PUBLISHED: 6:05 PM on Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Forest Service settles on flat fee policy
Commercial outfitters, guides using Alaska forests will be effected
JUNEAU - The Alaska Region Forest Service is implementing a final flat fee policy for outfitters and guides doing business on the Tongass and Chugach national forests. This policy sets fees for all commercial guides and outfitters, whether they are guiding a big game hunt or leading a nature group down a Forest Service trail.

Efforts to revise the outfitter and guide fee policy began in response to a 1997 U.S. District Court case, The Tongass Conservancy (TTC) v. Glickman, which challenged the Forest Service policy for assessing fees. The Court directed the Alaska Region to devise a fee schedule for outfitting and guiding that charges similar fees for similar activities, and ensures the Forest Service receives payment based on market value for use of national forest system lands.

Following publication of a proposed policy in the Federal Register in September 2006, the Alaska Region received comments from outfitters and guides, the travel industry and other interested public. The agency revised the fee schedule in response to those comments, published a revised proposal in the Federal Register April 18, 2008, and received comments until June 2, 2008.

This new policy simplifies administration of outfitting and guiding permits in the Alaska Region and is consistent with the Court's order in the Tongass Conservancy case. The Forest Service combined similar activities to reduce the number of them on the fee schedule. Outfitter and guide permit holder fees help to enhance and manage the outfitter and guide programs on national forests in Alaska.