House Passes Cabin Fee Fairness Legislation
Creating a predictable, affordable structured fee system to reduce costs for cabin owners and the Forest Service, this measure affects a large number of Yakima Valley citizens.
Many Yakima Valley families have summer homes, or mountain cabins that sit on national forest lands. The buildings are privately owned, but the land has to be leased from the federal government, as administered by the U.S. Forest Service.
Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3397, the Cabin Fee Act of 2011, by voice vote. Sponsored by Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04), the bill modifies the current cabin fee formula to make it more predictable and affordable for families who own cabins in our National Forests.
Recently, cabin owners have been faced with arbitrary, skyrocketing fees as a result of a faulty appraisal system that has allowed annual cabin fees to increase exponentially. Unable to afford the mounting fees, owners are faced with the choice of selling their cabins or abandoning and tearing them down. The Cabin Fee Act of 2011 uses a new formula for calculating fees to ensure the bill is revenue neutral without imposing fees that American families cannot afford.
“This bill creates a simple, straightforward, and predictable fee schedule that is fair to the cabin owners, the Forest Service, and the American taxpayer. It would replace the current complex and unfair payment system by assigning cabins to tiers based on the lot’s appraised value,” said Chairman Hastings. “Many of the private cabins on Forest Service land are simple, rustic structures hand-built by the grandparents of the current owners early in the last century and passed down from generation to generation. The overwhelming majority of these cabins are modest family retreats. This bill will keep fees affordable for people such as teachers, factory workers, and retirees so that they can enjoy their family’s cabins for years to come.”