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Free Minds & Free Markets

The Puffy Coat Makers at Patagonia Want You to Subsidize Their Rich Customers

There are better ways to pay for hiking trails.

"The President Stole Your Land." That was the message, in stark white letters against a black background, that replaced the usual bright-colored images of puffy jackets and backpacks on the outdoor retailer Patagonia's website last month. "In an illegal move," the text continued, "the president just reduced the size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. This is the largest elimination of protected land in American history."

The pop-up was probably jarring for anyone browsing to buy a thermal base layer. It was also inaccurate. Even if the administration's monument reductions survive legal challenges, the area in question wasn't "stolen" from the public: It remains federally owned public land.

Patagonia wasn't the only outdoor recreation company to rail against President Trump's announcement that he would shrink the two monuments. REI's website noted "the loss of millions of acres of protected lands this week," a disingenuous line given the numerous laws and statutes—from the National Environmental Protection Act to the Archaeological Resources Protection Act—that already protect federal lands.

The outdoor recreation industry's politics share a common conviction: that public lands should be "free" for everyone because they belong to all citizens, and that many more acres should be set aside for recreation. In arguing for stricter protections at Bears Ears in particular, companies like Patagonia play a familiar role, albeit one not usually described in such terms: Corporate interests get their policy preference despite vehement opposition from the locals.

Trump is also guilty of framing the public lands dispute spuriously, having called his predecessor's designation of Bears Ears as a national monument a "massive federal land grab." In fact, the area was already federal land—managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service—before Barack Obama made it a national monument during his last month in office. (Monument designations can be controversial because they usually impose land-use restrictions, such as limiting or prohibiting activities such as livestock grazing or mineral development.)

In its calls to limit uses on more and more public lands, Patagonia tends to come across as what most of its devotees no doubt see it as: a noble, thoroughly "green" company simply seeking a higher calling. Much of the media buys into that rendition: "Patagonia has long been an active participant in the fight to protect the environment," The Washington Post declared in its coverage of the splash page. The company's actions could just as accurately be described as a corporate interest lobbying for policies that will help its bottom line.

The outdoor recreation industry certainly thinks its success hinges on public lands. A 2017 report by the Outdoor Industry Association called public lands and waterways "the backbone of our outdoor recreation economy." Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario used similar language when attacking Utah's elected officials for "their blatant disregard for Bears Ears National Monument and other public lands, the backbone of our business." Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard has complained that Utah politicians "don't seem to get that the outdoor industry—and their own state economy—depend on access to public lands for recreation."

Most of the visitors to those public lands are decidedly well-off when compared to the typical American household. According to the National Park Service and Forest Service, in recent years slightly more than half of visitors to national parks and forests had household incomes over $75,000. Both agencies also reported that less than 10 percent of visitors had household incomes under $25,000.

Meanwhile, the public lands that bolster outdoor companies' profits are anything but "free." Collective maintenance needs for national parks and forests alone exceed $16 billion. According to a 2015 study by my colleagues at the Property and Environment Research Center, from 2009 to 2013 the Forest Service spent $2.81 per recreation visitor but only recouped $0.78 in revenue for each. When it came to BLM lands, each recreation visitor cost $1.49 but brought in only $0.31 for the agency. The shortfalls are borne by taxpayers, who subsidize the hikers, climbers, and puffy-jacket-wearing visitors who enjoy national forests and other federal recreation areas.

There are much better ways to fund public lands used for recreation than by subsidizing the well-heeled people who use them. The fairest and most direct way would be to charge recreation fees to the people who use public lands. This already happens to a limited extent, but the laws that govern the ways agencies can collect and spend fees are so onerous and inflexible that few public recreation sites charge fees: Less than half of the more than 400 sites managed by the National Park Service levy fees, and less than 2 percent of all BLM and Forest Service sites do.

By paying modest fees, climbers, hikers, mountain bikers, and other recreationists would contribute revenues that could support the land agencies tasked with providing recreation opportunities on public lands. You need a fishing license to fish in public streams. Why not charge for a climbing permit to climb on public lands?

