Senate approves bill to halt cabin fee increases


The U.S. Senate has approved a measure to halt cabin fee increases for one year on U.S. Forest Service land. 

The measure, introduced by Senator Jon Tester, D-Montana, and Senator Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, is part of the Interior Appropriations Act.  It places a one-year moratorium on fee increases for cabins on land managed by the Forest Service. Cabin owners complained cabin fees were too high.  Some even said they had to sell their cabins.

"More work needs to be done, but this is a big step forward," said Tester. "Cabins are an important part of Montana's heritage. This measure gives cabin owners some breathing room until a better system is put place."

Several other western senators cosponsored the Tester-Crapo amendment, including Senator Max Baucus.

The Interior Appropriations Act also includes an amendment cosponsored by Tester to better protect communities from catastrophic wildfires. The measure, called the FLAME Act, creates a more stable funding source for combating wildfire on federal lands.

Tester will now be part of a team of negotiators from the Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives to work on a final version of the Interior Appropriations Act.