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Ariz. group calls ranger fees intimidating

Ariz. group calls ranger fees intimidating

CREATED May 12, 2012

Web Producer: Marissa Pasquet

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - An advocacy group says forest rangers are "intimidating" hikers into paying fees at recreation sites such as Sabino Canyon even though a federal court has blocked such fees.

Officials say that Kitty Benzar, president of the Western Slope No Fee Coalition, says rangers are writing "phony tickets" that intimidate visitors.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in February that the U.S. Forest Service cannot charge fees for those who park and hike in the Catalina Mountains north of Tucson.

Officials of the Coronado National Forest, which manages the recreation sites, said they could not comment in detail because litigation is continuing on the fee issue.

Heidi Schewel, a spokeswoman for the Coronado Forest, says fees are continuing in Sabino Canyon and Madera Canyon.

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