And if taxpayers must foot the bill, then at least the citizens paying the taxes could be selected more narrowly. Hunters and anglers already fund conservation through federal excise taxes on products from guns and ammo to fishing tackle and boat fuel. Such levies generated $1.1 billion in 2016, revenue earmarked for conservation efforts. The resulting habitat restoration and wildlife conservation benefit a wide range of recreationists, giving them somewhat of a free ride on the spending of hunters and fishers. A comparable tax on backpacks, tents, hiking boots, and other outdoor equipment could generate more than $10 billion in a single year—almost enough to wipe out the entire National Park Service maintenance backlog.

It's hard to blame the outdoor recreation industry for fighting a tax on itself. But it's easy to question its insistence that all taxpayers should subsidize wealthy recreationists on public lands, especially when the current policy boosts the sector's profits.

The industry's trade group says that outdoor recreation is responsible for $887 billion in consumer spending, arguing that it's "as much our responsibility to invest in [public lands] as it is our right to enjoy them." It's not clear why they'd expect taxpayers or lawmakers to be sympathetic when its corporate members and well-off patrons are still getting a largely free ride.

Photo Credit: Patagonia

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  • JoeBlow123||

    Good article. Seems reasonable to tax the goods/users who would use the service they want to use.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    Good. Give some to BLM to cover their shortfall.

  • Juice||

    Or just charge a usage fee. I guess you could still call it a tax if you like.

  • RightWingA**hole||

    As long as it is not too high, Mr. Roberts' court will find it a reasonable use of federal power...

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    As a climber I would support climbing fees. Too often park rangers get all up in climbers' faces and try to restrict access. If parks were making money off climbers, they would back off. Interestingly, it looks like the Access Fund is over Bears' Ears.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    *suing the Trump Administration

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    I had some fun with park service stats several years ago.

    Yosemite is 760K acres and in 2012 had 3.9M visitors, 689 full time equivalent employees, and a budget of $29M, or $8 and 21 employee minutes per visitor and $42K per employee.

    Yellowstone is 2.2M acres and in 2012 had 3.4M visitors, 557 full time equivalent employees, and a budget of $35M, or $10 and 19 employee minutes per visitor and $63K per employee.

    I never did figure out how much of that budget came from visitor fees etc. There's also no telling what property taxes would be if they were privately owned. But those figures show it would be a piece of cake to privatize them fully, or even just run them as independent tax-free units.

    Then I did the same thing for two famous city parks.

    Central Park in New York City has a $37.5M budget and 35M visitors. Golden Gate Park in San Francisco as a $10M budget and 13M visitors. Both are a buck each visit.

  • ||

    /faints.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    [puts finger under Rufus' nose to revive him]

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Sorry, no edit button to fix the typoe.

  • Uncle Joe||

    Comparing parks in the midst of large, dense cities to remote National Parks isn't useful. Besides the difference in accessibility, they serve different functions. National Parks are managing competing interests of managing parks for current visitors & uses, with preserving them in their natural state for future generations. They have an interest in keeping limits on access, while city parks generally want as many people as possible using their parks

    A private owner would be focused entirely on maximizing profit, with an almost exclusive focus on the short to medium term. Running Yosemite like Disneyland would be a mistake.

    I can get behind the idea of using access fees & taxes that target people who use National Parks. The only challenge I see, would be making sure that it doesn't lock out people who can't easily afford it.

    Of course, the cost of travel & being able to take time off of work make it harder for poor people to visit remote National Parks than a $20 visitor's fee would.

  • gphx||

    'A comparable tax on backpacks, tents, hiking boots, and other outdoor equipment could generate more than $10 billion in a single year—almost enough to wipe out the entire National Park Service maintenance backlog.'

    Sure - let's tax everything the homeless need. When someone is on their last leg just kick them in the balls.

  • Radioactive||

    I'll give them all the equipment just for one kick in the balls...1 complete camping set = 1 kick in the balls (or cunt, can't be exclusionary now can we)

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    Ow! My homeless balls!

  • Eric L||

    "Sure - let's tax everything the homeless need. When someone is on their last leg just kick them in the balls."

    No, this whole taxation thing is a Rube Goldberg contraption. So you earmark some of those taxes on tents, etc. for affordable housing.

    Also, companies like Patagonia and REI can state that a small percentage of their sales of tents go toward providing for really low-income housing for the homeless. Then they can sponsor "Hikes to end Homelessness" or maybe the equivalent of a Burning Man festival. Just think what the donation from even a small percentage of the sales from all the new tents and other camping gear could do to end homelessness. Now if we could just bottle all the heat from those warm hearts because of their virtue signaling the homeless could have a tent and warmth too.

