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111th Congress                                            Rept. 111-533
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                      Part 1

======================================================================



 
       SKI AREA RECREATIONAL OPPORTUNITY ENHANCEMENT ACT OF 2010

                                _______
                                

                 July 13, 2010.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

  Mr. Rahall, from the Committee on Natural Resources, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 2476]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

  The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred the 
bill (H.R. 2476) to amend the National Forest Ski Area Permit 
Act of 1986 to clarify the authority of the Secretary of 
Agriculture regarding additional recreational uses of National 
Forest System land that are subject to ski area permits, and 
for other purposes, having considered the same, report 
favorably thereon with an amendment and recommend that the bill 
as amended do pass.
  The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Ski Area Recreational Opportunity 
Enhancement Act of 2010''.

SEC. 2. PURPOSE.

  The purpose of this Act is to amend the National Forest Ski Area 
Permit Act of 1986 (16 U.S.C. 497b)--
          (1) to enable snow-sports (in addition to nordic and alpine 
        skiing) to be permitted on National Forest System land, subject 
        to ski area permits issued by the Secretary of Agriculture 
        under section 3 of the National Forest Ski Area Permit Act of 
        1986 (16 U.S.C. 497b); and
          (2) to clarify the authority of the Secretary to permit 
        appropriate additional seasonal or year-round recreational 
        activities and facilities on National Forest System land, 
        subject to ski area permits issued by the Secretary under 
        section 3 of the National Forest Ski Area Permit Act of 1986 
        (16 U.S.C. 497b).

SEC. 3. SKI AREA PERMITS.

  Section 3 of the National Forest Ski Area Permit Act of 1986 (16 
U.S.C. 497b) is amended--
          (1) in subsection (a), by striking ``nordic and alpine ski 
        areas and facilities'' and inserting ``ski areas and associated 
        facilities'';
          (2) in subsection (b), in the matter preceding paragraph (1), 
        by striking ``nordic and alpine skiing operations and 
        purposes'' and inserting ``skiing and other snow-sports and 
        such other seasonal or year-round recreational activities 
        associated with mountain resorts as the Secretary may authorize 
        pursuant to subsection (c)'';
          (3) by redesignating subsections (c) and (d) as subsections 
        (d) and (e), respectively;
          (4) by inserting after subsection (b) the following:
  ``(c) Other Recreational Uses.--
          ``(1) Authority of secretary.--Subject to paragraphs (2) and 
        (3), the Secretary may authorize the holder of a ski area 
        permit issued pursuant to subsection (b) to provide on National 
        Forest System land subject to the ski area permit such other 
        seasonal or year-round natural resource-based recreational 
        activities and associated infrastructure (in addition to skiing 
        and other snow-sports) as the Secretary determines to be 
        appropriate.
          ``(2) Requirements.--Any activity or infrastructure 
        authorized by the Secretary under paragraph (1) shall--
                  ``(A) encourage outdoor recreation and enjoyment of 
                nature;
                  ``(B) to the extent practicable, harmonize with the 
                natural environment of the National Forest System land 
                on which the activity or infrastructure is located;
                  ``(C) to the extent practicable, be located within 
                the portions of the ski permit area that are developed 
                to support skiing and other snow sports;
                  ``(D) be consistent with the applicable forest 
                management plan and all other applicable laws; and
                  ``(E) be subject to such terms and conditions as the 
                Secretary determines to be appropriate.
          ``(3) No change in purpose.--
                  ``(A) In general.--The Secretary may not authorize an 
                activity or infrastructure under paragraph (1) if the 
                Secretary determines that the authorization of the 
                activity or infrastructure would result in the primary 
                recreational purpose of the National Forest System land 
                that is subject to a ski area permit to be a purpose 
                other than skiing or any other snow-sport.
                  ``(B) Revenue test.--In applying the primary 
                recreational purpose requirement, the Secretary may 
                only authorize an activity or infrastructure under 
                paragraph (1) to the extent that the skiing and snow-
                sport season component of the rental charge under the 
                ski area permit, as determined under section 701 of 
                division I of the Omnibus Parks and Public Lands 
                Management Act 1996 (16 U.S.C. 497c), remains greater 
                than the portion of the rental charge that would be 
                generated outside the skiing and snow-sport season.
          ``(4) Boundary changes.--When determining the boundary of a 
        ski area permit under subsection (b)(3), the Secretary shall 
        not consider the need for activities other than skiing and 
        other snow-sports.
          ``(5) Effect on existing activities and facilities.--Nothing 
        in this subsection affects any activity or facility approved or 
        permitted by the Secretary on or before the date of enactment 
        of this subsection.''; and
          (5) in subsection (d) (as redesignated by paragraph (3))--
                  (A) by striking ``Within one year after the date of 
                enactment of this Act, the'' and inserting ``Not later 
                than 1 year after the date of enactment of the Ski Area 
                Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act of 2010, 
                the''; and
                  (B) by striking ``within 3 years of the date of 
                enactment of this Act''.

