Gifford Pinchot National Forest Seeks Input on Developed Recreation Sites

Contact(s): Sue Ripp

The Gifford Pinchot National Forest (GPNF) is conducting a forest-wide analysis of 210 developed recreation sites, including campgrounds, picnic sites, visitor information sites, trailheads, and cabin/lookout rentals. The analysis, information gathered from the public, and subsequent recommendations will result in changes to how some sites are managed, what types of changes might be possible, and what investment priorities will be in coming years.

Social, financial, and environmental factors at each site were used to identify a site’s future sustainability. Initial results revealed over $1.7 million would be needed annually to adequately operate and maintain these sites at their current level, which results in a funding shortfall of over $700,000.  In addition, backlog maintenance on these sites is over $10 million, far above Forest Service funding capacity.

“Ultimately we need to maintain an effective, sustainable recreation program within our budget realities,” said Gifford Pinchot National Forest Supervisor Gina Owens. “We want our recreation sites to address public demand, provide a positive environment for public use and enjoyment, and meet our health and safety standards. To do that, we must explore creative options and develop community-based solutions. Not changing our approach will lead to further decline of recreation sites and changes in service levels.”

The GPNF is asking the public for different perspectives and ideas about opportunities to work together to address how sites could be managed differently and meet common goals. Useful information could include the following:

  • What specific developed recreation sites are important to you and why?
  • Do you prefer a primitive or developed recreation experience?
  • What services are important to you at developed recreation sites (signage, parking, drinking water, trash, restrooms, picnic tables, camp hosts, other)?
  • Would you be willing to pay more at current developed recreation fee sites for better maintained and improved services, or pay a fee for services at some sites where a fee is not currently charged?
  • Would you be in favor of partners or commercial permittees operating developed recreation sites as a way to enhance the ability to maintain sites?
  • What specific ideas do you have for sharing stewardship at sites that are important to you?

Additional developed recreation site information, a questionnaire (please complete by June 30, 2018), and maps can be found at:

In future years, the forest will look at the sustainability of our existing trail system, dispersed recreation and other uses, and other related recreation opportunities.