Metolius River Forest Homeowners Association

A place for posting matters of importance to Cabin Owners and their visitors, along the Metolius River in Deschutes National Forest, Camp Sherman, Oregon

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Metolius River Fish Habitat Project will Temporarily Close Recreation Areas

Deschutes National Forest
Media Release

Sisters, OR - Several popular recreation areas along the Metolius River will be closed to the public from October 19 – 22 while a helicopter place trees into the River.

A five-mile stretch of the Metolius River from Jack Creek to Lower Bridge will be closed to the public for safety during the helicopter placement of over 100 trees to restore fish habitat without disturbance to the stream bank.

The Forest Service is closing the work area to all public access including hiking, boating, and fishing on the river while the project is in operation. The helicopter used in the placement of logs will create downdrafts that can be hazardous to people in the area. Lower Canyon Creek Campground, Allen Springs Campground and Lower Bridge Campgrounds will also be closed during this time. Although there is private land in the area, the helicopter will not fly over houses when placing the trees, and there will be no restrictions on access to private lands.

Trees and logs will be placed along three reaches of the river near Canyon Creek, Allen Springs Campground and Pioneer Ford Campground approximately 3 miles north of Camp Sherman. “The project will restore large tree structure to this section of the Metolius River and will create pool habitat and cover for redband trout, bull trout and Chinook salmon,” says Mike Riehle, project lead and Fisheries Biologist for the Sisters Ranger District. “Compared to historic conditions, the Metolius River is low in the number of large logs. This habitat restoration will improve the rearing habitat for rearing juvenile salmon as they are reintroduced above Pelton Round Butte Dams,”

The project is also sponsored by the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council. The Council has partnered with the Forest Service to restore fish habitat in the Metolius basin using grants from the Forest Service, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Portland General Electric and the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Below you will find a verbatim message from Pete Bailey, NFH Director & C2 Legislative Contact chair. This message indicates a strong sense of urgency on the importance for civic action around the Cabin Fee Act of 2010. Thank you in advance for hearing and acting upon your call to duty. If you desire ease in action, please contact: for a letter requiring minimal personalization aimed to reach representatives on both the House and Senate levels. Keep in mind - if not you, than who?

Megan Prince and the MRFHA Board


All Representatives and most Senators are home in their Districts and States between now and the elections. It is a timely opportunity for cabin owners to communicate with them expressing, as strongly as possible, the urgent need to enact the Cabin Fee Act (CFA) this year in the 111th Congress or, if necessary, to extend the moratorium.

We hope to encourage and secure passage of the Cabin Fee Act during the Lame Duck session that will follow the elections. THEREFORE WE MUST ACT! To secure the backing of your Senators and Representatives, cabin owners must demonstrate their support for the Cabin Fee Act. Send emails and make phone calls to your local offices. Better yet, go visit the office with your request for support. But, make it your message of support and request for their vote to pass the Cabin Fee Act. Personalized messages are most effective.

To assist you, attached are sample letters that you should edit, personalize and email or fax to your Senators and Representatives. You can find DC contact information by state at Write a letter to Congress.

The message is straightforward, but please put the message in your own words. Points that you can include are:

(1) Too many cabin owners are now faced with unjustified, dramatically escalating fees for their cabin use, making a growing number of cabins unaffordable and even impossible to sell at any reasonable price. The continuation of the Cabin Program as a source of middle class, multi-generational family recreation is in jeopardy. The current appraisal-based fee system is inherently flawed and must be replaced.

(2) Cabin owners, working with bipartisan supporters in both Houses of Congress, have developed a solution. This solution is embodied in the Cabin Fee Act of 2010 (H.R. 4888 and S. 3929) which is expected to be found “revenue neutral” by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Cabin owners throughout the country have studied, discussed and support the Cabin Fee Act of 2010.

