Lolo National Forest asks for public input on recreation fee proposal

August 7, 2019

Lolo National Forest asks for public input on recreation fee proposal

MISSOULA,  MT. - The Lolo National Forest is asking for public feedback on a proposal to increase fees at several campgrounds, cabin and lookout rentals, and group sites, and proposes to implement a new fee at seven campgrounds, three new recreation rentals and four day-use sites (see attached table). The three recreation rentals nominated for inclusion in the Forest’s popular rental recreation program include Big Hole and Driveway Peak Lookouts, and the East Cottage at the Savenac Historic Tree Nursery. Fees paid by users help to ensure that the Forest can continue to improve the sites and services for the future.

The proposal is part of a Region-wide effort to support the Lolo National Forest’s ability to provide high-levels of service to visitors at popular recreation sites; additionally, surrounding Forests have already asked for public feedback on similar proposals over the last two years.

"Locals and travelers visit this area to connect with nature and get outside with friends and family,” said Carolyn Upton, Lolo National Forest Supervisor. “The Lolo National Forest is committed to providing high-quality recreation opportunities for the public. To make good on that commitment, we need to continue to invest in and improve these places that keep people connected to the outdoors.”

The Lolo National Forest currently retains 95 percent of recreation fees collected from these sites and reinvests the money into the maintenance, operations, improvement, and long-term stewardship of these areas. Proposed fees are in line with current market pricing and the changes would help the Forest achieve more consistent pricing for fee sites with similar levels of amenities and capacity. An analysis of surrounding recreation sites with similar amenities indicates that the proposed fees are comparable and reasonable.

The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (2004) allows the Forest Service to retain 95 percent of fees collected at certain recreation sites and use these funds locally to operate, maintain and improve these sites. Once public involvement is complete, this proposal and public comments will be presented to the appropriate Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) prior to a final decision by the Regional Forester and implementation. 

Additionally, a five dollar extra vehicle fee is also being considered for all 23 single-site campgrounds. Extra vehicle fees will be assessed, per vehicle, for more than two non-trailered vehicles per site. All of the cabin/lookout rentals and group day-use sites are, or will be, available for advance reservations through www.recreation.gov. Currently, all campgrounds are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

How to Comment:

The public is encouraged to submit feedback from August 7 -September 30, 2019. Feedback may be submitted the following ways:

  • Submit Electronic Comments: visit www.fs.usda.gov/goto/r1recfee and use the interactive website to submit comments;
  • Email Comments: email comments to r1recfee@fs.fed.us;
  • Mail comments: Lolo National Forest, Attn. Rec Fee Proposal, 24 Fort Missoula Road, Missoula, MT 59804.

For more information please contact Kate Jerman, acting Public Affairs Officer, Lolo National Forest at (406) 329-1024. 

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/lolo/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD647500