Forest Service to Drop Adventure Pass Fee
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Art ...
(asandh) - F
Forest Service to Drop Adventure Pass Fee on 03/01/2012 12:45:11 MST Print View

thanks to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
and it only took ... how many years ?

Drop Fees

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Forest Service to Drop Adventure Pass Fee on 03/01/2012 13:00:34 MST Print View

Here in Oregon, the Mt. Hood National Forest has just decided to turn all their campgrounds over to private concessionaires. Nearly half of these campgrounds contain trailheads, and the concessionaires will charge a "day use fee" for trailhead parking. The MNHF is trying to negotiate having the concessionaires accept the Northwest Forest Pass, but the concessionaires will not have to accept the interagency passes such as the America the Beautiful Pass, the Senior (formerly Golden Age) pass or the Access (formerly Golden Access) pass. Since all of us 62-and-over hikers use the Senior Pass, we will basically be blocked from access to those trails unless we want to enrich the concessionaires. Or, as I plan to do, park down the road and go cross-country to get on the trail.

Thanks for the link; this is becoming a big issue locally!

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
Adventure Pass on 03/02/2012 12:13:40 MST Print View

This is big news around Southern CA, since all of our local NFs require the Adventure Pass. Locally (for me), the Los Padres NF has said that they will continue to require the Adventure Pass while they study the implications of the ruling and explore options for (further) appeals.

Originally, an Adventure Pass was required to park anywhere in the forest. In the last few years, the FS relaxed the requirements somewhat and only required the Adventure Pass for users in certain, primarily high-use, areas where physical infrastructure improvements were present (bathrooms, parking lots, etc.).

As far as the concessionaires go, we've seen a mixed bag in terms of how they operate in relation to the Adventure Passes. In Santa Barbara, along the Santa Ynez River, a concessionaire has set up a "checkpoint." You can't drive beyond the checkpoint and use any of the facilities without purchasing an Adventure Pass. In Big Sur (still Los Padres NF), the concessionaires that operate the day use areas do not recognize the Adventure Pass or other Federal Lands passes. If you want to use the day use area, you have to buy one of the concessionaire's own passes. To be honest, this upsests me more than paying for an Adventure Pass.

Anyway, I'll be happy to see the Pass go. I do worry however about what the incremental loss in revenues from the Adventure Pass program will do to an Agency that is already underfunded and overworked. As I understand it, the Adventure Pass program was, in a roundabout way, offered to the Forest Service as a possible revenue-generating source by Congress after Congress cut the Forest Service's more traditional funding sources.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Adventure Pass on 03/02/2012 12:27:44 MST Print View

Watch what you wish for.

Each year I purchase an annual national parks pass which also works as an Adventure Pass. This is going to reduce revenue.

Don't be surprised is your Wilderness Permits get really expensive. It costs money to maintain things and pay salaries, and it isn't going to come from general funds.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Don't count your chickens! on 03/02/2012 13:11:42 MST Print View

Official USFS Press Release:

http://www.westernslopenofee.org/pdfuploads/Press_Release_Fees_Will_Continue.pdf

Edited by hikinggranny on 03/02/2012 13:12:20 MST.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Don't count your chickens! on 03/02/2012 14:11:27 MST Print View

what does this all mean ?

Edited by asandh on 03/02/2012 14:59:24 MST.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Re: Re: Don't count your chickens! on 03/02/2012 19:31:15 MST Print View

The case was sent back to district court for action. Obviously the USFS plans to "tough it out" until forced to do something different. They obviously are backing off charging for trailheads that don't have rest room, picnic table (not sure why they need that), interpretive signs and a garbage can, which the law the USFS ignored is needed in order to require the pass.

Edited by hikinggranny on 03/02/2012 19:32:26 MST.

Art Sandt
(artsandt) - F
land of the free on 03/02/2012 20:03:36 MST Print View

Why does it not surprise me that they're "choosing" to ignore it.

HK Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: Forest Service to Drop Adventure Pass Fee on 03/02/2012 20:42:48 MST Print View

I read the decision being related to unimproved facilities, the law interpreted as someone should be able to simply park their car for free on an unimproved lot/side of road and take a hike, but using improved facilities, the Forest Service was allowed to charge ... i.e. overnight in developed campgrounds, trailheads (TH) with running water (the rule of thumb usually in the western US), intrepretive areas, or even TH with showers - typically concessionaires. I definitely do not like private concessionaires charging for access to unimproved trailheads, though I do not mind paying for their shower facilities if I should choose to use them. I further noticed that they usually do this when only auto access is available (Arroyo Seco on the other side of Big Sur/Ventana range, California). What I'd really like is for the government to roll back the paved roads minimizing the need for human management in our forest service lands.

Edited by hknewman on 03/02/2012 20:46:18 MST.

P. Larson
(reacttocontact) - F
Re: Re: Forest Service to Drop Adventure Pass Fee on 03/03/2012 08:46:25 MST Print View

Wait....you all had to pay to use Forest Service land? That's public land!

