2019 Proposed Recreation Fee Changes

The Shawnee National Forest (NF) collected comments on this proposal from
Aug. 15 to Dec. 26, 2019.  The initial comment period for this proposal has ended.

Bell Smith Springs trail headThe proposal involves charging new fees at some recreation sites and increasing the overnight fee at one campground. The proposal would enable the Shawnee NF to improve facilities and services at these sites and create prices consistent with comparable facilities on public and private lands. Fees are proposed based on the level of amenities and services provided, cost of operations and maintenance, and market assessment. 

The Shawnee NF is spread across eleven counties of southern Illinois and has more than 100 outdoor recreation sites which include campgrounds, picnic areas, boat ramps, swimming areas, trailheads, and other sites. The last increase of recreation fees in the Shawnee NF was in 2009.

Under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act of 2004 (FLREA), 95% of the fees collected at recreation fee sites remain on the Forest to operate, maintain, and improve those fee sites. Examples include trash pickup, septic and toilet pumping, painting, cleaning, addressing the backlog of deferred maintenance and needed repairs, and maintaining highly used trails, shelters and campsites affiliated with the fee sites. Revenue from the fee sites is not redirected to non-fee sites on the Forest or to any other program.

Proposed Recreation Fee Change Locator Map


What’s Being Proposed

The Shawnee’s proposal includes instituting a standard amenity recreation fee of $5 per vehicle at six day-use sites:

  • Garden of the Gods Recreation Area - Observation trail
  • Pounds Hollow Beach
  • Johnson Creek Boat Launch
  • Pomona Boat Launch
  • Little Grand Canyon Trailhead
  • Bell Smith Springs Trailhead

In addition, the Forest proposes to raise the overnight fee at Pine Ridge Campground at Pounds Hollow for the sites that now have electric hookups.  The electric sites would increase to $15 per night, while the non-electric sites would remain $10 per night.

campsite at Pounds Hollow Campground

The Forest also proposes to create a Shawnee National Forest Annual Pass which will allow access to all day-use fee sites for a calendar year.  The proposed cost of this pass is $30, and it will grant the holder year-round use of the recreation facilities at these day-use-fee sites.  Interagency recreation passes will also be honored at these day-use sites.


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