Wednesday, April 28, 2010

US Forest Service Campgrounds Run By Private Companies To Stick It To SENIORS

Yes, specifically to senior citizens. From the AARP News (listed online in the January issue, but it appeared in the March issue in my paper copy, by the same author, but with far less detail than online):
Forest Service Proposes Big Fee Increases for Older Campers
By: Chris Carroll  | Source: AARP Bulletin Today | January 25, 2010
Steep discounts that older Americans and people with disabilities have enjoyed for more than 40 years at national forest facilities would end soon under a proposal by the U.S. Forest Service.

Currently, holders of lifetime passes—known as Golden Age, Senior, Golden Access and Access passes—get 50 percent off camping fees. In 2008, the most recent year tallied, sales of the $10 lifetime passes to those 62 and over totaled 47,488—or 62 percent of all the passes sold. People with disabilities bought 11,991, or 15.7 percent of all the passes sold.

But private concession companies, which operate most National Forests campsites—including 82 percent of the reservable sites in 4,731 campgrounds nationwide—have told the government that with the proportion of older Americans growing, they can’t afford the discounts any longer.

I'm sorry... fuck that shit. Times are hard, and seniors typically need the discounts they have always had. Has Obama directed his USFS to balance the budget (which many seem downright obsessive on doing; read the news lately) on the backs of senior citizens? Or are USFS's private campground concession management companies just like the health insurance companies, indulging in sheer, unrestrained raking in of profits in the process of doing the taxpayers' business in hard times? I'm sorry; either way, it is a steaming pile of unacceptable bullshit.

AARP is not a political action group in the usual sense, so I'll have to dig further for an avenue for action. Clearly what is needed is some sort of relief from federal funds, say, a tiny sliver of the tax on income of the wealthiest 1% that always has vast wealth whatever the condition of the economy. If you find a proposal before I do, please post a comment here.

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