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Freeloaders and Fee Payers. on 03/05/2012 10:03:24 MST Print View

I've bought the Adventure Pass or National Parks Passes most years. I think the NP pass is a reasonable, fair way to let frequent public land users put some money back into the system.

The Adventure Pass for Angeles and San Bernardino National Forests just irritates me. The original explanatory web site for the pass said something to the effect that the Angeles and San Bernardino National Forests receive so much use that they have high operational costs, and it wouldn't be fair to have people from across the country subsidize these local forests. That really cheezed me off because around 10% of all Federal personal income tax is paid by people living within 100 miles of these two National Forests. Do they spend 10% of the Federal recreation budget here? I doubt it.

If every Federal recreational property had a user fee it would be fair. Picking out a few near urban areas isn't. Make the fee apply nationwide and I'm happy to pay it. I'm happy to pay a piece of Wilderness Ranger salary through permit fees. I'm happy to pay for campground operations through the camping fee (having just paid for $900 of campground reservations in the last month!)

Steven Hanlon
(asciibaron) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
@ Jim W on 03/05/2012 10:13:29 MST Print View

working for the state level park service, i think the fee isn't to fund the park, it's to make it unattractive to minimize the burden on the resource. those that really want to be there will pay the fee, those that aren't really into being there will go elsewhere for their "wilderness" adventure.

it's a very real way to minimize the impact. we are loving our parks to death.

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Re: it's a very real way to minimize the impact. we are loving our parks to death. on 03/05/2012 11:12:16 MST Print View

That's where I disagree with many wilderness lovers. Conservation vs. Preservation.

The way to get people interested in preserving wild places is for them to visit. While true that the places become slightly less wild, I think it is a reasonable tradeoff.

To lessen the point load on any one location, increase the accessible locations. Build more trailheads. Refurbish and maintain some of the many trails that haven't been maintained in decades. Build hardened campsites on more high use trails. Require or at least strongly encourage all weekend backpackers in the Sierra to use WAG bags...

Don't ask the General Fund to pay for all this. Do it with reasonable user fees.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: it's a very real way to minimize the impact. we are loving our parks to death. on 03/05/2012 12:04:33 MST Print View

"The way to get people interested in preserving wild places is for them to visit."

Exactly

and it's good for everyone to have the wild places preserved

so they shouldn't charge fees for use, they should pay out of general fund

besides, if you charge fees then you waste a bunch of money collecting the fees, and enforcing, and a bunch of people will cheat so you're encouraging cheating,...

Steven Hanlon
(asciibaron) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
huh? on 03/05/2012 14:23:59 MST Print View

building up a wilderness area does not preserve it nor does it foster a preservation mindset - that idea has been tried many times - it just enables the wholesale conversion of a wilderness into a "wildlife like experience". what areas become saved, those far from a highway exit ramp?

please visit Great Smokey or the area around Skyline Drive to really see what that mindset has done to the landscape. if you build it they will come, in droves. the worst thing that can happen to a wilderness area is it gain popularity. many places sit quietly in anonymity and without a major trail or famous back story to draw attraction to them.

those are the gems and i won't tell you what they are, i don't want everyone ruining my wilderness experience ;)

as for the fees, have you ever looked that the Forest Service budget? they are in the road building business. the National Park Service, they are concession contract managers.

take a deep look at the agencies you want to preserve the wilderness and you might learn a few ugly secrets. my eyes were opened about 10 years ago when i started were i am now. shocking to see what it's really all about.

Edited by asciibaron on 03/05/2012 14:26:37 MST.

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Re: Huh? on 03/05/2012 16:10:08 MST Print View

Sadly, you're right on the USFS road building and NPS concessionaire point.

I was not proposing pure preservation, rather reasonable conservation. I think that Conservation is the best bet for keeping wild places mostly wild. Preserve them, keep everyone out, and nobody will care when the proposal to clear cut, strip mine, or build a strip mall comes through.

By keeping bicycles off the trails, Wilderness purists been successful in getting many off-pavement bicycling enthusiasts to side with mining and logging interests regarding Wilderness. Is that really best?

Exclusions to protect endangered species can backfire too. The California Bighorn Sheep Zoological Areas in the John Muir Wilderness are restricted to help encourage the sheep herds to thrive. Access to Mt. Williamson (2nd highest in California) and Baxter Creek were restricted for many years and trails not maintained. Care to guess where two major illegal pot farms were discovered? Excavation, irrigation, cultivation, and trash were protected better than the sheep.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Huh? on 03/05/2012 16:50:31 MST Print View

Try to concentrate use - like Yosemite valley

People still get to see some wilderness like views

Most of the area is relatively free of human effect

I don't mind bicycles on a trail as long as they're not going at high speed around a corner and then running into me

If we let our senators and representatives know what we think, they may push the Forest Service more towards preservation and recreation rather than so much focus on harvesting timber

Steven Hanlon
(asciibaron) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
know your history on 03/05/2012 19:30:40 MST Print View

there is a reason the Forest Service is under the Dept. of Ag and not the Dept of the Interior like the NPS. they have completely different roles and they have, at times, conflicting ideas on what is best for some adjacent holdings.

the NPS deals in more than just wild lands, the USFS wants to sell trees.