors and others.  Loans are available to help you sustain your payroll, pay debts and many other benefits. 

 This is definitely worth reading to see if there is assistance that can help your business through these tough months.

CARES-Owner Guide   –   CARES- FAQ      – CARES Summary


Below are some recent articles regarding news of interest to concessioners, permittees and individuals or groups operating or recreating on federal lands:

National Park Service Issues 60 Year Marina Lease

USFS Revises Regulations For Sale of Small Land Parcels

NPS Proposes Increase In Camping Fees At Olympic National Park

Inspector General Finds Deficiencies With NPS’ Administration Of Non-Profit Groups’ Operations

NPS Delays Plans To Impose New Fees For Commercial Tours

Shoshone National Forest Wants To Issue New Permits For New Activities

PEER Sues National Park Service For Allowing e-Bikes In National Parks

Court Allows The Lawsuit Against NPS Arising From The Chimney Tops 2 Fire To Continue

These articles can also be viewed by clicking on the “News” tab at

Opportunity to provide feedback to the National Park Service about improving its concession prospectuses and other forms

NPS Seeks Comments On How It Might Improve Its Concession Prospectuses and Various Forms

Some recent articles regarding news of interest to concessionaires, permittees and individuals or groups operating or recreating on federal lands:

Provided by The Garden Law Firm

Tahoe ski resorts reach gondola deal with conservationists

Conservationists at Lake Tahoe have agreed to drop a lawsuit challenging plans to build a 2.2-mile (3.5-kilometer) gondola connecting two ski resorts in exchange for neighboring land purchases and other wildlife protection measures.

Read more here:

The NPS report on the state of it’s Campgrounds

Across the National Park System, there are 1,421 campgrounds, holding 27,513 campsites. Deferred maintenance needs for those campgrounds is nearly $332 million, according to the National Park Service.
– Read the entire article by clicking here

New Rules For Distributing Tips In The Tip Pool

A new law enacted in 2018 changed the way employers, including concessioners, can use tip pools.  The Department of Labor (DOL) has just issued proposed rules to implement these changes.

The new law prohibits employers keeping or giving to their managers or supervisors any money from tip pools.  The law also eliminated prior restrictions that had been imposed on the use of tip pools.  As a result, DOL’s proposed regulations would allow employers who directly pay all their employees the federal minimum wage (i.e., those who do not use the tip credit) to require a tip pool and share the tips that go into the pool with “back of the house” employees such as kitchen workers and others who traditionally have not been tipped.  DOL’s current rules are to the contrary, stating that “a valid tip pool may not include employees who do not customarily and regularly receive tips, such as dishwashers, cooks, chefs and janitors.”

If the employer does not directly pay its employees the federal minimum wage but instead uses tips to meet the minimum level of pay (i.e., those who use the tip credit), the rules have not changed and it can only require that tips from a tip pool be shared with those who have traditionally shared in tip pools, including busboys and hostesses.

Click here to read article on The Garden Law Firm Website

The Tonto National Forest is raising campground fees for areas operated by the agency itself from 60-70%.  The existing fees are between $10-20, and the new fees will be between $16-25.  The agency stated that:

These changes are being implemented to assist the Tonto National Forest maintain and improve the level of service provided at recreation sites on the Tonto National Forest. Ninety-five (95%) of Tonto visitors did not want a reduction is recreation services, and understand the need to increase some fees in order to continue to provide recreational opportunities on one of the most visited national forests in the country.

The new fees will be effective October 1, 2019.

The Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit has put a hold on their campground prospectus.


The Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit has decided to pause the submission deadline for the Campground prospectus in order to make technical corrections to the prospectus.  The new deadline for submission will be realsed after the technical corrections have been made.  Technical corrections will be made with in the next 30 days and there will be at least 30 days after the release of the corrections before the final submission deadline.  We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

A copy of the notice can be viewed by clicking here.

Rio Grande National Forest Issues Final EIS For Its New Foreset Plan


The Rio Grande National Forest has issued a Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for its revised Forest Plan and a draft Record of Decision (ROD).  Interested parties have 60 days from the publication of the notice in the local newspaper, The Valley Courier, to submit any objections they may have to the Final EIS and draft ROD.  Subject to limited exceptions, objections can only be filed by entities which previously submitted comments on the draft EIS.  A copy of the notice in the Federal Register can be viewed by clicking here.

