Testers Cabin Fee bill gets key Senate hearing
Senator’s bipartisan measure makes Forest Service cabin fees more affordable, predictable
(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester’s bill to reduce skyrocketing Forest Service cabin fees today received a key hearing from a Senate Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee.
Tester’s bipartisan Cabin Fee Act restructures the fee system to reduce annual user fees to as low as $500 and requires new land appraisals to be completed within two years. The system will provide greater certainty to cabin owners, but will not reduce the Forest Service’s revenue from cabin leasing.
Many Western families have owned family cabins on leased Forest Service land for generations. But due to rising land values, annual user fees are too expensive for many families, forcing some to consider abandoning their cabins.
“Forest Service cabins provide an affordable place to enjoy Montana’s outdoor heritage,” Tester said. “This bill will make sure that cabins remain affordable so Montana families can continue to hunt, fish and recreate on the same land they have for generations.”
Tester’s Cabin Fee Act, which is supported by the U.S. Forest Service, assigns annual user fees according to an eleven-tier “cabin value” system ranging from $500 to $5,500.
Tester recently received an award from the National Forest Homeowners because of his work to reduce cabin fee increases.
Tester’s bipartisan Cabin Fee Act is co-sponsored by Senators Max Baucus (D-Mont.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho).