Forest Adventure Pass

This is one of my favorite subjects because it demonstrates the lengths the Forest Service will go to scare the general public into paying more taxes. Please excuse me for ranting, but this really pisses me off.

First of all, let me say that I can afford $5.00. Its not the money, its the principal. We already pay taxes to support the Forest Service. They have a job to do and we fund them quite well.

I have been involved with fighting this fee since it started, and have collected 23 Notice of Non-Compliance tickets over the last few years. I have been hassled like you would not believe by the Forest Service because I choose not to comply. They try to scare you into paying by telling you it is a $150 fine. That is a bold face lie. I can personally attest that the fine for non-compliance is exactly $0.00. Nothing happens to you whatsoever.

When you buy a Forest Adventure Pass, you are encouraging more of this kind of thing because it shows them that they can get away with it. What do I mean by that? Take a look at this summary of a report that will be going to Congress:

In a nutshell, if you remove the spin from the report, if you purchase a pass you support the fee. Congress will do their thing and make it law, then we all have a new tax to pay.

The tactics the Forest Service uses to scare people into submission is what I have a problem with. This report reads like the people love this new fee. It supposedly pays for trash and graffiti removal, replacing damaged signs, and setting up new information kiosks. Other than the kiosks, is this not what we are already paying for?

This whole program is labeled a "demonstration program", and is NOT enforceable by law. All it demonstrates to me is that people act like sheep when someone in a uniform tells you that you have to pay. Remember, you already do pay. Its the principle.

Okay, off of my soapbox.

ps: Read all about the program at

i wont be buying one. i dont think they have made it here yet. I buy an off road sticker, licence palate, Registration, Firewood cutting permit. i have paid plenty enough to be in the woods. Shoot i pay about 60 bucks for hunting licence and deer and elk tags. It will be interesting to see these adventure passes show up up here in idaho.


I absolutely agree with you on the absurdity of paying an additional $5 to park to use public lands. You say that the rangers hassel you to no end. Do you mean they hassel you on the spot or via mail or something? I am curious because i would really enjoy parking and not paying and not getting arrested or confronted by an intimidating ranger with a gun.


I have always been hassled on the spot whenever they were around. Usually I would find a ticket on my truck upon returning from a long ride, with no rangers in sight. But on the occasions when I was at my truck and the ranger came around, things got ugly.

Ranger: "Where is your adventure pass?"

Me: "I don't have one."

Ranger: "Let me see the registration for the truck and that bike. Does it have a spark

arrestor? Proof of insurance (for the truck I assume)? Where did you just ride?" (Once I was even asked what was in my cooler)

At this point I would loose it. Me: "I don't have a pass, so write me one of those phony tickets. In fact, I was here last weekend without a pass, so write me a ticket for last weekend too!"

This is followed by the ranger walking to the back of my truck, writing down my license plate number, and going back to his truck and getting on the radio. I don't recommend you do this if you have outstanding warrants. By now I am ignoring the guy and proceeding to load up the bikes and gear, acting normal, doing my thing. Ten minutes or so would go by and he would resume the hassling. Checking everyone's registration and spark arrestors, looking at trash on the ground (someone else's trash) and ordering us to pick it up, just looking for anything he can find. Once they even blocked me in so I could not "escape" while they ran my plate.

When it is all said and done, I get handed a ticket and told that I have 24 hours to pay $5 (buy a pass) or it turns into a $150 fine. That is BS. I have never received anything in the mail regarding these things and have been collecting them for over three years. Its all a scare tactic. Rangers with attitudes and guns, issuing meaningless tickets that have no teeth, trying to get a measly five bucks.

Most of the time I have no problem with these guys whatsoever. I have stopped and chatted with them many times and they are always friendly and helpful. But when they go into enforcement mode and try to scare five buck off of me and I don't comply, things get weird. I do not normally mouth off, but when I am made to feel like a criminal for doing nothing wrong (in my mind), and when they start with the attitude and questions, I cant help it.

[ June 20, 2002: Message edited by: Ron in SoCal ]

You go, girl!

Actually, Ron, I'm glad you mentioned this. I have had a problem with this since it started, but just didn't have the time or energy to do something about it. We should write Rohrabacher about this. It really is an outrage, because it's just another way to tax since it eases the "burden" on the real tax dollars they would otherwise have to use.

Am I getting outspoken in my old age?


You are correct, if you purchase their pass they count you as aproving of the system. I know some folks that are actively fighting this rip-off. In court the information was droped that they have allready spent more funds on PR including special intrest pacs than they can take in for 10-12 years! Go Figure.. Just be polite, and take your ticket with a smile. that keeps-em guessing.. What I can't figure out is, Mr & Ms ranger have to know that if public lands go private management, Do they think their job's are safe? Hell no! They will go cheapest contractor, which in turn will hire the highest quality people you can get (for minimum wage!) just my .02


thats just more money they will use to try and close trails to offroad be nice if money went to fight in our behalf not against us.