Release Date: May 23, 2019

Contact: Sue Ripp, 360-891-5222

Forest Requests Expressions of Interest for Coldwater Visitor Center

The Gifford Pinchot National Forest is seeking a new vision for the Coldwater Visitor Center on the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.  Public and private entities are encouraged to share their ideas of how the building could be used and managed in the future, and what it would take to make those ideas a reality.  Interested parties are encouraged to submit a Request for Expression of Interest by July 31, 2019.

Coldwater Visitor Center overlooks Mount St. Helens and is within the Congressionally-designated Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.  It is located along State Hwy 504, about 45 miles east of Interstate 5.  Built in 1993, Coldwater Visitor Center is just over 24,600 square feet and offers commanding views of Mount St. Helens and Coldwater Lake.  Building features include a large, commercial kitchen, dining room, outside dining terrace, display halls, small theater, restrooms, and an ample parking lot.

“I am looking forward to seeing the creative concepts people have for this facility,” said Mount St. Helens Monument Ranger Rebecca Hoffman.  “This is a unique opportunity to be part of a nationally significant place.”

A site visit to the Coldwater Visitor Center is scheduled for June 25, 2019.  During the visit, attendees will tour the facility, and have an opportunity to discuss ideas with forest staff about what may be possible in the future.  Please RSVP to: by June 18, 2019.

Details for submitting an Expression of Interest can be found on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest website at:

Forest Service Begins Process To Revise Lincoln National Forest Plan
05/30/2019 11:23
The Lincoln National Forest is beginning the process of preparing a new Forest Plan.  It is now seeking comments concerning the needed changes to the Forest guidance.  Issues include the need to address changing trends in services, activities and types of facilities desired by the public, and user conflicts between recreational shooting, hikers, equestrians and […]

The post Forest Service Begins Process To Revise Lincoln National Forest Plan appeared first on The Garden Law Firm, P.C..

BWCA Permit system won’t open until at least February 19, 2019

The new online reservation system for securing permits in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness that opened and quickly crashed a week ago won’t go live until Feb. 19 or later. — Read More of the Report

18 Million trees just died in California

California — An estimated 18 million trees have died in California wild lands and private property in the past year, many of them victim of recent droughts and bark beetle infestations, the latest federal tree mortality count has found.

In total, an estimate 147 million trees, many Sierra conifers, have died in California since the start of the state’s drought years in 2010.– Read More of the Report

Leadership Change – Director, Conservation Education

Washington — I am pleased to announce Tinelle Bustam, Assistant Director for Recreation, Heritage, and Volunteer
Resources in the National Forest System Deputy Area, Washington Office, has agreed to serve as
Director of Conservation Education in a one year term appointment in the State and Private Forestry
Deputy Area, Washington Office. She begins her service in this role on Monday, February 18. — Click here for copy of report

Nearly 100 objections filed to proposed wilderness trail limits

Oregon — Nearly 100 individuals or groups have filed objections to the U.S. Forest Service’s proposed plan to limit the number of people who can use certain Central Oregon wilderness trails. Over half of those objections came from Central Oregonians. — Click here for full article

BWCAW users vent in Ely

Ely, MN — Frustration was evident Saturday morning in Ely as business owners, area leaders and longtime wilderness visitors vented about the crash-and-burn of the U.S. Forest Service’s BWCAW permit reservation system. U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber convened the session and Forest Service officials were on hand, apologizing for the almost immediate failure of the online system when it went line Jan. 30, and promising that a Feb. 27 do-over will go much better.– Click here for full article

‘Fire borrowing’ likely amid intense blazes

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers thought they fixed the U.S. Forest Service’s “fire borrowing” problem earlier this year. But the breadth and intensity of fires scorching the West this year is likely to prompt the agency to raid other accounts one last time before budgetary changes go into effect in fiscal 2020. — Click here for full article

Forest Service Under Scrutiny for Sexual Misconduct Allegations