The U.S. Forest Service, an agency under the jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture, is proposing to change recreation fees at two sites in the Uwharrie National Forest. The public has been invited to provide input to these proposed fee changes for 60 days from June 23 until August 22.
According to the Forest Service, the goal of these changes is to improve the visitor experience through site upgrades paid for by the collected fees.
At this time, the fees are only a proposal. After public comment is received, the Forest Service will assess the comment and concerns of the public and then present the fee proposals to the Southern Region Recreation Resource Advisory Committee (RRAC) at a future date.
“The Uwharrie National Forest provides a variety of recreational opportunities to visitors, and we are continually working on ways to enhance the visitor experience,” said the Forest Service in a press release. “Collections from recreation fees are reinvested at the field level and used to address maintenance needs. The proposed recreation fees will help us provide additional recreation opportunities and support our goal to provide safe, well-maintained, and sustainable recreation opportunities for the public to enjoy.”
The proposed fee changes the Forest Service seeks comments on are the following:
** Yates Place Camp – new $50 group site fee per night with a group size of 50 people.
** Wood Run Mountain Bike Trail System – new $5/rider per day fee or a new $30 annual pass (these fees would only apply to mountain bike use)
Additionally, the following fee proposals went through the required participation process in 2019 and are awaiting review by the Southern Region Recreation Resource Advisory Committee:
** Badin Lake OHV Trail System – increase from $5 to $15/trail vehicle per day, and increase from $30 to $60 for the optional annual pass (As proposed, this fee would be phased in over a two-year period).
** Yates Place Camp – new $10 per night fee for single 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 these sites. The resources derived from the collection of frees help provide quality recreation opportunities that meet the modern expectation of visitors and create a more financially sustainable developed recreation program for the benefit of future generations.
Under REA, all new fees and any fee changes must be proposed to and approved by a citizen’s advisory committee. Committee members represent a broad array of recreation interest groups to help ensure that the Forest Service is proposing reasonable and publicly acceptable new fees and fee changes.
The public is invited to comment on the proposed fee changes by August 22. For more information, please visit www.fs.usda.gov/goto/nfsnc/recfeeproposals. To provide comments about this fee proposal for the RRAC to consider, please contact Logan Free at (828) 257-4256, by email at SM.FS.NFsNCfees.usda.gov, or by mail at:
ATTN: Recreation Fee Proposals
160A Zillicoa Street
Asheville, NC 28801