Sen. Barrasso Introduces Bill That Would Keep National Forest Service Fees Local
U.S. Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) along with Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) have introduced a bipartisan bill that would allow National Forests to keep a percentage of fees generated by ski areas. Those funds will then be used to support local recreation needs.
There are 122 ski areas that operate on public lands across the country, and at least seven of Wyoming's ski areas are on forest service land, including Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, White Pine, and Snowy Range.
Sleeping Giant is another, and is located a couple of miles outside of the east entrance of Yellowstone National Park. Owner Nick Piazza said the hill wasn't profitable last year. So, extra money towards infrastructure is welcome, even if it might be an insignificant amount.
"I think help like this will be important for Park County in terms of being able to more easily and cost-effectively develop more winter tourism," he said.
The bill's passage would mean a portion of the fees that ski areas give to the forest service would be retained and used for permitting, improvement projects, training staff or preparing for wildfires.
Piazza said they wouldn't get that much money if the bill passed but it would still be helpful for his five-year plan that includes investment in development, especially lodging.
"It'll be a big step in Park County towards returning to winter activities and tourism. We had to turn away over 100 requests last year from people that wanted to come and stay up near the east gate for a week, because there's just not enough lodging and things like that there," said Piazza.