  • The hiking fool||

    Your right!!! Instead when Patagonia or north face sells a $600 dollar hiking jacket ( made in Vietnam or Bangladesh with almost pure profit ) make these manufacturers cough up the dough!!! If they can make worthless bubble jackets for the masses they can certainly help out!!!

  • Careless||

    Ok, who let the Naomi Klein fan in?

  • Sevo||

    Hihn left the wrong door open when he showed up.

  • Trollificus||

    You used "left" and "Hihn" in the same sentence WHICH IS AGGRESSION!!

  • Sevo||

    Not to mention "Hihn" and "wrong"!
    He's going to talk to the Koch brothers about me!

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Fuck the homeless.

    Besides, if they are outfitted in Patagucci, then they make more panhandling than most "homed" people, and deserve a special tax.

  • Uncle Joe||

    I'm more than a little skeptical that homeless people are buying expensive tents from Patagonia or even cheap tents from Walmart. Seems more likely that they are either scavenged or bought used for a fraction of retail.

  • santamonica811||

    Of course you're free to come up with and/or use stupid nicknames for presidents that you don't like (I think liberals also do it, albeit 1/37th as often.). But at the cost of everyone who reads your post thinking, "Man, Domestic Dissident is an asshole, un-creative, and stupid." We Gentle Readers, therefore, then discount your post in its entirety.

    So, if your goal is to persuade and convince, your strategy is an epic fail. If, on the other hand, you're here merely to vent and if you're using posting as a cathartic process; then using dumb nicknames is probably effective for you, and I withdraw my objections.

    [Note: My point also applies to situations where one uses a real name as a facile insult. Substituting "Drumpf" for Trump, for example.]

  • Eric||

    DD seems to be the counterpart to PB/Shrike for the right. His posts are so toxic and his language so juvenile that even when you agree with him, you keep quite so as not to associate yourself with such an asshole.

  • Careless||

    I think liberals also do it, albeit 1/37th as often

    hahahahahahahahaha

  • Sevo||

    "...Block Yomomma..."

    Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a loser!
    Mikey, you are living proof that TDS isn't the only mental issue that causes people to post like three-year-olds.

  • EscherEnigma||

    [...] there's absolutely no valid reason for the feds to own this much land whatsoever in the first place [...]


    Are "purchased" and "spoils of war" no longer valid reasons?

  • Cloudbuster||

    Sure, public lands belong to all of us. So do navy ships, but nobody goes "How dare you scrap that obsolete fuel tanker! It belongs to all of us." In a representative republic, we entrust our representatives to manage national assets for us. Sometimes that means the best thing to do would be to sell an asset. In fact, for a nation that is more than $20 trillion in debt, there are surely some assets among the vast federal lands in the Western U.S. that would be best sold off. It would be a win-win -- immediate profit on the sale, the land is likely to be better-used in private lands, and the government collects taxes on it in the future.

  • Hunthjof||

    When the Feds do a land grab(Especially when it was in Neveda) my first question was what resource is there that the likes of Harry Reid want to sell access too?

  • santamonica811||

    "Agenda 21" ?????

    Serious post? Or trolling for fun? Poe's Law at work here.

  • Careless||

    If you stick around, you'll learn to ignore him. He's always like this.

    I don't think he's trolling, but either way, not worth reading

  • Sevo||

    "Agenda 21" ?????"

    C'mon! It was Hitler and Nixon in Uruguay in '56; Block Yommama was attending the meeting via remote sensing!
    Do I have to explain everything to you?

  • vek||

    Uhhh, not to ruin your fun, but Agenda 21 was a real thing. It was, more or less, UN stupidity trying to encourage highly restrictive land use regulations to cram the population into compact cities... Read up on it. It seems to me that many of the ideas are STILL being pushed VERY HARD by proponents of that sort of thing. It's not a dozen guys around a conference table calling all the shots, but rather thousands of lefty bureaucrats who all believe in the same doctrine they got taught as idiot lefty college kids. Like the people that put together Agenda 21 and went around selling the idea to people.

  • arm||

    come on, don't be ignorant. Agenda 21 was a dead on comparison, as it mainly deals with government intervention on a national scale under the ruse of sustainability. Yes it is real, yes it is used in many countries and by many politicians who don't even know where they got the ideas, it is now common group think. It is non-partisan (although very progressive), Bush signed it after all.

