The National Forest Service wants public input on proposed fees for Wasatch Back mountains
Proposed changes in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest could increase the number of fee areas and the costs to recreate in Northern Utah's mountains.
The forest service currently manages almost 500 recreation sites in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache district. Forest supervisor David Whittekiend explained that 95% of revenues, including the proposed increases, would be used to manage and maintain the forest.
"We tried to use that money on the sites or in the areas that it is generated." Whittekiend added, "So on the Mirror Lake Highway, the folks who manage the Mirror Lake Highway generally use the fees that they generate on that area. We don't send them around too much to other parts of the forest."
Whittekiend said the proposal would increase the number of fee sites from 70 to 119.
"We would add additional sites on the Mirror Lake Highway. We would add sites down on the Spanish Fork Ranger District and as far up as the Logan Ranger District," Whittekiend said. "We anticipate that it would supplement our recreation funding by probably at least a million dollars."
Whittekiend said fees haven’t increased in seven years. He said the current proposal had been in the works before the Covid-19-related surge in discovering the great outdoors.
"It's something that we feel is quite important so that we can provide a better service to the public, and we still will have a lot of areas that are no fees or charge that the public can use," Whittekiend said.
The cost to park at some Uinta-Wasatch-Cache trailheads is $6 for a three-day pass. The proposal increases that to $10.00. Seven-day passes would increase from $12.00 to $20.00, and annual passes would go from $45.00 to $60.00.
Click here to submit comments to the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest fee proposal.
Public comment is open until September 7. If approved, the changes would take effect next January 1.