Calif. hikers challenge forest Adventure Pass

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Four hikers fed up with paying fees to visit national forests in California have filed a lawsuit seeking to do away with the U.S. Forest Service’s Adventure Pass.

The San Gabriel Valley Tribune says the suit seeks to apply a 2012 appellate ruling in an Arizona case to the Angeles, Los Padres, San Bernardino and Cleveland national forests. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Forest Service cannot charge for hiking, walking, picnicking, parking or visiting undeveloped areas of national forest land.

U.S. District Court Judge Terry J. Hatter has ordered lawyers for the plaintiffs and the Department of Justice to enter into settlement talks.

Critics say the fee amounts to “double taxation” but forest managers say the fees are essential as federal budgets are slashed.

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