Over the last two years those managers completed a Recreation Facilities Analysis (RFA) to determine how the forest can maintain a sustainable program during severely declining budgets, while still providing the high quality recreation experiences forest visitor’s desire.
Three options were evaluated during the RFA process: 1) reduce services; 2) manage fee sites using a concessionaire; and 3) raise fees at selected developed sites. The Forest received many comments from the public about the different proposals listed above. Many of those that commented were concerned with use of concessionaires or with limiting services and closing sites.
Considering these public comments and the current funding levels available for recreation sites, the Forests have selected the alternative to increase fees at developed campgrounds and cabin/lookout rental sites. Recreation managers at the Nez Perce–Clearwater National Forests are interested in hearing your comments on a proposal to increase fees at 29 campgrounds and cabin/lookout rentals.
Forest recreation opportunities are found in three large geographical zones: the North Zone, including the Palouse and North Fork Ranger Districts; the Central Zone, containing the Lochsa, Moose Creek (Selway River), and Powell Ranger Districts; and the South Zone which covers the Red River, Elk City, South Fork of the Clearwater and Salmon River Districts. Proposed fee increases are as follows:
Aquarius, Hidden Creek, Kelly Forks, Noe Creek and Washington Creek Campgrounds currently charge $7 per night which will increase to $10 per night.
Laird Park and Little Boulder Campgrounds currently charge $8 per night which will increase to $12 per night.
Elk River Campground which has electrical hook-ups will go from $15 per night to $20 per night.
Bald Mountain Lookout rental is proposed to increase from $35 to $45 per night.
Kelly Forks Cabin is proposed to increase from $55 per night to $65 per night.
Liz Butte Cabin is proposed to increase from $20 per night to $40 per night.
Apgar, Wild Goose, Wilderness Gateway, Wendover, White Sand, Whitehouse and O’Hara Bar Campgrounds currently charge $8 per night which will increase to $15 per night.
Jerry Johnson Campground is currently charging $10 per night which is proposed to increase to $15 per night.
Powell Campground which also has electrical hook-ups will increase from $15 per night to $20 per night.
Glade Creek Group Campground will increase from $35 per night for five camping spots to $50 per night.
Lolo Pass currently has a special event fee for winter users. Day passes will remain $5 per day, but season passes are proposed to increase from $25 to $35 dollars per season.
Castle Butte Lookout is proposed to increase from $30 per night to $40 per night.
Castle Creek and South Fork Campground are proposed to increase from $8 per night to $12 per night.
Fish Creek Campground currently charges $6 per night which will increase to $12.
Spring Bar Campground on the Salmon River will increase from $10 per night to $12 per night.
Red River Campground is proposed to increase from $6 per night to $12 per night.
Jerry Walker Cabin located near the Elk City is proposed to increase from $20 per night to $40 per night.
The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests have made numerous improvements to these sites such as repaving roadways, replacing rest rooms, replacing tables and campfire rings and improving water systems. These changes were made to insure that the public needs were being met and that facilities meet health and safety standards.
“We recognize how important these sites are to our local communities and those who use the sites. These fee increases will help us maintain the sites to the level and quality people have come to expect,” said Carol Hennessey recreation program manager.
In 2004, Congress passed the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act which allows the Forest Service to keep 95 percent of fees collected at certain recreation sites and use these funds locally to operate and maintain and improve these sites.
All fee change proposals will be presented before a citizen’s advisory committee, called the BLM Recreation Resource Advisory Council, or BLM RecRAC. Committee members represent a broad array of interest groups to help ensure that the Forest Service is proposing reasonable and publicly acceptable fee changes. Committee members will help ensure that the Forest Service addresses public issues and concerns about recreation fees.
Some of the campsites and group sites listed require reservations. Please be sure to check the Nez Perce–Clearwater website for detailed information about all developed recreation sites at http://www.fs.usda.gov/nezperceclearwater. People wanting reserve sites must make reservations via toll free number (877) 444-6777 or online at http://www.recreation.gov/.
For more information, questions or comments about any of these fee change proposals, please contact Diana Jones at (208)476-8239. You can mail comments to: Diana Jones, RFA Coordinator, Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests, 12730 U.S. Highway 12, Orofino, ID 83544 or email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.