Outfitter Impacts Forest Service Directive

Implications of Forest Service Directive on Idaho Outfitter Businesses

December 2008

Whereas, there are approximately 400 licensed and special use permitted outfitters in Idaho, most of which are small, family owned and run businesses operating in rural Idaho, and

Whereas, upwards of 80 percent of all licensed and special use permitted Idaho outfitters operate under U.S. Forest Service special use permit, and

Whereas, the US economy is currently experiencing an unprecedented downturn, as evidenced by rapidly increasing unemployment, millions of home foreclosures, a significant decline in the personal wealth of average Americans, including $6 trillion in losses in the value of stocks and retirement accounts and during which home values have declined by an estimated $5 trillion, major industries asking for relief from Congress, price deflation, frozen credit markets that prevent small businesses from borrowing and other indications of depression-like conditions, and

Whereas, the outfitting industry is largely dependent on a national customer base, and vacation expenditures are among the first items to be scaled back by families facing economic ruin is, and

Whereas, Idaho’s outfitting industry suffered severe economic hardship as a result of the 2007 fire season, and

Whereas, the outlook for the 2009 and 2010 operating seasons is significantly worse than any year since 1982, and

Whereas, US Forest Service policy objective relative to outfitting “Provide for outfitting and guiding services that address concerns of public health and safety and that foster successful small businesses consistent with the applicable land management plan.” (41.53b), and

Whereas, new US Forest Service policy specifically anticipates and allows for economic factors, wildfire and other factors to be included during use reviews: “the agency agrees that it is appropriate to provide a margin above actual use in deciding whether to adjust allocations, given the effects of fluctuations in the business climate, weather, game populations, wildfires, and natural disasters.” (Federal Register vol. 73, no. 181; Sept. 17, 2008: p. 53835-53836, sect. 41.53m), and

Whereas, U.S. Forest Service policy specifically allows for flexibility relative to administering priority use and has the authority to exclude from use requirements extraordinary circumstances,

Therefore, be it resolved by the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Association on this 11th day of December, 2008, that:

  1. During this period of economic crises, the USFS should provide official Notice that the agency will delay inclusion of future years in use reviews and implementation of the new use reviews for priority use permits in the Outfitter and Guide Permitting directives published in the Federal Register on September 17, 2008 until the recession and economic crises is officially over, and that the
  2. USFS acknowledge that the 2007 operating season (due to fires) represents “extraordinary circumstances” for impacted Idaho outfitters.