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Re: Recreation Fees At Work

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avatar Recreation Fees At Work
August 03, 2009 01:08AM
Recreation Fees At Work

Lake Isabella , CA., July 31, 2009...On Saturday, July 25th, the Kern River Ranger District of the Sequoia National Forest held a field trip showcasing improvements made at Isabella Lake. Sites visited included Auxiliary Dam, Old Isabella Road, South Fork Recreation Area, and Camp 9, all of these authorized for fee collection under the Recreation Enhancement Act This act allows the Forest Service to reinvest 95% of all fees collected back into operations, maintenance, and improvements at these sites.

Facilities at all four sites were painted, new information signs installed, weeds and graffiti removed, and roads graded. New ADA compliant portable toilets were placed at Auxiliary, Old Isabella Road and South Fork Recreation Area and the water systems underwent major repairs. At Camp 9, 33 new fire rings were purchased and installed, a large group site was re-configured to make it more appealing, trees were planted, and a shade structure was installed. Repairs have been made to the public courtesy docks at Old Isabella, South Fork Recreation Area, and Camp 9 and all three are kept operational requiring constant adjustments as water levels raise and fall during the recreation season.

This year two Student Conservation Association (SCA) Interns, George Boone and Charleen Johnson Stoever, provided support for district recreation staff and technicians. These students talked to the group about feedback received from visitors, and their observations and suggestions for improving the recreation program. These students were hired through a grant offered through additional revenues received from the fee program, in this case reinvesting 100% of the fees collected.

Another objective for this field trip is the District’s effort to keep the community informed about these activities. Members of the public were given the opportunity to ask questions, share their thoughts and give feedback too. Past President of the Lake Isabella/Bodfish Property Owners Association Ron Benoit, said, "this is a major step to connect with the community in a positive way; the Forest Service is attempting to bring about transparency; the first steps have been taken; I will share what I’ve learned with others; the community can be a partner with the Forest Service".

Past President of Kern River Valley Revitalization (KRVR) and Convener of the Kern River Valley Public Lands Forum Chuck White stated "the Forest Service is making effective use of the collected fees and the sites are in very good condition". He pointed out that "campgrounds are an important asset of the tourism industry upon which the Kern River Valley depends so much".
avatar Re: Recreation Fees At Work
August 03, 2009 08:49AM
What fees do they collect there other than campground fees? The vast majority of people who enter Giant Sequoia NM do so by paying a fee to enter SEKI. Maybe there's some arrangement that shares a portion of their fees?

In any case, I've heard some of the NPS units that don't charge fees are a bit miffed. If a pass is purchased, supposedly the bulk of the pass price goes straight into the unit's general fund.
avatar Re: Recreation Fees At Work
August 03, 2009 11:35AM
From Inyo NF's web site (they were handing these out to campers a couple weeks ago)



Contacts: Nancy Upham (760) 873-2427

Bishop, CA (July 10, 2009)...This summer the Forest Service is actively seeking comments and feedback on a proposal to change the fees that are charged to recreate in Reds Meadow Valley. The changes are proposed to take effect in 2010.

In 2004, Congress passed the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act which allows the Forest Service to keep 95 percent of the fees collected at certain recreation sites and to use these funds locally to operate, maintain, and improve facilities and programs at the sites where the fees are collected.

For 30 years, the Inyo National Forest has charged a transportation fee to Reds Meadow recreationists to help pay for the costs of the mandatory shuttle system. This year Eastern Sierra Transit has begun operating the shuttle system, allowing the Forest Service the opportunity to look at how to use recreation fees to enhance facilities and visitor services in the Reds Meadow Valley. The Forest Service is proposing to change the current fee in order to most efficiently make improvements to the visitor amenities available in the Valley. It is important to note that the Reds Meadow/Devils Postpile Shuttle will remain mandatory for most visitors and that this proposed change will not affect the transportation fare visitors pay to ride the shuttle. The proposed fee change will only apply to the "exception vehicles" that are allowed to drive into Reds Meadow during shuttle operation, and it may apply to all visitors during the times of the season when the shuttle is not in operation (early June and after Labor Day.)

1.The existing fee is $7/adult and $4/child. The Forest Service is proposing to change the fee to $10 per vehicle for an Inyo Day Pass. In addition to the Day Pass, the proposal includes an Inyo 3-day pass for $20/vehicle and an Inyo Season Pass for $35/vehicle. All three passes will also be accepted and sold at the other Inyo National Forest day use fee sites: South Tufa in the Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area and Schulman Grove in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. The national Interagency Recreation Annual, Senior, and Access Passes may also be accepted.
"We recognize how important the Reds Meadow Valley is to our local community and to those who recreate in the Valley. This fee change will help us maintain the day use sites to the level and quality people have come to expect, and to make new additions that will improve the visitor experience," said Mike Schlafmann, Deputy District Ranger for the Mammoth and Mono Lake Ranger Districts.

This summer the Forest Service is actively soliciting feedback on this proposal from local residents, visitors to the Eastern Sierra, and other members of the general public who might have an interest in this proposal. To provide feedback, please send comments to Matt Peterson, Inyo National Forest, 351 Pacu Lane, Suite 200, Bishop, CA 93514; or by email to comments-inyo-fee-change@fs.fed.us; or drop them off in person at the address above or at any Inyo National Forest Visitor Center. To be most helpful, the Forest Service would like to receive comments by Labor Day of this year, which is September 7.

Under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act, fee change proposals in California are presented to a citizen’s advisory committee, called the California Recreation Resource Advisory Committee, or RRAC. Committee members represent a broad array of recreation interest groups to help ensure that the Forest Service is proposing reasonable and publicly acceptable recreation fees. Committee members help ensure that the Forest Service addresses public issues and concerns about recreation fees. The public is welcome to attend and comment at all advisory committee meetings. This proposal will be reviewed at some future RRAC meeting. Currently the next RRAC meeting is scheduled for September 16-17, and is planned to be held in the Eastern Sierra. The exact location and agenda of the meeting will be announced through local media and on the California RRAC website: http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/passes/rrac/

For more information, questions or comments about this fee change proposal, please contact Matt Peterson at 760-873-2494 or mbpeterson@fs.fed.us.
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