Proposed Recreation Fees Information and Comment Page

Man and woman sit at picnic table in forest

We are accepting comments on proposed changes to the management of the developed recreation program. These changes will impact campgrounds and day-use sites on the Carson, Gila, Lincoln, and Santa Fe National Forests, and the Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands. Comment period ends September 30, 2021.

Proposed changes include new, increased, and decreased fees at recreation sites as well as the adoption of the Enchantment Pass.

These changes will help improve and maintain recreation facilities at National Forests in New Mexico. Recreation facilities’ maintenance and improvement has become increasingly expensive due to aging facilities, increases in visitation and limited resources. The recreation fees charged at Forest Service managed sites contribute to the stewardship of these special places.

Ways to comment

  • Use the Interactive Map 
    • Note: This site is best experienced in a Firefox or Chrome browser.
    • View Map
  • Comment cards are available at your local Forest Service Office
    • By mail to:
          Forest Service Southwestern Regional Office,
          Attention: Ryan Means
          333 Broadway SE 
          Albuquerque, NM 87102
    • By email to:
    • By phone to:
      • Ryan Means, Regional Recreation Fee Program Manager (505) 257-5988

Interactive Map

How to Effectively Comment Using the Interactive Map

Input you provide during the comment period will be used to determine public support for a fee change at USDA Forest Service managed recreation sites. The information you provide, in the form of public comment, will be considered during the development of each national forest’s final recreation fee proposal. Please note that all comments, names, and addresses become part of the public record and are subject to Freedom of Information Act requests, except for proprietary documents and information.

  • Comments should be clear and relevant to the recreation sites where a proposed fee change is under consideration - please organize your comments so your input is understood by management.
  • Input which is solution-oriented and provides specific examples will be most effective.
  • Comments which address a fee change at a specific developed recreation site are particularly useful for the final proposal development process.
  • A comment is not a “vote.” Duplicate comments do not carry more weight than individual comments. The substantive content of each comment will have a bigger impact than the quantity of similar or identical comments.

Consider these questions in developing your comments:

  • Do you recommend a different fee change at a site? If so, please state why.
  • How, specifically, do you disagree with the changes to recreation fees under consideration?
  • What specifically would you change about a recreation fee proposal and why?

How to Use the Interactive Map

  • Click on the Home button to view all the developed recreation sites under consideration for a fee change. At the top of the list you will see the options to comment on the Enchantment Pass or leave a general comment specific to a national forest, followed by all developed recreation sites under consideration for recreation fee changes.
  • Use the plus / minus buttons to control the level of zoom in your current view. You can click and drag on the map to pan around to different areas. If you toggle the “Filter List by Map” slide button in the upper right corner, the list on the right will only display recreation sites currently displayed on your map.
  • Select a site by clicking the icon on the map, or by selecting the site from the list on the right.
  • Click the green comment button to open the comment form. Leave your comment in the provided box.

Forests contacts

Carson National Forest

Eric Garner, Carson National Forest Recreation Program Manager

Phone: (575) 758-6310

Cibola National Forest

Jessica Dunn, Cibola National Forest Recreation Program Manager

Phone: (505) 346-3851

Gila National Forest

Christa Osborn, Gila National Forest Recreation Program Manager

Phone: (575) 388-8421

Lincoln National Forest

La Tasha Wauneka, Lincoln National Forest Recreation Program Manager

Phone: (575) 682-5320

Santa Fe National Forest

Jeremy Golston, Santa Fe National Forest Recreation Program Manager

Phone: (505) 438-5375

FAQs and Sites Under Consideration

Why get involved?

  • We encourage the public to get involved in this process because public support is a crucial part of the fee establishment process.

Why are fees changing?

  • An increase in forest the number of visitors has impacted recreation sites. Fees are changing because the cost of maintenance and improvements to these sites exceeds the revenues generated from recreation fees and congressionally-appropriated dollars.

Where do recreation fees go?

  • Local fee retention – Since 2004 local Forest Units have the authority to retain 95% of the revenue generated at recreation sites where a fee is charged. This source of funds is critical to effectively address maintenance and operations needs at campgrounds and developed day use areas.
  • Recreation fee revenue has been used on projects that improve the visitor experience, such as: restroom upgrades, trail repairs and improvements, campground improvements, historic structure enhancements, education and visitor interpretation programs, on-site accessibility improvements, trash & graffiti removal, Forest Service presence to discourage illegal activity, vandalism repairs and hazard tree removal. Our annual reports details how funds have been used.

How are recreation fees set?

  • The public has a say - the Forest Service engages in an intensive public involvement process for every fee change including new fees, fee increases and decreases and fee eliminations. This public involvement process includes a Federal Advisory Committee review.
  • An analysis is used help units determine the correct price range for facilities like campgrounds and day use sites. This tool has a point system for available amenities and shows an appropriate fee range to include in a fee proposal. Also included is an analysis of other public and private developed recreation site providers.

Why change recreation fees at developed recreation sites?

  • For years, the cost of managing our recreation sites has increased, yet there has been a steady decline in our budget. Our visitation continues to increase, which requires added maintenance.
  • To effectively provide high-quality outdoor recreation opportunities. The Forest Service uses an analysis process to focus on providing and improving recreation facilities and services that the public wants. This process involves the public in looking at options for sustaining recreation facilities and ensures funds are spent wisely.

Fee vs. Free Recreation Sites

  • Some recreation sites offer limited amenities and visitors services and are free of charge. Other sites charge recreation fees, in exchange, these recreation areas offer visitor services and amenities such as restroom facilities, trash collection, visitor security and interpretive services.

What is the Enchantment Pass?

  • A convenient payment option for unlimited use, during the season of operation, of developed day use fee sites throughout the Forests in New Mexico (Gila, Carson, Lincoln, Cibola, and Santa Fe). A proposed fee of $40 for an annual pass and $5 for a daily pass sold through USFS offices, vendors, and online.

Lincoln National Forest Recreation Sites Under Consideration

Smokey Bear Ranger District

Recreation Site Site Type Current Fee Proposed Fee
Oak Grove Campground Camping $6 per vehicle $10 per vehicle
South Fork Campground Camping $10 per vehicle $20 per site
$5 per extra vehicle
Three Rivers Campground Camping $6 per vehicle $15 per vehicle
Sam Tobias Group Campground Camping $60: 1-60 people
$80: 60-80 people
$100: 80+ people
$125 per site
Cedar Creek Group Picnic Shelter Group Day Use $25 (40 people) $40 (40 people)
Cedar Creek Picnic Day Use $0 $5
Schoolhouse Picnic Day Use $0 $5

Sacramento Ranger District

Recreation Site Site Type Current Fee Proposed Fee
Trestle Recreation Area Day Use $0 $5
Aspen Group Campground Camping $95: for 1-50 people
$120: 50+ people
Black Bear Group Campground Camping $95: 1-50 people
$120: 50+ people
Slide Group Campground Camping $95 1-50 people
$120 50+ people
Lower Fir Group Campground Camping $95: 1-50 people
$120: 50+ people

Guadalupe Ranger District

Recreation Site Site Type Current Fee Proposed Fee
Sitting Bull Falls Day Use $5 per car
$10 per bus
$10 per car
$25 per bus
(15+ passenger van)
Sitting Bull Falls Group Picnic Area Group Day Use $0 $50
(25 people)