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Cross-country ski fee hike sought

Published (3/4/2010)
By Sue Hegarty
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Avid cross-country skiers who voluntarily groom state ski trails are asking lawmakers to increase trail use fees so they can recover their material costs.

The House Environment Policy and Oversight Committee approved a bill March 2 that would increase the annual fee from $14 to $19; a three-year pass from $39 to $54; and daily passes from $4 to $5. Fees pertain to persons age 16 and older.

Sponsored by Rep. Brita Sailer (DFL-Park Rapids), HF3207 awaits action by the House Environment and Natural Resources Finance Division.

Another provision would exempt students, teachers and chaperones from paying a trail use fee during school-sanctioned and non-profit youth organization activities.

Darby Nelson, president of Conservation Minnesota and a former legislator who sponsored the original ski pass bill 25 years ago, said ski clubs recognize there’s no money in state government to pay for trail maintenance. The clubs are willing to continue voluntarily grooming trails; they simply want to recover their costs of purchasing grooming materials.

Sen. Tom Saxhaug (DFL-Grand Rapids) sponsors a companion, SF2863, which awaits action by the Senate Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Budget Division.

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