Uwharrie Fee Revisions Proposed (Comment thru 5/31/19)

#1
ASHEVILLE — The U.S. Forest Service is proposing to change recreation fees at three areas on the Uwharrie National Forest and has opened an official comment period from April 22-May 31.

The goal of the changes is to establish a consistent fee approach for the National Forests in North Carolina and to improve visitor experiences through site upgrades paid for by the collected fees.

Current prices at many forest sites have remained static for over a decade and have not kept pace with other recreation sites with similar services and amenities. In addition, many sites have received various improvements and upgrades.

“Collections from fees stay at the local level to pay for future and backlog maintenance and improvements on existing trails as well as new recreation opportunities,” said Michael Spisak, district ranger on the Uwharrie Ranger District.

“Increased fees will help us to meet our goal of providing safe, well-maintained and sustainable recreation for the public to enjoy.”

These fee changes are only proposed. After public comments are received, the Forest will assess the comments and concerns and then present the fee proposals to the Southern Region Recreation Resource Advisory Committee (RRAC).

The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act of 2004 allows the Forest Service to keep 80-95 percent of fees collected to operate, maintain and improve the recreation sites.
The proposed changes affect camping fees at Yates Place; day use fees at Kings Point; and Badin Lake OHV trail system.

https://www.courier-tribune.com/new...hrOsEaaNEp90kABEopHvBnZ18gRo59ikjduCrHNnhwbRI
 
#4
As with most government fees, I agree with them in principal. Now if those fees are actually used for what they say they will be used for, it would be a miracle....
Right! I know there is a lot of volunteer work that goes on there. What is they money needed for? If they need to hire more admins, Im not okay.

Public comments were taken for Cullowhee (also NC) too, with resistance to closure, and it is still shut down.
 
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#5
Wonder what the actual change in income will be, especially with the OHV fee.
When the daily fee takes 6 days to equal a year as in current ($5x6=$30) vs. 4 days ($15x4=$60), how many folks will shift to the annual pass and what effect will it have on total collected?

If I'm there for a long weekend - potentially 4 days, Fri-Mon - I might buy the annual so my next trip, even for a day, is no extra income that year. I suspect they don't know the answer to that either as daily fees collected at multiple points probably have less data collected unless they've changed from when they first started collecting.

Agree on the questions about fees going to stated purpose especially when you blend several different types of fees, camping, day use and OHV.

Anyway, there is an open comment period...if you don't comment, you don't have standing to challenge (or bitch about it) later.
 
#6
Not really adding to the convo but I remember when you just put your money in a box on a stump at the trail head... Considering the area I always wondered if they ever saw any of that money... course it was way less crowded then.
 
#7
Not really adding to the convo but I remember when you just put your money in a box on a stump at the trail head... Considering the area I always wondered if they ever saw any of that money... course it was way less crowded then.
I remember when... circa 1989... there were no fees and no designated trails.
I am glad for them to go up. I agree whole heartedly that the fees paid should be used locally. And i am equally hoping that increased fees will help users of all varieties understand that it takes resources to have these opportunities and therefore... they should not trash the trail system.
 
#8
Not really adding to the convo but I remember when you just put your money in a box on a stump at the trail head... Considering the area I always wondered if they ever saw any of that money... course it was way less crowded then.
Part of the conversation at the time they started the current pass system was that those boxes were routinely getting cleaned out. At one time, there were metal box with a slot anchored and they had someone(s) cutting the boxes with a torch to clean them out. I know they had a pretty good idea who they thought it was but could never get enough evidence to arrest.

They did wind up being surprised by how many users there were when they got a handle on the fee/sticker system. When initiated, they ran out of stickers within the first few months as they hadn't gotten enough printed.

Cape Hatteras' fees have provided some specific projects which NPS has identified as being funded by user fees. I think to make the connection that its REALLY being used in the forest, they'll need to come up with a couple of high visibility projects with benefit to the users instead of co-mingling into maintenance and repair funds.
 

Dave

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#10
Right! I know there is a lot of volunteer work that goes on there. What is they money needed for? If they need to hire more admins, Im not okay.

Public comments were taken for Cullowhee (also NC) too, with resistance to closure, and it is still shut down.
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