    Many local cities even have parroting agendas, for example my home town had something they called their 2020 plan that was "global awareness and progressive adaptability". Parts were literally word for word copy and paste.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agenda_21

  • StackOfCoins||

    What happened to Agendas 1 through 20?

  • damikesc||

    The outdoor recreation industry certainly thinks its success hinges on public lands. A 2017 report by the Outdoor Industry Association called public lands and waterways "the backbone of our outdoor recreation economy." Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario used similar language when attacking Utah's elected officials for "their blatant disregard for Bears Ears National Monument and other public lands, the backbone of our business." Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard has complained that Utah politicians "don't seem to get that the outdoor industry—and their own state economy—depend on access to public lands for recreation."

    Why should I be remotely upset if their cost of business is going up? Seems like a Patagonia problem, not a taxpayers problem.

    Patagonia can always buy that land themselves. But it's much easier to make the taxpayers do that.

    People criticized Walmart for paying their workers "so little" that they "had to go on welfare" (literally no Walmart worker makes minimum wage...all make more). But Patagonia, apparently, cannot pay their workers unless we basically cover the most expensive part of their business model...providing SOME means for people to use them.

    I miss when the Left paid lip service to giving a shit about poor folks.

  • Robert||

    I thought the article was going to be about ag subsidy policy in Argentina.

  • esd45suf||

    "The industry's trade group says that outdoor recreation is responsible for $887 billion in consumer spending ...

    Are they arguing that without outdoor recreation consumers wouldn't spend that $887 billion somewhere else?

  • ||

    Patagonia. The brand for the insufferable now. Like Tesla and other 'holier than thou' we work for the 'greater good' company.

  • ||

    companies

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Patagonia is way overpriced. The REI brand is just as good and much cheaper.

  • Eric||

    Meh. I fully expect REI and Patagonia to take this position. Just like I expect the NRA to oppose any and every gun law.

  • Bearded Spock||

    The key difference here is that there is a clearly-enumerated right to keep and bear firearms in the US Constitution. Agree or disagree, the NRA is trying to uphold a human right when it opposes gun control.

    There is no Constitutional right to access federal land, or even a Constitutional requirement for the government to own land in the first place. Patagonia and the other outdoor retailers are just looking for a handout.

  • damikesc||

    I'd almost prefer Trump to reverse his decision and say "We'll keep it, but no camping or hiking on it"

    Just to piss them off.

  • Sevo||

    "But hunting and fishing are still allowed.""

    How 'bout off-roading by quads and bikes?

  • Earth Skeptic||

    And Injuns collecting berries and feathers?

  • santamonica811||

    Bearded Spock
    ". . . Agree or disagree, the NRA is trying to uphold a human right when it opposes gun control. . . . "

    I am a strong gun-rights supporter. But I think you misspoke here. Owning a gun is, obviously, not a human right. It is a *Constitutional* right. There's lots of overlap between the two, but it's not 100%. I do think it's a human right to be free from physical harm from others. But without the Second Amendment, the govt would be free to say, "No guns at all." and to provide for the right to be free from harm in other ways. (As do many many many countries on earth.)

    I'm glad we in America have the right to own firearms. (For me, for protection in my home; for you, maybe hunting.) But my right to do this is based on the (federal and state) constitutions, and not on some sort of universal natural rights.

  • Sevo||

    "Owning a gun is, obviously, not a human right. It is a *Constitutional* right. There's lots of overlap between the two, but it's not 100%"

    Fail.
    There are no "constitutional" rights; the constitution merely limits the government from interfering with my rights, which are 'natural' in that I was born with them.
    I have a right to own anything I please; the constitution makes sure gun grabbers know guns are among them.

  • Arcxjo||

    The rights that we give the government ARE Constitutional Rights. Everything else, enumerated or implicit, is a Human Right.

  • Sevo||

    Thank you, Mr. Pedantry.

  • Johnimo||

    Government's don't have rights. They properly have "limited powers."

  • Phos||

    The natural right is self defense. Almost every organism has multiple forms of self defense such as an immune system, claws, horns, teeth, camouflage, and/or evasion.

    The constitutional right (or government power prohibition) is on the individuals right to keep and bear ARMS. That includes guns such as handguns, long guns, but also cannons, swords, photon torpedoes, etc.

  • Azathoth!!||

    I do think it's a human right to be free from physical harm from others.

