Proposed Recreation Fees Information and Comment Page

Man and woman sit at picnic table in forest

New Mexico Fee Proposal

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 ended 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.

Arizona Fee Proposal

We are accepting comments on proposed changes to the management of the developed recreation program. These changes will impact day-use sites on the Tonto National Forest. Comment period ended October 31, 2021.

Proposed changes include new fees at Flowing Springs and East Verde Day-Use sites on the Payson Ranger District. These sites will be included in the Tonto Pass Program and will require the purchase of a Tonto Pass. Additionally, the Tonto’s annual Discovery Pass and Senior Discovery Pass, as well as, the Interagency America the Beautiful suite of passes would cover the user fees at these sites.

Ways to comment

New Mexico

  • 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: SM.FS.R3FeeProComm@usda.gov
    • By phone to:
      • Ryan Means, Regional Recreation Fee Program Manager (505) 257-5988

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

Tonto National Forest

Angela Abel, Payson Ranger District
Recreation Staff

Phone: (928) 474-7900

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
$125
Black Bear Group Campground Camping $95: 1-50 people
$120: 50+ people
$125
Slide Group Campground Camping $95 1-50 people
$120 50+ people
$125
Lower Fir Group Campground Camping $95: 1-50 people
$120: 50+ people
$125

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)