(3) Senators should be urged to co-sponsor S. 3929 and support its passage. Encourage them to contact Senator Tester’s office to express their support. Representatives should be urged to support an early vote of approval for H.R. 4888 in the Lame Duck session. The entire Congress should then pass the CFA into law before the Lame Duck session adjourns.

(4) If the passage of the CFA must wait until 2011, a moratorium on 2011 cabin fee increases is essential. Ask for their support of a Moratorium.

If we do not secure passage in the Lame Duck session, we face a new Congress in January. The entire process could be set back considerably. There is no assurance we will enjoy the same level of support in the next Congress. Let’s get it done NOW! Please do your part and ask your cabin neighbors to do their part, too. IT IS TIME TO ACT!

Peter D. Bailey
NFH Director & C2 Legislative Contact chair

Friday, October 1, 2010

Tester introduces legislation to rein in cabin fees on Forest Service Land

Senator’s bipartisan bill would cap fees, set deadline for completion of appraisals

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Senator Jon Tester today introduced legislation to rein in skyrocketing fee increases for cabins on U.S. Forest Service land.

Tester’s bipartisan Cabin Fee Act would address the appraisal system for cabins that has led to the significant increases in cabin fees.

A law passed in 2000 set up appraisals for cabins on Forest Service land. But unexpectedly high values from the appraisals slammed cabin owners with new fees as high as $18,000.

Tester’s measure would change the law and assign cabins to a tiered system according to appraised value, setting user fees at between $500 and $4,500. The legislation also would require that current appraisals be completed within three years.

“These cabins are passed down in hardworking Montana families from generation to generation
—and the idea of leasing these cabins was never meant to make them a commodity for only the privileged few who can afford suddenly outrageous fees,” Tester said. “My legislation would bring some relief and, finally, predictability for these families.”

Senators Max Baucus, John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and Jim Risch, R-Idaho, have cosponsored Tester’s bill. “This bill is common sense when it comes to preserving Montana's outdoor way of life,” Baucus said. “It will help make life easier for Montana families who have used these cabins for generations.”

“The U.S. Forest Service’s fee system is clearly broken,” Barrasso said. “Folks with family cabins in our part of the country deserve to know that they will be charged a fair and predictable fee. Our legislation will deliver increased transparency and common sense.”

Tester led the bipartisan effort last year that resulted in a one-year cap of 25 percent on cabin fee hikes while he explored legislation for a more reasonable fee structure.

A similar measure to Tester’s legislation is being considered in the House of Representatives. However, the House measure would add millions of dollars to the national deficit. Tester’s bill is expected to be “deficit-neutral” and not increase the national debt.

The Cabin Fee Act of 2010: A Statement on some Tough Issues

September 30, 2010

As volunteer leadership, representing all cabin owners across the country, the Cabin Coalition 2 group has had to address many subtle complexities and political realities in framing the Cabin Fee Act (CFA) under the direction of Congress. Frankly, the CFA is not a perfect solution, but it is intended to ensure the viability of the Cabin Program well into the future by keeping the Program affordable for most current cabin owners by maintaining a fee range of $500 to $4000 (Raised to $4500 in S.3929). If we are not successful in replacing CUFFA as the basis for our use fees, we believe that we will lose over 2000 cabins in the next 3-5 years because of the inability of families to pay those high fees or to sell their cabins in the face of those unsustainably high fees. As cabins are lost, the overall Program suffers and future appraisal cycles will likely add to those losses. As the program shrinks, the viability and survival of the entire Recreation Residence Program becomes doubtful. Please consider the following points.

Revenue Neutrality: The CFA must meet the ‘revenue neutral’ requirements of Congress. ‘Pay-as-you-go’ legislation in Congress makes this unavoidable. Unfortunately, we are being compared to the projected revenue amounts that CUFFA appraisals would have generated over the next ten years, a projection that we believe is unfair and inaccurate to begin with. Fortunately, we have already successfully argued that the Forest Service CUFFA revenue projections are seriously flawed. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has reduced the Forest Service estimate of revenue under CUFFA by over 15% in their analysis. While we believe that further CUFFA revenue reductions were warranted and supported by the information we submitted, the political reality is the final determination of revenue neutrality by the CBO is the standard we are required to meet by Congress. The CBO will render their final decision very soon and we believe the revised CFA fee structure will meet the requirement.