    It isn't.

    This requires action from someone other than you and cannot, therefore be a 'right'.

    You have the right to defend yourself.

    You do not have the right to expect anything from others.

  • DRM||

    What we really need is a repeal of the authority of the President to unilaterally designate large "national monuments".

  • Bearded Spock||

    Supposedly in the works in Congress right now, but I don't see anyone besides Western Republicans voting for it.

  • I'm Not Sure||

    Perhaps votes on the issue could be counted proportionally based on the percent of federal land in the congressman's district? If there is none, the congressman gets no vote.

  • Rebel Scum||

    "The President Stole Your Land."

    I do not think words mean what they think they mean.

    "In an illegal move,"

    Um, no.

  • Bearded Spock||

    In regards to the lawsuits filed against the president, I'm looking forward to environmentalists and the retailers losing large amounts of money and wasting time fighting for a futile cause in court. Distracts them from other issues.

    I'm having a hard time seeing the current Supreme Court ruling that while the president has unlimited authority to designate monuments, he does not have the authority to even undo a part of them.

  • Sevo||

    Well, if you consider it to be a "tax"...

  • Johnimo||

    Designating National Monuments should properly be a function of the legislative branch. Unless, of course, we decide we want a dictatorship.

  • Arizona_Guy||

    I had a similar conversation recently.

    "You can't raise the gate fees for national parks. Then poor people can't go!"

    Poor people aren't going anyway. Someone who can't afford $1000+ for transportation and lodging to Yosemite doesn't care if the gate fee is $5 or $100.

    A lot of the visitors to the big national parks are foreign tourists, who are free riders (tax wise).

    The rest are upper middle class people. So everybody pays taxes to subsidize my vacation to Yosemite.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    "So everybody pays taxes to subsidize my vacation to Yosemite."

    Hey, somebody has to virtue-signal how to properly spend leisure time. They might as well pay me for it.

  • Arcxjo||

    If poor people can't go rock-climbing, they'll have more time to listen to NPR.

  • Johnimo||

    If they listen to NPR, they're liable to lose their ability to clip in to the lead, causing them to fall to their deaths while rock climbing. Are we on to something here?

  • Raoul Duke||

    I've seen these self-righteous proclamations to be nothing more than advertising to their customers. Patagonia wants you to get the warm fuzzies from their activism so you'll load up that cart and hit the checkout button.

    Pompous shit like this reminds me not to buy their $200 version of Marty McFly's puffy vest anytime soon.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    The public land use most urgently needed, least supported by government, and probably least expensive to manage, is additions to wilderness designated lands. Those get relatively less use, of course, but contribute more ecologically.

    Notable tracts of wilderness-quality land remain undesignated throughout the West. Problem is, the politics are tricky, sometimes pitting local and national constituencies against each other. And even where local constituencies who support more wilderness are also more numerous—as they often are—local opponents tend to be richer and more politically influential.

    Sometimes the hardest thing to do is just to leave stuff alone. Doing that is hard for government employees to explain, and being required to do it makes would-be private exploiters itch.

    The elite-bashing tone of this article is misplaced. It pointlessly resorts to right-wing populist cant. Most of the commentary on this thread seems to come from people with little first-hand experience regarding western land use and land management controversies.

  • Sevo||

    "Those get relatively less use, of course, but contribute more ecologically."
    Try that in non-religious terms, please.
    ------------------------------
    "Sometimes the hardest thing to do is just to leave stuff alone. Doing that is hard for government employees to explain, and being required to do it makes would-be private exploiters itch."
    Again, English please without resort to eco-whacko religion.
    -----------------------------
    "Most of the commentary on this thread seems to come from people with little first-hand experience regarding western land use and land management controversies."
    And most don't care for good reason:
    "Few minds will stir when they learn that the US federal government owns a grand total of 640 million acres of land: that figure is so vast that it becomes meaningless [1]. The sum of all that acreage adds up to about 28% of the nation's total surface, 2.27 billion acres."
    http://bigthink.com/strange-ma.....-in-the-us
    The NYT (no copy-paste allowed) mentions the feds own 47% of all the land in the west.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/06
    /upshot/why-the-government-
    owns-so-much-land-in-the-west.html
    So go ahead. You can even use eco-whacko nonsense. Explain why the government owns that amount of land. But remember we get to laugh at eco-whacko religious cant.

