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U.S. Forest Service proposes recreation fee changes

FILE - The U.S. Forest Service is proposing to change recreation fees at several sites on the Pisgah National Forest and the public is invited to provide input to proposed fee changes for 46 days beginning on August 11, 2017, and ending on September 25, 2017. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

The U.S. Forest Service is proposing to change recreation fees at several sites on the Pisgah National Forest and the public is invited to provide input to proposed fee changes for 46 days beginning on August 11, 2017, and ending on September 25, 2017.

The goal of these proposed changes is to establish a consistent pricing for developed recreation sites for the National Forests in North Carolina. In addition, many day use sites will now accept the suite of "America the Beautiful, the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands" (Interagency) passes. This provides extra value to holders of these passes.

Current pricing at many Forest sites have remained static for over a decade and have not kept pace with other recreation sites with similar services and amenities. In addition, many sites have received various improvements and upgrades.

These fee changes are only proposed. After public comment is received, the Forest will assess the comments and concerns and then present the fee proposals to the Southern Region Recreation Resource Advisory Committee (RRAC) in Fall 2017. This committee will provide recommendations on the fee proposals and the Regional Forester will make a decision on the proposals. The Recreation RAC is a citizen's advisory committee that represents a broad array of recreation interests.

"We are very blessed to have so many outstanding recreational sites for visitors to enjoy. Unfortunately, the costs of properly maintaining, modernizing, and being present at these facilities is beyond what we can accomplish with our current fee structure," said Dave Casey, District Ranger on the Pisgah Ranger District. "By increasing these fees we can continue to provide safe and well-maintained sites that are still a great value for our visitors. The fees collected stay on the Forest and help us continue a legacy of providing great places to explore and enjoy the Pisgah National Forest."

The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act of 2004 allows the Forest Service to keep 80-95 percent of fees collected to operate, maintain, and improve the recreation sites.

The proposed fee changes are:

Campgrounds

Rocky Bluff - increase from $8 to $15/night

Curtis Creek - increase from $5 to $10/night

Mortimer - increase from $10 to $20/night single site, and $20 to $40/night double site

Wolf Ford Horse Camp - new $10/night fee

Day Use Areas

Roan Mountain - increase from $3 to $5/vehicle or new $30 annual pass

Major Visitor Center

Cradle of Forestry in America Historic Site - increased array of special programs and events offered, including workshops and musical performances. Prices will range from $8 up to $40 per person, depending on event

For more information click here. To provide comments about this fee proposal for the RRAC to consider, please contact Logan Free at 828-257-4256, by email at NFsNCfeeproposals@fs.fed.us, or by mail at:
ATTN: Recreation Fee Proposals
160A Zillicoa Street
Asheville, NC 28801

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