Proposed fee changes at some recreation areas

Three rec areas involved in the fee increase.

The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest is interested in hearing your comments on a proposal to begin charging fees at some recreation sites and increase fees at some existing overnight fee sites on the Forest.

Most, 80–95 percent, of the revenue collected at recreation fee sites remains on the Forest to operate, maintain and improve the facilities of the recreation program.  Examples include: trash pickup, septic and toilet pumping, painting, cleaning, address the backlog of deferred maintenance, conduct patrols, and maintain highly used trails, shelters and campsites.

Fees are proposed based on the level of amenities and services provided, cost of operations and maintenance and market assessment.

The Chequamegon-Nicolet’s proposal includes; increasing overnight fees at 45 of the 50 developed campgrounds and a new fee that would make the Franklin Lake Caretakers cabin available for nightly rentals. The proposal would also increase the cost of the Forest Annual Pass from $20 to $30 and adds nine day use areas as standard amenity recreation fees. 

Since 2015, the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest has temporarily closed and/or reduced services at roughly 11 percent of the Forest’s recreation areas. This reduction has been necessary to balance the recreation budget given the increasing operational costs and the decreasing number of visitors during the last few years. 

Of these, seven campgrounds and eight day use sites are included in the fee proposal. The Forest is continuing to evaluate the viability of these recreation areas, if they are determined to be viable and are reopened, they will be reopened with the proposed fee increase and full services will be restored.

A complete list of proposed fee areas can be found here. 


As of June 30, 2017, comments are being accepted on the proposed fees. 

Please send your comments to:
Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest
Recreation Fee Proposals
500 Hanson Lake Road
Rhinelander, WI 54501

Comments can also be given though: 

Comments will be taken through September 5, 2017.

All comments will be reviewed by the Forest, those found to be substantive will be evaluated further and considered in this proposal.   

These fee proposals are expected to be presented before the Eastern Region Recreation Resource Advisory Committee (RRAC) in the fall of 2017. Committee members represent a broad array of recreation interest groups to help ensure that the Forest Service is proposing reasonable and publicly acceptable fee changes.  The exact meeting time, location and agenda will be announced and the public is welcome to attend.  If the fee proposals are approved by the Regional Forester, fee increases will be implemented in the spring of 2018. 

In 2004, Congress passed the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act which allows the Forest Service to retain funds collected at certain recreation sites and use these funds locally to operate and maintain and improve these sites. Before the Forest Service received the authority to retain funds locally, all fees collected by the Forest Service went to the national treasury. 

For a complete listing of recreation sites on the CNNF please visit our recreation page.

For more information, questions or comments about any of these fee proposals contact Hilary Markin, Public Affairs Officer at (715) 362-1354.