ALTURAS, Calif. — The Modoc National Forest is proposing to charge new and increased fees at 16 developed recreation sites. The majority will remain free.
Several day-use sites, overnight camping sites and other developed recreation sites offer services such as garbage, bathrooms and water, but are currently managed without user fees.
“These fees will support us in managing quality developed recreation sites to the standard visitors have come to expect,” said Forest Engineer Chris Bielecki. “The proposals represent a strategic balance to sustain essential services, while also embracing the Modoc niche of providing inexpensive, remote and uncrowded recreation opportunities.”
The proposed fees include:
- $75/night Patterson Guard Station Cabin
- $5/day Medicine Lake Day Use/Boat Launch
- $5/site Schonchin Spring Overflow Campground
- $15/site and $5/extra vehicle for all campgrounds offering drinking water:
- Stough Reservoir Campground
- Pepperdine Campground
- Pepperdine Equestrian Campground
- Cave Lake Campground
- East Creek Campground
- Howards Gulch Campground
- Willow Creek Campground
- Mill Creek Falls Campground
- Soup Springs Campground
- Medicine Lake Campgrounds
- Blue Lake Campground
The proposed changes will make campground fees more uniform and will enable the forest to better maintain the facilities. The specific sites were chosen based on the amenities they offer. Each site for which a $15 fee is proposed offers drinking water as well as other typical campground amenities. The operations and maintenance of these facilities, water systems in particular, is a significant cost which currently is not covered by fees at many sites.
In 2004, Congress passed the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (REA) which allows the Forest Service to retain funds collected at certain recreation sites and use these funds locally to operate, maintain and improve the sites. These additional funds along with 95 percent of the revenue from recreation fees remains on the forests to operate, maintain and improve facilities. So, raising the revenue collected through recreation fees would help improve infrastructure at campgrounds and day-use sites, reduce the backlog of deferred maintenance and hire additional recreation staff during the season of operation. The resources derived through collection of fees helps provide quality recreation opportunities that meet the modern expectations of visitors and creates a more financial sustainable developed recreation program for the benefit of future generations.
Before being enacted, all proposed fee changes will go through a public comment phase. This phase is scheduled to take place in the spring of 2021, when instructions for offering comments will be provided.