Gate fees in the country’s favorite national parks aren’t the only places where people may be asked to dig a little deeper into their pockets for the chance to play outside.
According to the Missoulian, over the next couple of months, forests in the U.S. Forest Service’s Northern Region will be rolling out their tentative plans to increase fees on campgrounds, cabins and lookout towers as the agency looks for ways to pay for the upkeep of its popular infrastructure.
The Flathead and Bitterroot national forests have already released their proposals for public comment. Idaho’s Panhandle and the Helena-Lewis and Clark forests are close to offering their plans to the public. Others will follow soon.
Earlier this week, the National Park Service announced its own proposal to more than double the peak-season entrance fees to the country’s busiest national parks, including Glacier and Yellowstone. Currently national park entry fees range between $25 to $30 per vehicle. Under the new rates, the fees would more than double to $70 during the five-month-long peak season.
Jeff Ward, the Forest Service Northern Region’s recreation program manager, said the process to raise the fees will allow for more consistency from one forest to the next and help the agency pay for maintaining and improving the sites into the future.
“The timing of it, considering the announcement from the National Park Service, has raised a lot of attention,” Ward said. “We had no idea that was coming, but I understand why they’ve done that. They have a lot of infrastructure maintenance backlog. We’re dealing with that too.”
This will be the first time that fees have been raised on most of the campgrounds and cabins in 20 years.
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