Recreation managers at the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests have struggled during the past 10 years to keep campgrounds, cabins and lookout rentals open without raising fees during a time when budgets have significantly declined resulting in staff and service reductions. A study of this problem evaluated three options: reduce services, or manage fee sites using a concessionaire, or raise fees at selected developed sites. In light of public comments already taken, the forests are moving to increase fees at developed campgrounds and cabin/lookout rental sites.
Recreation managers at the Nez Perce–Clearwater National Forests are taking public comments on a proposal to increase fees at 29 campgrounds and cabin/lookout rentals in three zones: the North Zone, including the Palouse and North Fork Ranger districts; the Central Zone, including the Lochsa, Moose Creek (Selway River), and Powell Ranger districts; and the South Zone including the Red River, Elk City, South Fork of the Clearwater and Salmon River districts.
A public forum to hear comments will be held at Thursday, March 27 in Coeur d'Alene. The regular Resource Advisory Council meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the BLM Coeur d’Alene District Office located at 3815 Schreiber Way in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, with the Recreation RAC to hear comments on the fee increases at 11:00 a.m.
Proposed fee increases are as follows:
• Aquarius, Hidden Creek, Kelly Forks, Noe Creek and Washington Creek Campgrounds currently charge $7 per night, which would increase to $10 per night.
• Laird Park and Little Boulder Campgrounds currently charge $8 per night, which would increase to $12 per night.
• Elk River Campground, which has electrical hook-ups, would go from $15 per night to $20 per night.
• Bald Mountain Lookout rental is proposed to increase from $35 to $45 per night.
• Kelly Forks Cabin is proposed to increase from $55 per night to $65 per night.
• Liz Butte Cabin is proposed to increase from $20 per night to $40 per night.
• Apgar, Wild Goose, Wilderness Gateway, Wendover, White Sand, Whitehouse and O’Hara Bar Campgrounds currently charge $8 per night, which would increase to $15 per night.
• Jerry Johnson Campground is currently charging $10 per night, which is proposed to increase to $15 per night.
• Powell Campground, which also has electrical hook-ups, would increase from $15 per night to $20 per night.
• Glade Creek Group Campground would increase from $35 per night for five camping spots to $50 per night.
• Lolo Pass currently has a special event fee for winter users. Day passes would remain $5 per day, but season passes are proposed to increase from $25 to $35 dollars per season.
• Castle Butte Lookout is proposed to increase from $30 per night to $40 per night.
• Castle Creek and South Fork Campground are proposed to increase from $8 per night to $12 per night.
• Fish Creek Campground currently charges $6 per night, which would increase to $12.
• Spring Bar Campground on the Salmon River would increase from $10 per night to $12 per night.
• Red River Campground is proposed to increase from $6 per night to $12 per night.
• Jerry Walker Cabin located near the Elk City is proposed to increase from $20 per night to $40 per night.
The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests have made numerous improvements to these sites such as repaving roadways, replacing rest rooms, replacing tables and campfire rings and improving water systems. These changes were made to insure that facilities meet health and safety standards.
“We recognize how important these sites are to our local communities and those who use the sites. These fee increases will help us maintain the sites to the level and quality people have come to expect,” recreation program manager Carol Hennessey said.
In 2004, Congress passed the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act which allows the Forest Service to keep 95 percent of fees collected at certain recreation sites and use these funds locally to operate and maintain and improve these sites.
For information or comments, contact Diana Jones at 476-8239. Mail comments to: Diana Jones, RFA Coordinator, Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests, 12730 U.S. Highway 12, Orofino, ID 83544, firstname.lastname@example.org.