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H.R. 1159 (113th): Cabin Fee Act of 2013

The text of the bill below is as of Mar 14, 2013 (Introduced).



1st Session

H. R. 1159


March 14, 2013

(for himself, Mr. Bishop of Utah, Mr. Simpson, and Mr. Daines) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources


To modify the Forest Service Recreation Residence Program by implementing a simple, equitable, and predictable procedure for determining cabin user fees, and for other purposes.


Short title; table of contents


Short title

This Act may be cited as the Cabin Fee Act of 2013 .


Table of contents

The table of contents of this Act is as follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

Sec. 2. Definitions.

Sec. 3. Cabin user fees.

Sec. 4. Payment of cabin transfer fees.

Sec. 5. Right of appeal and judicial review.

Sec. 6. Effect.

Sec. 7. Regulations.



In this Act:


Authorization; authorize

The terms authorization and authorize mean the issuance of a special use permit for the use and occupancy of National Forest System land by a cabin owner under the Recreation Residence Program.



The term cabin means a privately built and owned recreation residence and related improvements on National Forest System land that—


is authorized for private use and occupancy; and


may be sold or transferred between private parties.


Cabin owner

The term cabin owner means—


a person authorized by the Secretary to use and to occupy a cabin; and


a trust, heir, or assign of a person described in subparagraph (A).


Cabin transfer fee

The term cabin transfer fee means a fee that is paid to the United States on the transfer of a cabin between private parties for money or other consideration that results in the issuance of a new permit.


Cabin user fee

The term cabin user fee means an annual fee paid to the United States by a cabin owner in accordance with an authorization for the use and occupancy of a cabin.


Current appraisal cycle

The term current appraisal cycle means the completion of Forest Service review and acceptance of—


initial typical lot appraisals; and


second appraisals, if ordered by cabin owners and approved by the Forest Service.


Current cabin user fee

The term current cabin user fee means the most recent cabin user fee, as adjusted under section 3(c).



The term lot means a parcel of National Forest System land on which a person is authorized to build, use, occupy, and maintain a cabin.


National forest system

The term National Forest System has the meaning given that term in section 11 of the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974 (16 U.S.C. 1609).


Recreation residence program

The term Recreation Residence Program means the Recreation Residence Program established under the last paragraph under the heading FOREST SERVICE in the Act of March 4, 1915 (16 U.S.C. 497).



The term Secretary means the Secretary of Agriculture, acting through the Chief of the Forest Service.


Typical lot

The term typical lot means a cabin lot, or group of cabin lots, in a tract that is selected for use in an appraisal as being representative of, and that has similar value characteristics as, other lots or groups of lots within the tract.


Cabin user fees


Payment of cabin user fees

Cabin owners shall pay an annual cabin user fee established by the Secretary in accordance with this section.


Initial cabin user fees



The Secretary shall establish initial cabin user fees in accordance with this subsection.


Assignment to value tiers

On completion of the current appraisal cycle, as required by paragraph (4), the Secretary shall assign each permitted lot on National Forest System land to 1 of 10 tiers based on the following considerations:


Before assigning the lots to tiers, all appraised lot values shall be adjusted, or normalized, for price changes occurring after the appraisal, in accordance with the National Association of Homebuilders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index.


Second appraisal values shall supersede initial lot appraisal values for the normalization and ranking process under subparagraph (A).


The tiers shall be established, on a national basis, according to relative lot value, with lots having the lowest adjusted appraised value assigned to tier 1 and lots having the highest adjusted appraised value assigned to tier 10.


The number of lots (by percentage) assigned to each tier is contained in the table set forth in paragraph (3).


Data from incomplete appraisals may not be used to establish the fee tiers under this subsection.


Until assigned to a tier under this subsection, the Secretary shall assess (and may adjust annually subject to clause (ii)) an interim fee for permitted cabin lots (including lots with incomplete appraisals) in an amount equal to the lesser of—


$5,000; or


the amount of the current cabin user fee, as determined under the Cabin User Fee Fairness Act of 2000 ( 16 U.S.C. 6201 et seq. ), which amount the Secretary may increase annually by not more than 25 percent, except that the increased fee shall not exceed the otherwise scheduled fee determined under the Cabin User Fee Fairness Act of 2000.


Amount of initial cabin user fees

The initial cabin user fees, based on the assignments under paragraph (2), are as follows:

Fee Tier Approximate Percent of Permits Nationally Fee Amount
Tier 1 5 percent $500
Tier 2 12 percent $1,000
Tier 3 22 percent $1,500
Tier 4 22 percent $2,000
Tier 5 10 percent $2,500
Tier 6 9 percent $3,000
Tier 7 6 percent $3,500
Tier 8 5 percent $4,000
Tier 9 5 percent $4,500
Tier 10 4 percent $5,000

Deadline for completion of current appraisal cycle

Not later than 3 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall complete the current appraisal cycle.


Effective date

The initial cabin user fees required by this subsection shall take effect beginning with the first calendar year beginning after the completion of the current appraisal cycle.


Annual adjustments of cabin user fee

Once initial cabin user fees have been assessed, based on the tier assignments under subsection (b)(2), the Secretary shall use changes in the Implicit Price Deflator for the Gross Domestic Product published by the Bureau of Economic Analysis of the Department of Commerce, applied on a 5-year rolling average, to assess an annual adjustment to cabin user fees.


Effect of destruction, substantial damage, or loss of access


In general

The Secretary shall reduce the cabin user fee to $100 per year for a cabin if—


the cabin is destroyed or suffers substantial damage in an amount that is greater than 50 percent of replacement cost of the cabin; or


access to the cabin is significantly impaired, whether by catastrophic events, natural causes, or governmental actions.


Term of reduced fee

The reduced fee under paragraph (1) shall be in effect until the later of—


the last day of the year in which the destruction or impairment occurs; or


the date on which the cabin may be lawfully reoccupied and normal access has been restored.


Payment of cabin transfer fees

As a condition of the issuance by the Secretary of a new authorization for the use and occupancy of the cabin, the cabin owner transferring the cabin shall pay to the Secretary a cabin transfer fee in the amount of $1,200.


Right of appeal and judicial review


Right of appeal


In general

Notwithstanding any action of a cabin owner to exercise rights in accordance with section 6, the Secretary shall by regulation grant to the cabin owner the right to an administrative appeal of the determination of a new cabin user fee, fee tier, or whether or not to reduce a cabin user fee under section 3(d).


Applicable law

An appeal under paragraph (1) shall be pursuant to the appeal process provided under subpart C of part 251 of title 36, Code of Federal Regulations (or a successor regulation).


Judicial review


In general

A cabin owner that contests a final decision of the Secretary under this Act may bring a civil action in United States district court.



The venue for an action brought before the United States district court under this subsection shall be in the Federal judicial district in which the cabin is located.


Effect on mediation

Nothing in this Act precludes a person from seeking mediation for an action under this Act.




In general

Nothing in this Act limits or restricts any right, title, or interest of the United States in or to any land or resource.


Special rule for alaska

In determining a cabin user fee in the State of Alaska, the Secretary shall not establish or impose a cabin user fee or a condition affecting a cabin user fee that is inconsistent with 1303(d) of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act ( 16 U.S.C. 3193(d) ).



Not later than December 31, 2014, the Secretary shall issue regulations to carry out this Act.