SEC. 4. EFFECT.

  Nothing in this Act (including the amendments made by this Act) 
affects--
          (1) any authority of the Secretary of Agriculture (including 
        the authority of the Secretary with respect to recreational 
        activities or infrastructure located on National Forest System 
        land) under any Federal law (including regulations) other than 
        the National Forest Ski Area Permit Act of 1986 (16 U.S.C. 
        497b); and
          (2) any duty of the Secretary under the National 
        Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.).

                          Purpose of the Bill

    The purpose of H.R. 2476 is to amend the National Forest 
Ski Area Permit Act of 1986 to clarify the authority of the 
Secretary of Agriculture regarding additional recreational uses 
of National Forest System land that are subject to ski area 
permits, and for other purposes.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    The National Forest Ski Permit Act of 1986 outlines the 
terms and conditions under which the U.S. Forest Service may 
permit the development of alpine and Nordic ski areas on 
National Forest lands. However, the Act does not provide the 
Secretary with the discretion to determine if winter sports 
beyond skiing or summer outdoor recreational activities should 
be allowed on Forest Service lands governed by a ski area 
permit.
    H.R. 2476 authorizes the Secretary to expand the scope of 
ski area permits to allow for additional snow sports and 
seasonal activities that may be suitable on National Forest 
System lands such as snow boarding, zip lines, and climbing 
walls. These activities would only be authorized if they 
encouraged outdoor recreation and, to the extent practicable, 
harmonized with the natural environment, including blending the 
color of any new infrastructure with its surroundings.
    H.R. 2476 specifically prohibits the terms of a ski permit 
from authorizing recreational uses on Forest Service lands 
wherein the primary purpose is not skiing or other snow sports.

                            Committee Action

    H.R. 2476 was introduced on May 19, 2009, by Representative 
Diana DeGette (D-CO). The bill was referred to the Committee on 
Natural Resources, and within the Committee to the Subcommittee 
on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands. The bill was also 
referred to the Committee on Agriculture. On November 5, 2009, 
the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands 
held a hearing on the bill, during which a representative of 
the U.S. Forest Service testified in support of the legislation 
and proposed technical amendments.
    On December 16, 2009, the Subcommittee was discharged from 
further consideration of H.R. 2476 and the full Natural 
Resources Committee met to consider the bill. Representative 
DeGette offered an amendment in the nature of a substitute to 
make technical changes to ensure an appropriate natural 
resource-based experience for visitors to the National Forests 
while protecting the natural environment. The amendment in the 
nature of a substitute was adopted by voice vote. The bill, as 
amended, was then ordered favorably reported to the House of 
Representatives by voice vote.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1. Short title

    Section 1 provides that this bill may be cited as the ``Ski 
Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act of 2009''.

Section 2. Purpose

    Section 2 defines the purpose of this Act as amending the 
National Forest Ski Area Permit Act of 1986 (16 U.S.C. 497b) to 
allow for snow sports, in addition to nordic and alpine skiing, 
to be permitted on National Forest System land. The Secretary 
of Agriculture's authority to permit year-round recreational 
activities on lands subject to ski area permits is clarified.

