Francis Marion and Sumter National Forests proposes new rifle range and increased campground fees at a few facilities

Release Date: Jul 24, 2018  

Columbia, SC – July 24, 2018 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: The Francis Marion & Sumter National Forests (FMS) is interested in hearing your thoughts on a proposal that has been circulating since August of 2017, to charge fees at seven national forest shooting ranges and increase fees at a few select campgrounds across South Carolina (the last fee increases on the FMS occurred almost 20 years ago).  Specifically, the proposal involves the following facilities:

Shooting Range District Forest New Fee Proposed
Fairforest Enoree Sumter $5/day or $50/year
Indian Creek Enoree Sumter $5/day or $50/year
Leeds Enoree Sumter $5/day or $50/year
Philson Crossroads Enoree Sumter $5/day or $50/year
Beaver Dam Creek Long Cane Sumter $5/day or $50/year
Candy Branch Long Cane Sumter $5/day or $50/year
Boggy Head Francis Marion Francis Marion $5/day or $50/year
Campground District Forest Fee Increase Proposed
Cherry Hill Andrew Pickens Sumter $15/night/site (is $10/night)
Whetstone Horse Camp Andrew Pickens Sumter $15/night/site (is $12/night/site)
Pouluos Loop Enoree Sumter $30-60/night/entire campground (is $5/night/site)
Buck Hall Campground Francis Marion Francis Marion $28/night for RV site (is $20)
$20/night for tent site (is$15)
 Buck Hall Day Use Francis Marion Francis Marion $7/day/vehicle or $40/year/vehicle
(is$5/day or $25/year)

The FMS manages a number of outdoor recreation facilities across the State of South Carolina that includes shooting ranges, campgrounds, boat ramps, picnic areas, trails and trailheads.  Most are free, but some require fees in order to be managed in a satisfactory manner.

Target shooting is one of the most popular recreational activities on both national forests in South Carolina. Over the years the use of these ranges has increased dramatically increasing the cost of managing these facilities.

The new fees are needed so that quality, safe and enjoyable facilities for hunters and shooters can continue to be provided given increasing demand and associated impacts. Some of the target range work activities that will be partially funded with the new fees include: enforcing range rules to the keep the facilities safe and clean; maintaining structures (e.g., berms, swales, settling ponds) and ground cover (grass) to mitigate runoff and pollution; performing annual soil and water testing along with lead abatement work; and simply providing for better shooting facilities. In addition to this notice, a Federal Register Notice on the proposed new rifle range fees was posted on July 5, 2018.

Similarly, a few campground facilities (see above) have dated infrastructure and are continuing to receive higher visitation.  To provide the services the public desires and to keep the facilities safe and clean, the Forest Service needs to increase fees at these sites.

Some of the work activities that will be partially funded with fee increases include: enforcing rules to keep the facilities safe and clean; improving information and customer service, and refurbishing the facilities (e.g., bathrooms, picnic tables, tent pads, parking, etc.).

In 2004, Congress passed the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act which allows the Forest Service to keep the fees collected at certain recreation sites and use the funds locally to operate, maintain and improve these sites.

All fee proposals will be presented before a citizen’s advisory committee, the Forest Service’s Southern Region Recreation Resource Advisory Committee, or RRAC.  Committee members represent a broad array of recreation interest groups to help ensure that the Forest Service is proposing reasonable and publicly acceptable fee changes and that public issues and concerns about recreation fees are addressed.  You are welcome to attend and provide comment at all advisory committee meetings. At this time the RRAC meeting has not been scheduled. 

If you have questions or comments about any of the above fee proposals, please contact Recreation Program Manager Joe Robles at (803) 561-4067 or e-mail jrobles@fs.fed.us.

For more information on the Francis Marion and Sumter National Forests follow us on Facebook or go to our website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/scnfs





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