  • Phos||

    Be it so moved that:
    1. If the federal government owns more that 500 acres in any state or territory, then the federal government shall compensate that state $1000 per year for every acre over 500 in that state.

    2. In any year that the federal government runs a deficit, 50% of the federal land in each state shall be auctioned off. Undeveloped land within a mile of a road will be in 5 and 10 acre lots. Undeveloped land more than a mile from a road will be in 640 acre lots.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    I wrote: Those get relatively less use, of course, but contribute more ecologically.

    Sevo replied: Try that in non-religious terms, please.

    I don't ever expect to make headway among right-wing ideologues who are content to believe they can reason from axiomatic premises to discover facts. Maybe that includes Sevo, so I'm not too worried if this isn't his cup of tea.

    For any bystanders, however, maybe this is an instance were we can get somewhere by treating his demand with more deference than it deserves.

    The point was wilderness, and its ecological advantages. An easy example to understand is what happens ecologically if you cut down a forest, for whatever reason, and however well you manage doing it. Basically, what you do is burden, stress, or even wipe out whatever fraction (it's large) of the species—plants, animals, fungi, microorganisms—which thrive on the decay of whatever you removed.

    When you manage forests for timber production, you profit the half of the ecology which prospers amid young growth, and proportionately burden the half which thrives amidst decay. There isn't any good reason to suppose either half is dispensable. Protecting wilderness is a means to protect both halves. Almost no other scheme of management can really do that.

  • NoVaNick||

    Most people I know who buy Patagonia or REI are not terribly outdoorsy - they might drive a Subaru and get out for a day hike once a year, but they haven't a clue on how to build a fire or live off the land.

  • Raoul Duke||

    It's the same as the people driving a Range Rover with chrome brush guards over the headlights. Nothing more than a fashion accessory that has never seen terrain more challenging than the Costco parking lot around lunchtime on a Saturday.

  • Leader Desslok||

    Hey man, those Costco parking lots on a Saturday around lunch time are no joke. They are worse than being thrown in to the Coliseum full of loins.

  • Trollificus||

    Out here, they come door-to-door, with petitions:
    "Did you know the President has put X million acres at risk with his reckless action to UNprotect designated national monument lands?"

    To which I pointed out that the land has been there for millions of years, undestroyed, prior to the recent National Monument designation, so their concerns were, charitably viewed, misguided.

    The young Greenpeacers then took the tack that reduced protection increases the likelihood of damage to the environment. I replied that all this nature they love here, the mountains, canyons, cliffs, arroyos, etc, was the result of frequently very destructive geological action. They pointed out that that was "natural", and I then asked them if that distinction without a difference was aesthetic or religious.

    They were good enough to hear me out though, even if it was a little frustrating for them.

  • Sevo||

    "They pointed out that that was "natural", and I then asked them if that distinction without a difference was aesthetic or religious."

    VERY good! Bleevers need reminding that their bleefs are theirs and not everyone is of the same faith.

  • Trollificus||

    Also, is Dalmia on vacation? What we all NEED to know is, how does this effect the poor immigrants? (or are they ALL referred to as Dreamers now? Or "doe-eyed innocents" or something?)

  • MJBinAL||

    I was hoping that Shitma got deported.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Sigh.

    Patagucci is all about image--as is just about everything in life. So let's all posture about, and maximize media time. From retailers to land preservation advocacy groups, most are full of shit. The exceptions, like the Nature Conservancy (who raise private money, and then buy land in order to protect it), these assholes would rather spend their time and money in media campaigns instead of actually on land acquisition or maintenance costs.

  • vek||

    This is retarded. They could obviously just raise use fees a very small amount, since they're so low now, and pay for the whole upkeep according to the data in the article. I don't get why some people are soooooo against fee for use government. I am all about toll roads, fees for state parks, paying full bus fares for people that bus etc. I guess everyone just likes to have somebody else subsidize what they do... Not realizing they are in turn subsidizing somebody elses hiking hobby etc.

  • Robert||

    Sometimes it's hard to capture the full value of "availability for use" in mere "use". 40 yrs. ago Bill Wendt, a libertarian friend esp. well versed in Austrian school economics & law research, promoted real estate taxes as a way of funding transportation. A location may benefit by proximity to roads, rails, etc. to a greater degree than could be captured by tolls & tariffs on the users.

  • Sevo||

    Did you have a point here?

