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Hiking Fees on DNR Lands

Our Position: oppose
Bill Number: 3020
Sponsor: Representative Clemmons
Legislative Session: 07/08

Imposes fees for hiking and riding horses on DNR property.

Status

http://www.scstatehouse.net/sess117_2007-2008/bills/3020.htm

H 3020 -- General Bill, By Clemmons and Mahaffey: A BILL TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 50-3-105 SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT IN ALL HERITAGE PRESERVES OR OTHER STATE NATURAL AREAS MAINTAINED FOR THE USE AND ENJOYMENT OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC BY THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES, HIKING AND EQUESTRIAN ACTIVITIES ARE PERMITTED, TO PROVIDE FOR CERTAIN FEES TO BE IMPOSED FOR THESE ACTIVITIES, AND TO PROVIDE THAT THE MONIES DERIVED FROM THESE FEES MUST BE USED TO OFFSET THE COST OF MAINTENANCE IN AND INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS TO THESE AREAS.

Action Needed

 

More information

http://www.scstatehouse.net/sess117_2007-2008/bills/3020.htm

Contact

Agriculture, Natural Resources & Environmental Affairs
(Fish, Game, Forestry, State Parks, Rural Development & Environmental Affairs)

Subcommittee Assignments
Witherspoon, William D. , Chm. Toole, McLain R. "Mac" , 1st V.C. Hiott, David R. , 2nd V.C.
Brady, Joan B. , Secy. Agnew, Paul L. Brown, Robert L.
Duncan, Jeffrey D. "Jeff" Frye, Marion B. Funderburk, Laurie Slade
Hardwick, Nelson L. Hodges, Kenneth F. Knight, Patsy G.
Loftis, Dwight A. Lowe, Phillip D. Mitchell, Harold , Jr.
Pitts, Michael A. Umphlett, C. David , Jr. Vick, Ted Martin
Hegler, William V. , Dir. of Res. Whittle, Debbie , Com. Asst.

Background

1/31/07

 

Comments on H.3020

to the

House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee – Wildlife Subcommittee

By

SC Chapter of the Sierra Club

Cary D. Chamblee, Lobbyist

 

 

DNR Land Management - DNR currently has adequate policies and procedures that provide optimum usage of the public properties in their trust without endangering the natural character of the property, the animal and plant species, or cultural features that are identified as needing management or protection. DNR should be allowed to continue to manage lands in a manner that is consistent with the natural characteristics and management needs of the site.

 

Fees – We all can agree that DNR does not have adequate funds to provide all of the amenities that we would all like, however there are some obvious problems with the fee structure proposed by this bill, and imposing fees on hiking is not the way to fund DNR land management.

 

  • Horses and ATV’s already have hundreds of miles of improved DNR roads on which riding is permitted. These roads are expensive to maintain and fees for these activities seem appropriate. Currently, hunters are required to pay S30.50 for the use of WMA lands. A similar fee for horses and ATV’s would be appropriate for the use and enjoyment of DNR roads as designated by DNR. The proposed $5.00 per day fee would be very difficult to administer and regulate and would not be worth the problems and expense that would be incurred.

 

  • The proposed fee on hiking on DNR lands would be very difficult to administer and is a very unpopular idea that will affect a large number of people. It will discourage use of these lands that are enjoyed by many users. This fee would also cause a number of unintended problems.

 

-          Hiking - When hiking, there is no way to distinguish in advance when you will encounter DNR lands, PRT lands, National Forests, National Wildlife Preserves, National Parks, local public lands, and private and other lands that are open to the public like Duke Power properties at Jocassee or Santee Cooper lands around the lakes. Long trails, like the Palmetto trail, include most of these land areas and this requirement would make violators of unsuspecting hikers.

 

 

 

 

 

-          Wildlife Viewing - Many families use DNR lands for Sunday afternoon visits, nature walks, wildlife watching and many other uses. Much of this is done on roads and trails and also at areas that are designated by signs and brochures as Wildlife Viewing Areas. How would casual walkers and viewers, and hikers be differentiated?

 

-          Eco-tourism -Many families from out-of-state visit DNR lands and Heritage Preserves when traveling through the state. Sites like Dungannon Heritage Preserve in Charleston and Donnelly Plantation in Colleton, both on Hwy. 17 get a lot of tourists. A fee would discourage their use and stifle eco-tourism that so many are trying to encourage.

 

-          Natural Resource Education - DNR encourages natural resources education on its properties and they are commonly used for field trips by adults and school groups. This practice needs to be encouraged and no fee should be charged.

 

-          Little Damage - Hiking and nature viewing do not cause the types of damage that high impact uses like ATV use and horseback riding cause. These uses should be exempted from fees.

     
     

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