Natural Resources and Environment:

Recreation Concessioners Operating on Federal Lands

T-RCED-91-16: Published: Mar 21, 1991. Publicly Released: Mar 21, 1991.


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GAO discussed the issue of concession-operated recreation services on federal lands, concerning the National Park Service (NPS), Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, Forest Service, and the Army Corps of Engineers. GAO noted that: (1) since there was no single law authorizing concession operations for all six agencies, the agencies' policies regarding the types, terms, and fees of such agreements were significantly different and inconsistent; (2) the total number of concession agreements was not known or documented by any of the six agencies; (3) due to either incomplete data and non-fee compensations, the total amount of federal compensation for the use of its recreational resources was not known; (4) the six agencies received about $32 million in fees from gross concession revenues of $1.5 billion, and NPS and Forest Service concession operations accounted for about 90 percent of the revenue; (5) because the laws did not specify the calculation of fees to the government, the agencies developed their own varying approaches; and (6) those various calculation approaches resulted in concessioners paying different fees for similar activities. GAO believes that, to more effectively manage their concession programs, the six agencies need to develop and analyze complete data on their concession agreements, including data and the financial worth and non-fee compensations.

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