USACE Issues Passes
Inside the Outdoors, May 27,
2016

The Pittsburgh District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently issued America the Beautiful – the National Parks and Federation Recreational Lands passes.

According to a press release submitted by April Richards, publicist, “The American the Beautiful “interagency” Pass Program is a suite of annual and lifetime passes that provides U.S. citizens and visitors an affordable and convenient way to access Federal recreational lands. The Recreation Enhancement Act (REA) established “America the Beautiful” program to replace the Golden Age/Golden Access program. All interagency Passes cover day use fees such as the boat launch and beach fees at USACE facilities. Senior and Access Pass holders can receive a 50% discount on camping at USACE facilities including Loyalhanna, Youghiogheny and Crooked Creek Lakes.”

In discussing the Interagency Passes, she stated, “These provide fee free entrance or access to more than 2,000 Federal recreation sites. It covers entrances fees at National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges, as well as standard amenity fees (day use) at National Forests, National Grasslands and lands managed by the Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation.”

This is worth noting. Richards said, “There’s no limit on the number of sites you can see, and each Pass covers entrance and stand amenity fees for a driver and up to four adults. The Senior and Access Passes may also provide the pass owner a discount on some Expanded Amenity Fees such as camping.”

There are six different categories of passes. These include:

  1. Annual ($80 for persons 16 years and older)
  2. Senior ($10 – covers the lifetime of the individual pass owner. The applicant must be 62+ years of age, a U.S. citizen, and a permanent resident
  3. Access (Free for lifetime with documentation of permanent disability, U.S. citizens and permanent residents
  4. Volunteer (earned with 250+ hours of documented volunteer service in public lands)
  5. Every Kid in a Park (Free for fourth graders with a valid voucher from Every Kid in a Park website
  6. Military (Free for current U.S. military personnel and their dependents with proper identification

Richards stated that these passes are available in hundreds of locations throughout the country. There are two closest to Latrobe, these being Loyalhanna (724-639-9013), and Conemaugh (724-459-7240) Lakes. Call first before visiting either two or the remaining centers located throughout the country to verify that representatives are issuing the passes. One can make payment via check or cash.

One may also get them online by logging onto http://store.usgs.gov/pass. USACE will not accept pass requests through the mail.

If one has any questions pertaining to a specific location, please call either of the locations above, Youghiogheny Lake at 814-395-3242 or Crooked Creek, 724-763-3161.

I wish to thank Latrobe resident Terry Crawford for bringing this story to my attention. Without faithful readers such as he, there is a very good chance my column wouldn’t be as popular as it has become.

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In as much as drilling related activities have become a real concern for Pennsylvania residents, I recently received a letter from Katy Dunlap from Trout Unlimited (TU) stating that the General Assembly passed a comprehensive bill that “required the development of new regulations to provide long-overdue environment protections and performance standards at oil and gas well sites.”

The Eastern Water Project Director stated, “While the legislation did not deal with all of TU’s concerns about how shale gas development may be impacting streams and aquatic life, we recognized this as an important step toward improved protections for the Commonwealth’s fish and wildlife habitats.”

She added, “Since then, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has worked diligently to engage the public, industry and conservation organizations in developing new oil and gas rules, holding tow separate public comment periods, 12 public hearings, and dozens of meeting with stakeholders.”

As a result, Dunlap emphasized that an increase in stream protections have been put into play. There will be a prohibition put forth using pits to store shale gas drill cuttings and waste fluids and requiring secondary containment around all story tanks and trucks and drill rigs; require pipeline companies to employ pollution prevention plans when performing horizontal directional drilling under streams; require shale gas operators to obtain a water management plan before they withdraw water for hydraulic fracturing; prohibit the use of shale gas wastewater on roads for dust suppression and de-icing; and improving waste tracking and reporting requirements.

“Since the rules were approved,” the TU executive stated, “the Pennsylvania General Assembly is trying to overturn the very rules they called for more than four years ago. Soon, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is likely to vote on a House/Senate concurrent resolution disapproving DEP’s final oil and gas regulations and barring implementation of the rules.”

She concluded, “Tell your senator today to protect Pennsylvania’s streams, and oppose any resolution or bill that would delay implementation of the new oil and gas regulations."


- Paul J. Volkmann
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