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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org by June 18, 2019.
Details for submitting an Expression of Interest can be found on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest website at: www.fs.usda.gov/goto/coldwater
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