Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) in introducing the Ski Hill Resources for Economic Development Act (SHRED) to support local ski resorts by keeping ski fees local. The legislation would enable the U.S. Forest Service to retain a portion of the annual fees paid by ski areas operating within their boundaries and use that money to invest in local year-round recreation opportunities future and to further boost local gateway economies.
“Lake Tahoe has some of the best skiing in the country and I know how important they are to our outdoor recreation economy,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “After the record winter we’ve seen this year, it’s more important than ever that the revenue generated by our local resorts stays in the Tahoe Basin to support our forests and our outdoor recreation economies.”
In exchange for using some of America’s most stunning forestlands, the 124 ski areas operating on Forest Service lands across the country pay fees to the Forest Service that average over $40 million annually. The SHRED Act would establish a framework for local National Forests to retain a portion of ski fees to offset increased recreational use and support local ski permit and program administration. The SHRED Act also provides the Forest Service with flexibility to direct resources where they are needed the most. Specifically, it would:
- Keep Ski Fees Local: By establishing a Ski Area Fee Retention Account to retain the fees that ski areas pay to the Forest Service. For National Forests that generate ski fees, 80 percent of those fees are available for authorized uses at the local National Forest. The remaining 20 percent of those fees would be available to assist any National Forest with winter or broad recreation needs.
- Support Winter Recreation: In each forest, 75 percent of the retained funds are directly available to support the Forest Service Ski Area Program and permitting needs, process proposals for ski area improvement projects, provide information for visitors and prepare for wildfire. Any excess funds can be directed to other National Forests with winter or broad recreation needs.
- Address Broad Recreation Needs: In each forest, 25 percent of the retained funds are available to support a broad set of year-round local recreation management and community needs, including special use permit administration, visitor services, trailhead improvements, facility maintenance, search and rescue activities, avalanche information and education, habitat restoration at recreation sites and affordable workforce housing. This set-aside would dramatically increase some Forest Service unit’s budgets to meet the growing visitation and demand for outdoor recreation.
Senator Cortez Masto has been a champion for Lake Tahoe and Nevada’s outdoor recreation economy, which supports thousands of local jobs and delivers 4.9 billion to the state each year. She passed critical legislation to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) which protects public lands in Nevada and across the country, and delivered critical funding to protect Lake Tahoe in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.