Access advocacy group plans May 25 event to mark the end of the $10 fee
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — There aren’t too many places in the world where you can drive up to the summit of a 14,000-foot peak, but one of them is right here in Colorado, where Mt. Evans road rises to the crest of the Rocky Mountains just a short way west of Denver.
Court-ordered settlement ends hiking and parking fees at Mt. Lemmon Recreation Area in Arizona
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Hikers in Arizona will get a break from pesky Forest Service recreation fees this summer, as a federal judge last week approved a settlement that ensures free access to the trails and backcountry of the Mt. Lemmon Recreation Area, near Tuscon.
Hikers claim adventure pass program is illegal under federal law and pursuant to an earlier court ruling
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Public land activists continue to try and chip away at various Forest Service fees, most recently with a lawsuit challenging the agency’s Southern California adventure pass.
In September, a similar lawsuit was filed challenging the agency’s practice of letting private companies that operate Forest Service campgrounds charge fees for adjacent day-use areas.
Four hikers have gone to court claiming the pass program is not authorized under federal laws that set strict limits on where and when fees can be charged for use of public lands. The adventure pass program requires forest visitors to display a pass on their vehicle when they park on the Angeles, Cleveland, Los Padres, and San Bernardino National Forests, even when they do not use any developed facilities.
Forest Service will only charge fees at areas with developed amenities
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Just in time for the busy summer season in the mountains, the U.S. Forest Service has made some changes to the way it administers fees at the popular Mt. Evans area.
Instead of charging to visit the overall area, the agency will charge fees at three specific developed locations around Mt. Evans, including the summit area, the Mt. Goliath natural area and at Summit Lake Park, under a revenue-sharing agreement with Denver.
The deal means hikers who just want to visit the backcountry won’t have to pay, but the Forest Service will still be able to charge for use of developed recreation amenities in the most intensely used parts of the Mt. Evans area, where fees have helped pay for some much-needed maintenance and hardening of trails. Continue reading “Forest Service cuts pay-to-play fees at Mt. Evans”→
Revised plan for Green Mountain Reservoir, Cataract Lake area gets provisional OK from advisory group
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — This land is once again your land for free, at least at the popular Cataract Lake trailhead in northern Summit County, where the U.S. Forest Service has been charging a feee to park and hike since the late 1990s.
But last week, a citizen advisory committee voted to a approve a revised recreation plan for the larger Green Mountain Reservoir area, including Cataract Lake, and the new plan ends the unpopular Cataract Lake parking and hiking fee, as well as day use fees at Green Mountain Reservoir. The new plan also reconfigures camping fees to a basic per-site charge, with extra fees for extra cars.
The San Francisco-based Appeals Court found the U.S. Forest Service at fault for charging parking fees to people who go for a hike without using amenities such as picnic tables, trashcans and bathrooms located nearby, or who camp in dispersed, undeveloped parts of a National Forest.
If the ruling stands, it will be binding in nine western states and sets a nationwide legal precedent. The ruling doesn’t cover Colorado, but the fee program at Mt. Evans is currently being challenged in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals — which does cover Colorado, and the recent ruling out of San Francisco could be a factor in that case. Continue reading “Forest Service recreation fees take another legal hit”→
SUMMIT COUNTY — Even though a federal judge slapped the Forest Service on the wrist for its fee program in the Red Rock Country around Sedona, Arizona, the agency said earlier this month it will continue to manage the roads and trails as a fee area.
At issue in the case was whether or not the agency was charging for access to undeveloped areas in violation of the law that authorizes fees only for areas with specific facilities. Sedona resident Jim Smith fought a ticket he received for parking without paying the fee at the Vultee Arch Trailhead — several miles from the nearest toilets and trash cans. Continue reading “Forest Service tries to dance around rec fee issues”→