  • vek||

    I get the concept, but who cares? If a toll road can pay for the people using it, and it drives up somebody elses property values... So what? The toll pays for the road, if you make too much money lower the toll, if you make too little raise it. If hikers aren't willing to pay $10 instead of $5 to go hiking, then perhaps that hiking trail shouldn't exist. Or perhaps it needs to be $25 with a lot fewer visitors who value it that highly. Fee for use works well enough for a 1,000 things government currently charges everybody for. It's not perfect for all situations, but I would advocate its use for all the obvious ones.

  • Johnimo||

    vek, you just don't get it, do you? The left wants everything to be "free." They believe they're more noble when they let people ride around on the bus for free. It makes them feel altruistic and good-hearted to give other folks' money away. Their sense of social responsibility demands they do this. Further complicating the situation, they think the rich people have plenty of money to spare, and that those rich people are selfishly using their money for no good purpose. Briefly speaking ... the left is economically ignorant.

  • vek||

    Oh I get it... But what I don't get is how wealthy people, and especially business owners, can be in favor of a lot of it. I own a business. Government/taxes are the bain of my existence. How others push for more is beyond my comprehension. Unless they are for it purely because of the power trip. I get that I suppose. Fucking bastards.

  • CE||

    a libertarian friend esp. well versed in Austrian school economics & law research, promoted real estate taxes....

    So, not a libertarian then.

  • flyfishnevada||

    Have no issue with user fees or excise taxes on equipment. Hunters and fishermen pay the bulk of conservation fees that everyone benefits from. Every piece of outdoor equipment should include a public lands excise fee. Unfortunately, the various outdoor user groups have no interest in insisting on those taxes like hunters and fisherman did decades ago. Instead, they seem to delight in using tax pay dollars to close off land to all but their use and building amenities that only they benefit from. Then they wag their fingers at the rest of us for not protecting public lands.

  • CGN||

    Thanks, as usual, for "Reason". All the outdoorsy types would LOVE you to believe they and the manufacturers of the bikes, climbing equipment, etc. makers 'suffer" under federal fees. Even Hillary can't come up with lies like this!

  • dchang0||

    Serious question, no sarcasm: which method of funding would incentivize the federal gov't AND state gov't the LEAST to seize land from private parties?

    The land does require upkeep, though it doesn't necessarily need to be made friendly to tourists. That is to say, it is necessary to do some things like catch poachers, eject squatters, cull wild mustang herds but not necessary to build a big, expensive visitor center.

    So there are some costs involved. What means of funding would ensure the least profit to any gov't and thus disincentivize any gov't from keeping it (or incentivize the gov't to turn it private)?

  • dchang0||

    Keep in mind that property taxes are probably the one surefire way for the gov't to tax-farm its citizens, since land is not portable or concealable, so it may be a faster road to dystopia if the federal gov't were driven to maximize profit by selling off the parcels and then taxing the crap out of the private owners.

  • geo||

    "The outdoor recreation industry's politics share a common conviction: that public lands should be "free" for everyone because they belong to all citizens, and that many more acres should be set aside for recreation." Yet the NPS does everything it can to prevent this from happening.

    The only reason the outdoor industry's customers can support this is that they never actually go outdoors and try to use Federal Lands. I have been waiting almost ten years to get a research permit approved just to hike on BLM lands in California. Each time I check on it I get another run-around from the BLM and they come up with some excuse. I finished the research in defiance of BLM and published the results years ago. I keep harassing them about the permit because they deliberately tried to stop me from accessing public lands. I tried to get a permit from Grand Canyon years ago. They never finished the paperwork. Instead, I got a permit from a Native American Tribe that claimed the same land. I did my work, published it, and the National Park Service has no right to question me because they will never be able to prove they actually had any jurisdiction. I did work at King's Canyon-Sequoia and they did give me a permit, but required I return all rock samples to them. When I did, they threw them away. NPS is not a steward of the land, they are bureaucrats. REI and Patagonia are only profit-seekers hoping to take advantage of control over public lands.

  • Lester224||

    It's mostly marketing folks. Effective marketing too for Patagonia's wealthy target customers. Patagonia customers aren't right wing gun-owning hunters. They are middle class, upper middle class and wealthy hikers, or those who don't hike and climb who just like to project that image. All companies lobby for policies that benefit them. It's called free speech now, right? Speech is speech and money is just more speech.

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