Forest Service Seeks Input on Fee Area Streamlining
June 4, 2013
Outdoor enthusiasts looking to visit the Mirror Lake and American Fork areas no longer have to worry about paying a $6 entrance fee. That is, unless they wish to use any of the Forest’s ‘special recreation’ sites.
In the current fee system, visitors who are staying in a Concessionaire Operated developed campground must also pay the Recreation Use Fee. Under the new proposal, the Recreation Use Fee would only apply to those who leave the campground to use the Mirror Lake Scenic way sites, which are split up into different Fee Areas.
These Fee Areas include 18 standard-amenity sites (which include picnic areas and trailheads), 11 expanded amenity sites (camping areas near protected resources) and 3 special recreation permit sites (access points to groomed winter trails).
The proposals from the Forest Service for the American Fork Canyon and Mirror Lake Scenic Byway Recreation Area have arisen after the Forest Service conducted a review of their fee policies. The Fee Area changes are meant to make USFS policy more in alignment with the Recreation Enhancement Act, according to USFS Public Affairs Officer Loyal Clark.
The first proposal, for the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway Recreation Fee Area, " eliminates the current fee area designation and designates specific recreation sites and Special Recreation Fee Areas for groomed winter trail systems," according to the USFS news release.
Visitors will be able to purchase 1-3 day passes for $6.00, 7-day passes for $12.00 and annual passes for $45.00. Once purchased, the passes are good for other sites within the Recreation Fee Area.
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According to a USFS brochure, 95 percent of the total fee dollars go directly back into maintaining and improving the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway Recreation Area.
The second proposal, for the American Fork Canyon Recreation Fee Area, reduces the overall fee area, while designating Cascade Springs, Silver Lake Flat and Upper Falls as separate stand-alone sites.
The proposal also requires that only the National Park Service cave tour fee is required for visitors who go to Timpanogos Cave National Monument and do not visit other areas of American Fork Canyon, according to the USFS brochure.
The Forest Service is seeking public comments on these proposed Fee Area changes until July 31. Comment cards can be obtained at the Pleasant Grove, Heber City, Kamas, and Evanston, Wyoming, Forest Service offices. Comments can also be submitted at the Forest website, http://www.fs.usda.gov/uwcnf .
–Compiled by Aaron Osowski
Standard Amenity Sites
Expanded Amenity Sites
Special Recreation Permit Sites
Beaver Creek Groomed X-Country Ski Trail
Soapstone Basin Groomed Snowmobile Trail
North Slope Groomed Snowmobile Trail
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