Shaheen, Hassan reintroduce SHRED Act to keep ski fees local, support recreation management
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) reintroduced the Ski Hill Resources for Economic Development (SHRED) Act, led by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and John Barrasso (R-WY). The bipartisan bill would invest in outdoor recreation in mountain communities by enabling National Forests, including the White Mountain National Forest, to retain a portion of the annual fees paid by ski areas operating within their boundaries.
“Skiing is a cornerstone of our outdoor recreation economy, bringing tourists and residents alike to the White Mountains to experience our impressive slopes. This bill will deliver resources at the local level to support the National Forest and ski areas in New Hampshire, ensuring safety and maintenance updates can be made,” said Senator Shaheen. “I’ll continue to support key investments in our recreation economy to ensure our landscapes are preserved for generations of Granite Staters to enjoy.”
“Skiers and snowboarders alike flock to New Hampshire for our top-notch ski resorts, which play a major role in our winter tourism economy,” said Senator Hassan. “The SHRED Act will help ensure that communities across our state reap the benefits of ski fees by putting those dollars back into our beautiful forests. I will continue to push my colleagues to support this commonsense, bipartisan bill that will help strengthen New Hampshire’s economy and protect the natural resources that define our state.”
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.
The SHRED Act 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 Forests 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.
Shaheen and Hassan have led efforts in Congress that support and invest in New Hampshire’s tourism and travel industries that fuel local economies across the state. Shaheen’s bill, the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act, is now law and requires the federal government to measure the impact of the outdoor recreation on the economy. Shaheen and Hassan led efforts to help secure full funding and permanent authorization for the LWCF, which has helped protect more than 2.5 million acres of land and supported tens of thousands of state and local outdoor recreation projects throughout the nation. In 2020, the Great American Outdoors Act, cosponsored by the Senators, was signed into law. This bipartisan legislation served to permanently fund the LWCF and provide mandatory funding for deferred maintenance on public lands.