Shawnee National Forest Extends Comment Period for Recreation Fee Proposal

Contact(s): Laura Lecher

HARRISBURG, Ill. (November 26, 2019) – The Shawnee National Forest is extending the public comment period on its recreation site fee proposal. Comments will be accepted until December 26, 2019, to align with the comment period of the Federal Register Notice about the new fee proposal.

“We had a bit of a delay in getting the Federal Register Notice published, and it provides for a 31-day comment period. To save confusion, we’re extending the general public comment period to the same end date. I hope folks will take advantage of the extension and send us their thoughts, comments, and suggestions,” says Laura Lecher, Recreation Staff Officer for the Shawnee National Forest.

The fee proposal was announced August 15, 2019, and public comments now will be taken until December 26, 2019. The Forest has proposed to implement new day-use-fees of $5 per vehicle at six popular recreation sites: Garden of the Gods Observation Trail, Pounds Hollow Beach, Johnson Creek Boat Launch, Pomona Boat Launch, Bell Smith Springs Interpretive Site, and Little Grand Canyon Trailhead. A $30 annual pass option is also proposed which would cover all day-use fee sites on the Forest for a calendar year. In addition, the proposal includes increasing the overnight camping fee for the electric sites at Pine Ridge Campground in Pounds Hollow Recreation Area to $15 per campsite. 

Information about the proposal can be found on the Forest website: Comments can by submitted via the comment form on that website or emailed to (please put in the subject line ‘Recreation Fee Proposal’).  Alternatively, comments can be mailed to the Shawnee National Forest Supervisor’s Office, 50 Highway 145 South, P.O. Box 505, Harrisburg, IL 62946, or hand delivered to any Shawnee National Forest office.

The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 30 percent of the nation’s surface drinking water to cities and rural communities and approximately 66 million Americans rely on drinking water that originated from the National Forest System.  The agency also has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 900 million forested acres within the U.S., of which over 130 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.

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