Murkowski Thanks Forest Service for Administrative Fix to Cabin Fees in the Tongass

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) today commended the U.S. Forest Service for administratively enacting language to limit fees on subsistence cabins in the Tongass National Forest that Murkowski originally proposed in the Alaska Subsistence Structure Protection Act of 2013 (S. 736).

“It was wrong for the Forest Service to charge subsistence users for owning cabins on national forestry land at the same rate they charged non-subsistence users,” Murkowski said. “With today’s announcement, the Forest Service is acknowledging that families in Southeast Alaska, for whom subsistence is a vital part of daily life, deserve their own annual fee category.”

There are approximately 60 privately owned subsistence cabins in the Tongass that are used primarily for hunting, fishing, and gathering of wild foods. The Forest Service recently increased annual user fees on those cabins to nearly $1,000 – a sum that threatened to force many subsistence cabin owners to stop their traditional and customary activities in the Tongass.

The Forest Service announced today that it would follow Murkowski’s legislative language and limit the annual fee charged on noncommercial cabins in the Tongass that are used primarily for subsistence activities to $250. 

“The Forest Service taking this action on their own means that families in Alaska won’t have to wait for the often painfully slow legislative process to play out in Washington,” Murkowski said. “That seems especially appropriate in this case, as this change allows for a more reasonable fee for these cabins that have been in use for decades, in many cases before the Tongass was even designated a national forest.”