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Advocacy group calls fees by park rangers ‘intimidating’

Poppies make this trail in Catalina State Park north of Tucson a magnet for hikers. (Photo by Arizona State Parks)

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.

The Arizona Daily Star reports 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.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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