Ron: I am very glad you brought this up. I have had many run ins with rangers in regards to this issue. I find it very disturbing that the government is trying to make us pay to use OUR public lands. Unlike you, I have had many bad experiences with rangers. I have watched a ranger punch a whole through my spark arrestor with a rod, then accuse me of having a faulty spark arrestor. I have had rangers go through my bikes with fine tooth combs, trying to find something wrong. Hell, I had one insist I take my helmet off so he could see if it was DOT approved. (there is no sticker on the outside as I custom painted it. There is one inside though.) I have been stopped for sound tests to see how loud my bike is.

If you have ever read into our wonderful green, errr red, sticker program it is suppose to pump money back into the sport. However, that money works against us by helping finance studies which eventually close our areas.

Sorry to rant and rave so much. The entire subject enfuriates me!

I understand that the big players in congress that are opposed to this thing are respresentatives Lois Capps (D-CA) and Mary Bono (R-CA). They are the ones heading the repeal of the Forest Adventure Pass (Fee Demo). From what I read, there are many more respresentatives opposed than there are supporters. I hope this is a good thing and that this ridicules fee dies on the vine in 2004.

Please take the time to read about the ins and outs of the fee at and feel free to write letters urging the death of the fee. The Free Our Forests website has many links to representatives e-mail and offices, and does a great job explaining what is going on here.

Their motto is "CAN'T SEE THE FOREST FOR THE FEES". Ya gotta love it! :)

They are trying this same crap in Colorado. Last Fall some Forest rangers have been parked at the top of some of the more popular passes stopping the tourists and collecting the $5 on the spot.

The Colorado locals are as pissed as us folks here in Calf. Their method to deal with this is to wave back at the ranger as if to 'say hi' and keep on driving.

If you really want to stike back at the forest nazi's inform the hasseling ranger you are aware of your rights under the 'Federal Privacy Act of 1974' and will not give any information until he completes the paperwork.

If you really want to piss the guy off download the form from the 'Americans for Forest Access' web site and carry a copy with you. Unless the federal employee completes the form in ink he cannot legally ask for your personal information.

Sorry I don't have the web site link memorized.

Did you guys check the Corporate Agenda section on the website for Free Our Forests????

The pay-for-play idea allegedly came from the American Recreation Coalition, including the AMA, American Council of Snowmobile Associations, Suzuki Motor Corp, Motorcycle Industry Council, and many others. In other words, all the people we support when we beat the enviro-geeks over the head are encouraging our Feds to charge us to use our own land.

Now, there's a dillemma for ya!!!! I hate the concept of the Forest Adventure Pass, I think, more than I hate supporting these guys' idea of how to take more of my money for recreation. But I think they still need to know how we feel about this.


MAN i read this post a week late i spent 30 something dollars for a year pass......... 1 year forest adventure pass for sale 20 dollars :):D:D:D o'well we lose some we win some.....

We have the same thing in Oregon, called the Northwest Forest Pass, which is supposed to be displayed if you venture into the Mt.Hood National Forest. I live in an area that is completely surrounded by the National Forest and find the ideal that I should have to pay to park on a dirt road on the middle of no where, to be unreasonable. The forest service doesnt provide services in many areas, like garbage, bathrooms or signs. Plus we already pay taxes to fund these things. Third the Gov/National Forest sells its resources(I mean our resources) to lumber and mining, grazing industries for profit, shouldnt public taxes and the profits of the sale of our public property fund any up keep and services.

I am still waiting for my dividend check from the national forest service for selling my share of publicly owned resources. How shameful to then cry we need more money from the public. which will fund more enforcement to gather more fines/taxes from the public, into a self inflating and repeating cycle

Boycott the forest pass, it is a scam to generate more revenue, and I firmly believe this is an illegal attempt to tax the public twice.

Let your elected officials know your feelings or the idiots we elected will look at a balance sheet that says, look more another source or revenue we can use screw the public with.


I received the following email. I have removed the name to protect the innocent. :)

Dear AMA,

I am into the fight to keep public land open for all off road motorcyclists up to my neck right now. I am spending many hours of my personal time sending letters, emailing legislators and the White House, and trying to get more motorcyclists to get off their duffs and do the same.

I have just learned that the AMA, American Suzuki Motor Corp, the Motorcycle Industry Council, and others, through the ARC, are supporting the Federal Government in charging fees for American Citizens to use their own land (our National Parks). If this is true, I am appalled.

Isn’t one of our strongest arguments that we, as American Citizens, have the RIGHT to use our public lands for motorized recreation? Your support for the Forest Adventure Pass program and others in the U.S. definitely undermines that argument. It threatens to change our RIGHTS INTO PRIVILEGES. If we have ever learned anything from the NRA in their fight to preserve firearms ownership rights in the U.S., it is that conceding rights in favor of privileges can sink the whole ship!

I urge you to rethink your support of this misdirected program, lest we all go down with said ship.

This pretty accurately represents my position.


I agree 1,010% with you, man. I, too, am in the Socialist state of KKKalifornia, and I hate it here. The decision makers think it's fun to dictate every little move we make, it's BS, man. Nazis, the lot of them! They had a blurb on TV about it, and how some guy has hundreds of the noncompliance tags on his car, because he's pissed, too! It's messed up!! There's excess everywhere, and the way Davis crapped things up here, that might become enforced by law! Vote Bill SImon, maybe he'll sort the BS out. WHo knows.

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