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Adventure Pass May Be Extended to 2001

July 25, 1998|MIGUEL BUSTILLO

The U.S. Forest Service's much-derided Adventure Pass program requiring visitors to pay to enter various forests may be in place two extra years until 2001 following a vote this week by the House of Representatives.

Reps. Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara) and Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) argued that the pilot fee program should end in 1999, when it was initially set to expire. The program, which requires people to pay $5 a day or $30 a year to enter Los Padres National Forest and several other forests, has generated criticism in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

But following what may have been the first congressional debate on the merits of the program, most House members backed it Thursday, shooting down a Capps and DeFazio amendment 341 to 81. The $14-billion appropriations bill that included the extension passed 245 to 181.

Local U.S. Forest Service officials said they were pleased with the vote.

"In general, the concept of fees for services received is popular in the Congress," said Rich Tobin of the Forest Service office in Goleta.

" . . . When you go to a beach in Ventura or Santa Barbara, your parking fee pays for maintenance. That is what we are hoping to do with the Adventure Pass."

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