Fee Retention: The Fee Retention proposal, as specified in the “Mark-up” version of H.R.4888, would have provided the Forest Service additional revenue of $500 per cabin per year, specifically designated to fund the administration of the Program. However, this provision has been removed, with the advice of Cong. Doc Hastings’ staff, because it would increase the revenue needed under the CFA, thus also raising the need for higher fees across the board. The CBO has forced this point by interpreting this provision as an increase to the Forest Service budget, thus increasing the revenue needed to cover that increase.

CFA Fees: Because the $34 million revenue scoring is reality, the original proposed fee structure needed to be adjusted upward. Fee tiers at all levels are sharing that burden. Under the CFA, as represented by Senate bill S.3929, we are projecting that 20% of all cabins will see a modestly higher fee than they will under CUFFA initially. (Modest means between $50 and $500 annually). This is not an outcome anyone has wished for. However, that is only the short term view, because these folks and everyone else will continue to face potentially much higher fees in the future, with subsequent appraisals every ten years, if CUFFA does not get changed. Also, remember that the minimum fee of $500 was set so that even the lowest fees would cover the FS costs to administer the Cabin Program. This is fair to the US taxpayer, too. Support for and passage of the CFA will secure future affordability of the Recreation Residence Program.

Tier Assignments: The assignment of a given cabin into a specific fee tier will not be known with certainty until all appraisals under CUFFA are completed and ‘normalized’ (adjusted for inflation) to a common date of value. This normalization will span the period from 2006, when the first appraisals were completed, to the completion of all appraisals. This will produce the rank order (from lowest to highest) of all 14,000 cabins, from which the tier assignments, by percentages, will be made. We believe that the final fee determination for a given cabin will probably not occur until the end of 2013. The CFA transition period provisions will apply in 2011 through 2013, at least.

Fairness for All: To address the thought that ‘some lower appraised cabin owners are being asked to subsidize the higher appraised cabin owners’, please consider the following. Among the problems with CUFFA, which we believe the CFA in large part corrects, is not just that some cabins have high appraisals, but that unfairness and appraisal variability occurs cross the CUFFA fee spectrum, including the low end, the middle and the high ends of the spectrum. Most folks conclude that low fees equate to fair fees, however, there are many examples that refute this conclusion. There is variability and unfairness across the cabin fee spectrum under CUFFA. The CFA is a solution that moves us overall in the direction of fairness, while maintaining affordability of the annual fees and the marketability for those who must sell. We are all in this together if we want to guarantee the future viability of the Recreation Residence Program.

Positive Outlook: While some compromise by Cabin Owners and the Forest Service was necessary to achieve Congressional support for the bill, the CFA remains a far superior solution compared to the many problems of CUFFA. It is important to recognize the many positive benefits retained and addressed by the CFA.

• Lower average fees ($2400 vs. $3500) compared to CUFFA, leading to much lower fees over time.
• No unexpected or unrealistic future fee increases due to a flawed appraisal process.
• Predictable and modest future fee increases, limited to the annual IPD-GDP index.
• Fee stability that maintains marketability of cabins and retention of cabin values.
• Affordable fees keep the program within reach of the typical American family.
• Simpler to administer by the Forest Service and cabin owners, alike.
• A fair range of user fees where the highest fee is less than 10 times the lowest fee, acknowledging some variation due to location.
• Predictable and affordable fees lead to retention of cabins and survival of the Forest Service Recreation Residence program for future generations.
Cabin Coalition 2

MRFHA - Camp Sherman

MRFHA - Camp Sherman
Metolius River