June 08, 2021

Congressman Joe Neguse Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Support Colorado Public Lands and Mountain Economies

The Ski Hill Resources for Economic Development (SHRED) Act would reallocate undedicated funds collected from ski area permit fees to improve land management and visitor services in local National Forests 

Washington D.C.— Today, Congressman Joe Neguse, Chair of the U.S. Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, alongside Representatives Anne Kuster and John Curtis, co-chairs of the House Ski and Snowboard Caucus and Representative Doug LaMalfa introduced the bipartisan and bicameral Ski Hill Resources for Economic Development (SHRED) Act. The legislation is led by Senator Michael Bennet and Senator John Barasso in the Senate.

Currently, fees related to the permitting of ski areas on U.S. Forest Service land are given to the Treasury Department, where the funds are not dedicated for any specific purpose. The Ski Hill Resources for Economic Development (SHRED) Act seeks to change this system, and instead direct a portion of the fees to the National Forest System, where they will be used for local infrastructure improvements, avalanche forecasting and safety, and improved visitor services. The legislation also directs money to improve the ski area permitting process, helping ski areas facilitate investment in rural mountain communities.

“Across our District—in Summit and Eagle Counties in particular—outdoor recreation fuels our economy, drives tourism and is ingrained in our communities and our way of life. Investing in our National Forests, restoring our public lands and supporting outdoor guides and retailers is how we ensure our mountain communities thrive and grow,” said Congressman Joe Neguse, who serves as Chairman of the House Public Lands Subcommittee. “By keeping local Ski fees in the communities developing them, we can invest in our National Forests, improve the recreation permitting process, and support wildfire planning and coordination. There are significant maintenance and restoration needs on our public lands and the Ski Hill Resources for Economic Development (SHRED) Act is a common-sense measure to support these lands, our communities and our mountain economies.”

“Keeping some of the fees paid by ski areas on the forests where the fees are generated is a no brainer! The SHRED Act will provide our partners in recreation at the U.S. Forest Service with much needed resources to help the agency manage the growing demand for recreation at ski areas and elsewhere on our national forests. Colorado Ski Country USA and our member ski areas salute Congressman Neguse and his colleagues for bringing this common sense legislation forward,” said Melanie Mills, President & CEO of Colorado Ski Country USA.

“The SHRED Act will be a game changer for the Forest Service recreation program, mountain communities, and the millions of people who recreate on National Forests.  Ski areas appreciate Rep. Neguse’s introduction of the SHRED Act and his leadership on ensuring that permit fees will be spent locally to position the Forest Service for success in meeting ever-growing demand for outdoor recreation,” said Alan Henceroth, COO/VP, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area.

“As more and more people head outdoors to recreate in these challenging times, this investment in Forest Service capacity and outdoor recreation could not come at a better time,” said Kelly Pawlak, President/CEO, National Ski Areas Association. “Ski areas applaud Reps. Kuster, Curtis, Neguse and LaMalfa for their leadership and bipartisan efforts in support of the SHRED Act. Mountain communities, ski areas, outfitter guides and the millions of people who recreate on the National Forests will all benefit from this critical legislation.”  

“What the SHRED Act does for ski areas is a solid model for all facilitated recreation experiences,” said Aaron Bannon, Executive Director, America Outdoors Association. “Outdoor recreation permit fees should be reallocated at the site, should be used to improve and enhance facilitated recreation experiences, and should be made available to help other sites address recreation programming needs that may not have the resources necessary at the local level.”

Specifically, the SHRED Act would:

  • Keep ski fees local by establishing a Ski Area Fee Retention Account to retain a portion of the fees that a ski area pays to the Forest Service. 
  • Support winter recreation by allocating funds to support Forest Service Ski Area Program and permitting needs, process proposals for improvement projects, train staff, and prepare for wildfires. 
  • Address local recreation needs by making 25 percent of the retained funds available to support a broad set of recreation management and community needs, including special use permit administration, visitor services, trailhead improvements, facility maintenance, and affordable workforce housing. This set-aside would dramatically increase some Forest Service unit’s recreation budgets to meet the growing recreation demand.