The U.S. Forest Service is proposing to change recreation fees at several sites on the Nantahala National Forest and the public is invited to provide input to proposed fees changes for 46 days that started on Aug.11.
The goal of these proposed changes are to establish a consistent pricing for developed recreation sites for the National Forests in North Carolina. In addition, many day use sites will now accept the suite of “America the Beautiful, the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands” (Interagency) passes. This provides extra value to holders of these passes.
Current pricing at many National 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.
These fee changes are only proposed. After public comment is received, the Forest Service will assess the comments and concerns and then present the fee proposals to the Southern Region Recreation Resource Advisory Committee (RRAC) in Fall 2017. This committee will provide recommendations on the fee proposals and the Regional Forester will make a decision on the proposals. The Recreation RAC is a citizen’s advisory committee that represents a broad array of recreation interests.
Proposed fee changes include increasing camping fees to $10, $15, or $20 a night depending on amenities. Day use sites such as picnic sites, trailheads, and swim sites would increase to $3 or $5 depending on the site. Shooting ranges would increase to $5.
“Public lands benefit every American, and recreation fee revenue helps protect natural resources and enhance recreation opportunities in our forests,” said Mike Wilkins, District Ranger on the Nantahala Ranger District.
“Increased fee collections would help to improve visitor experiences and enables the Forest Service to be more strategic in planning and developing a sustainable recreation program. The fees collected stay in that forest area and help us continue a legacy of providing high-quality recreation opportunities for the public to explore and enjoy on the Nantahala National Forest,” added Angela Gee, District Ranger on the Cheoah and Tusquitee Ranger Districts.
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 fee changes are:
Bristol Fields Horse Camp – increase from $5 to $8/site per night
Wine Springs Horse Camp – new $10/site per night fee
Cable Cove, Horse Cove – increase from $10 to $15/site per night
Hanging Dog – increase from $8 to $15/site per night
Jackrabbit, Tsali – increase from $15 to $20/site per night
Cheoah Point – increase from $15 to $20/site per night, RV sites increase from $20 to $25, and increase from $35 to $40/night for cabins
Rattler Ford Group Camp – increase from $50 to $75/site per night for 25 person sites
Appletree Group Camp – increase from $50 to $75/site per night for 25 person sites, and increase from $100 to $150/site per night for 50 person sites
McCall Cabin – new $200 per week fee
Day Use Areas
Dry Falls – new $3/vehicle per day or new $15 annual pass (useable at Dry Falls, Whiteside Mountain, and Whitewater Falls)
Whiteside Mountain, Whitewater Falls – increase from $2 to $3/vehicle per day or new $15 annual pass (useable at Dry Falls, Whiteside Mountain, and Whitewater Falls)
Jackrabbit Beach – increase from $3 to $5/vehicle per day fee, new $30 annual pass
Cheoah Point Beach – new $5/vehicle per day fee, new $30 annual pass
Panther Top, Dirty John, Moss Knob – increase $3 to $5/person per day, increase from $25 to $30 for annual pass, useable at each Nantahala NF range
Atoah – new $5/person per day fee, new $30 annual pass useable at each Nantahala NF range
Nantahala River Corridor – increase from $1 to $2/paddler per day or $10 annual paddler pass; and $0.45 to $0.60/paddler for outfitter and guides