Medford, OR – In late January, the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest asked to hear from the public about fee changes proposed across the Forest. These fee changes would enable the RRSNF to bring fees into better alignment with other local providers, and also provide for improved services and site amenities.
After receiving public comments and, in some cases, adjusting the fee proposal in response to those comments, the RRSNF presented the proposal to the Rogue-Umpqua and the Siskiyou (OR) Resource Advisory Committees (RACs) for their review and recommendation(s). Both RACs unanimously recommended approval of the proposals, and provided thoughtful suggestions relevant to the publics they represent. Their unanimous recommendations were then sent to the Regional Forester, Jim Peña, for his approval. The RRSNF has been informed that the Regional Forester has approved both fee proposals.
The RRSNF will begin implementation of fee changes in most campgrounds where fee changes were approved as soon as possible. Because these campgrounds are currently first come, first serve, there is no chance of this change affecting existing reservations.
Recreation cabin and lookout rentals will likely go into effect next year to honor reservations already made for this year.
New fees, such as those proposed in day use areas, will be published in a Federal Register Notice for six months before they are implemented, meaning that implementation will occur late next spring or early summer of 2019, when the recreation season begins.
In light of discussions with local groups and associated concerns relative to impacts associated with the Chetco Bar fire, the RRSNF will delay implementation of fee changes in those recreation sites located near Brookings, Oregon, until the 2020 season. Those sites are: Winchuck Group Site, Snow Camp Lookout, Little Redwood Campground, Ludlum House, and Packers Cabin.
A number of comments were received by the Forest Service regarding day use fees proposed at sites such as Rogue Gorge, Union Wayside, Natural Bridge, Quosatana, and Lobster Creek. In response to those comments and based on recommendations from the RAC members, the RRSNF will designate a selected number of ten minute parking spots at Day Use Areas. This will enable those visitors passing through and not intending to spend time at the day use site or along the interpretive trail to spend up to ten minutes without incurring a user fee.
A number of passes exist to help offset day use fees. The following passes are available to qualified users:
- Interagency Senior Passes (over 62);
- Interagency Annual Military Pass (free);
- Interagency Volunteer Pass (free to those who contribute 250 volunteer hours);
- Every Kid in a Park (free to 4th graders);
- Interagency Annual Pass; and
- The Interagency Access Pass (free).
Regional annual passes (Northwest Forest Pass) are also available for $30, and cover day use fees at Forest Service sites across Oregon and Washington.
Public lands here on the RRSNF and nationally are a valuable part of our legacy. Recreation fees are an investment in this legacy by those who are using the more highly developed recreation sites. By paying to use a recreation site, you become stewards of your public lands, helping to provide a better experience for you and others, and helping to connect people to public lands. The recreation opportunities that you help to provide for through fees attract tourism to local communities, provide jobs, and contribute to local economies. User fees are a way visitors can contribute to both improvements and daily upkeep.
Recreation fees are an important source of funding and a vital component to providing quality recreational facilities and services to visitors. The site fees provide a sustainable source of revenue that helps ensure that outdoor recreation opportunities remain available into the future. Most (80-95 percent) of the fees collected remain on the district where they are collected to maintain or improve recreation facilities and services. Recreation fee revenue helps provide on-site presence, clean-up of vandalism efforts and hazardous materials, and patrols to address illegal behavior.
It is important to note that the majority of recreation opportunities and sites on RRSNF-administered lands are funded through tax dollars and do not have additional fees.
Chamise Kramer, Public Affairs Specialist (541) 618-2051
Virginia Gibbons, Public Affairs Officer (541) 618-2113
Julie Martin, RRSNF Recreation Program Manager, (541) 618-2066