Court Denies Plaintiff’s Claim That Picnic Table and Security Light Must Be Provided Where Fees Are Charged Under FLREA

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A federal court recently denied a claim by a visitor to a Forest Service boat ramp who claimed that the agency was violating the Federal Land Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) because it did not provide a picnic table and a working security light at an area where it charged a use fee.  There was no picnic table at the area and the security light was broken.  FLREA allows the Forest Service to charge a standard amenity recreation fee for areas that contain all of the amenities set out in the statute, including picnic tables and security services.  However, FLREA also allows the agency to charge an expanded amenity recreation fee for use of highly developed boat areas, such as the one at issue.  As the court noted, the statute does not require all of the amenities set out for standard fees to be provided at highly developed areas.

The area at issue, the Marsh Branch Boat Ramp, was a highly developed boat launch with multi-lane paved ramps and boarding floats.  The court therefore held that the Forest Service was not required to provide any of the recreation amenities required for a standard recreation fee at a highly developed area, such as picnic tables and security services.  The court did note, however, that the agency had fixed the security light.

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