Section 3. Ski area permits

    Section 3 amends the National Forest Ski Area Permit Act of 
1986 (16 U.S.C. 497b) in several ways. First, it strikes 
``nordic and alpine ski areas and facilities'' in subsection 
(a) and replaces it with ``ski areas and associated 
facilities''. Next, it strikes in subsection (b) ``nordic and 
alpine skiing operations and purposes'' and inserts ``skiing 
and other snow-sports and such other seasonal or year round 
recreational activities associated with mountain resorts as the 
Secretary may authorize pursuant to subsection (c)''. These 
amendments to the Act are intended to clarify the types of 
recreational activities allowed on lands subject to ski area 
permits.
    Section 3 also adds a new subsection ``(c) OTHER 
RECREATIONAL USES'' to the National Forest Ski Area Permit Act 
of 1986, which outlines the conditions necessary for the 
Secretary to authorize seasonal or year-round natural resource-
based recreational activities on lands subject to ski area 
permits. There are five subsections to the new subsection (c).
    The new subsection (c)(1) gives the Secretary the authority 
to authorize year-round natural resource-based activities.
    The new subsection (c)(2) requires that year-round 
activities shall encourage outdoor recreation and enjoyment of 
nature; shall harmonize with the natural environment; shall be 
located within the portions of the ski permit area that are 
developed to support skiing and other snow sports; shall be 
consistent with the forest management plan; and shall be 
subject to the terms and conditions the Secretary determines to 
be appropriate.
    The new subsection (c)(3) states that the Secretary may not 
authorize an activity that would change the primary 
recreational purpose of the land subject to the ski area permit 
to be a purpose other than skiing and snow-sports. The 
Secretary may only authorize an activity if the rental charge 
revenue under the ski area permit remains greater than the 
rental charge generated outside the skiing and snow-sport 
season.
    The new subsection (c)(4) states that the Secretary shall 
not consider the need for activities other than skiing and 
other snow sports when determining the boundaries of a ski area 
permit.
    Lastly, the new subsection (c)(5) allows any activity 
approved or permitted before the date of enactment of this 
subsection to continue.

Section 4. Effect

    Section 4 states that nothing in this Act affects any 
authority or duty of the Secretary of Agriculture under any 
federal law, including the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969 (42 U.S.C. 4312 et seq.), other than the National Forest 
Ski Area Permit Act of 1986 (16 U.S.C. 497b).

            Committee Oversight Findings and Recommendations

    Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee on Natural Resources' oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.

                   Constitutional Authority Statement

    Article IV, section 3 of the Constitution of the United 
States grants Congress the authority to enact this bill.

                    Compliance With House Rule XIII

    1. Cost of Legislation. Clause 3(d)(2) of rule XIII of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives requires an estimate and 
a comparison by the Committee of the costs which would be 
incurred in carrying out this bill. However, clause 3(d)(3)(B) 
of that rule provides that this requirement does not apply when 
the Committee has included in its report a timely submitted 
cost estimate of the bill prepared by the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office under section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974.
    2. Congressional Budget Act. As required by clause 3(c)(2) 
of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and 
section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, this 
bill does not contain any new budget authority, spending 
authority, credit authority, or an increase or decrease in 
revenues or tax expenditures.
    3. General Performance Goals and Objectives. As required by 
clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII, the general performance goal or 
objective of this bill is to amend the National Forest Ski Area 
Permit Act of 1986 to clarify the authority of the Secretary of 
Agriculture regarding additional recreational uses of National 
Forest System Land that are subject to ski area permits, and 
for other purposes.
    4. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate. Under clause 
3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives and section 403 of the Congressional Budget Act 
of 1974, the Committee has received the following cost estimate 
for this bill from the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office:

H.R. 2476--Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act of 2009

    H.R. 2476 would clarify the authority of the Forest Service 
to allow ski concessioners to offer additional recreational 
services on public lands. Based on information provided by the 
agency, CBO estimates that enacting the bill would have no 
significant effect on the federal budget. The Forest Service 
already has authority to allow its concessioners to provide 
off-season and other recreational services at ski resorts. 
Clarifying that authority could facilitate the agency's 
collection of offsetting receipts from ski concessioners 
(currently about $30 million a year), but CBO estimates that 
any increase, which would be deposited in the U.S. Treasury, 
would total less than $500,000 a year.
    The bill contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Deborah Reis. 
The estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                    Compliance With Public Law 104-4

    This bill contains no unfunded mandates.

                           Earmark Statement

    H.R. 2476 does not contain any congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in 
clause 9 of rule XXI.

                Preemption of State, Local or Tribal Law

    This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or 
tribal law.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italic, existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

              NATIONAL FOREST SKI AREA PERMIT ACT OF 1986




           *       *       *       *       *       *       *
SEC. 3. SKI AREA PERMITS.

  (a) Law Applicable to Permits.--The provisions of the Act of 
March 4, 1915 (16 U.S.C. 497) notwithstanding, the term and 
acreage of permits for the operation of [nordic and alpine ski 
areas and facilities] ski areas and associated facilities on 
National Forest System lands shall henceforth be governed by 
this Act and other applicable law.
  (b) Authority.--The Secretary of Agriculture (hereinafter 
referred to as ``the Secretary'') is authorized to issue 
permits (hereinafter referred to as ``ski area permits'') for 
the use and occupancy of suitable lands within the National 
Forest System for [nordic and alpine skiing operations and 
purposes] skiing and other snow-sports and such other seasonal 
or year-round recreational activities associated with mountain 
resorts as the Secretary may authorize pursuant to subsection 
(c). A ski area permit--
          (1) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (c) Other Recreational Uses.--
          (1) Authority of secretary.--Subject to paragraphs 
        (2) and (3), the Secretary may authorize the holder of 
        a ski area permit issued pursuant to subsection (b) to 
        provide on National Forest System land subject to the 
        ski area permit such other seasonal or year-round 
        natural resource-based recreational activities and 
        associated infrastructure (in addition to skiing and 
        other snow-sports) as the Secretary determines to be 
        appropriate.
          (2) Requirements.--Any activity or infrastructure 
        authorized by the Secretary under paragraph (1) shall--
                  (A) encourage outdoor recreation and 
                enjoyment of nature;
                  (B) to the extent practicable, harmonize with 
                the natural environment of the National Forest 
                System land on which the activity or 
                infrastructure is located;
                  (C) to the extent practicable, be located 
                within the portions of the ski permit area that 
                are developed to support skiing and other snow 
                sports;
                  (D) be consistent with the applicable forest 
                management plan and all other applicable laws; 
                and
                  (E) be subject to such terms and conditions 
                as the Secretary determines to be appropriate.
          (3) No change in purpose.--
                  (A) In general.--The Secretary may not 
                authorize an activity or infrastructure under 
                paragraph (1) if the Secretary determines that 
                the authorization of the activity or 
                infrastructure would result in the primary 
                recreational purpose of the National Forest 
                System land that is subject to a ski area 
                permit to be a purpose other than skiing or any 
                other snow-sport.
                  (B) Revenue test.--In applying the primary 
                recreational purpose requirement, the Secretary 
                may only authorize an activity or 
                infrastructure under paragraph (1) to the 
                extent that the skiing and snow-sport season 
                component of the rental charge under the ski 
                area permit, as determined under section 701 of 
                division I of the Omnibus Parks and Public 
                Lands Management Act 1996 (16 U.S.C. 497c), 
                remains greater than the portion of the rental 
                charge that would be generated outside the 
                skiing and snow-sport season.
          (4) Boundary changes.--When determining the boundary 
        of a ski area permit under subsection (b)(3), the 
        Secretary shall not consider the need for activities 
        other than skiing and other snow-sports.
          (5) Effect on existing activities and facilities.--
        Nothing in this subsection affects any activity or 
        facility approved or permitted by the Secretary on or 
        before the date of enactment of this subsection.
  [(c)] (d) Rules and Regulations.--[Within one year after the 
date of enactment of this Act, the] Not later than 1 year after 
the date of enactment of the Ski Area Recreational Opportunity 
Enhancement Act of 2010, the Secretary shall promulgate rules 
and regulations to implement the provisions of this Act, and 
shall, to the extent practicable and with the consent of 
existing permit holders, convert all existing ski area permits 
or leases on National Forest System lands into ski area permits 
which conform to the provisions of this Act [within 3 years of 
the date of enactment of this Act].
  [(d)] (e) Nothing in this Act shall be deemed to amend, 
modify or otherwise affect the Secretary's duties under the 
National Environmental Policy Act, or the Forest and Rangelands 
Renewable Resources Planning Act as amended by the National 
Forest Management Act, including his duties to involve the 
public in his decisionmaking and planning for the national 
forests.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *