Camping and hiking information
with tips for parents
Camping and hiking information
with tips for parents
The Adventure Pass - Worth the price of admission?
Congress has cut the US Forest
Services budget by 33% in the past three years. To compensate for the lack
of funds created by budjet cuts, Congress has allowed The US Forest Service
to try out a pilot program to bring in revenue. Fifty sites are now testing
this system out on a three year pilot program. In California you will find
this program in effect on the Angeles National Forest, the Los Padres National
Forest, the San Bernardino National Forest and the Cleveland National Forest.
To park on these forests you are
required to purchase a $5.00 daily pass or purchase an 'Adventure Pass'
for $30.00 per year.
This temporary program was supposed to end on the date of 5-26-98, but this program has not ended. This program seems to have become permanent.
The revenue created from these passes
is to go to improving the forest you are visiting. There are a few problems
with this idea.
Many of the campgrounds in these areas are
now run by 'Concessionaires'(click the word concessionaires for more
information on this program.) These campgrounds will not benefit from this
program. Your Adventure pass will not aid in your camping fees. If you
choose to camp in a fee area you will be charged to camp and charged to
The Adventure pass is
actually not a parking fee. This is a recreating fee. As long as you do
not stop in the forest you will not have to pay. If a ranger finds your
vehicle parked in the forest - it is assumed that you are recreating and
you will be ticketed.
80% of the money you
pay for these passes is to go back to the forests. Most of this money goes
to the program itself. Personell are employed specifically to insure that
you pay your fees.Two new employees in each area are quite costly. Two
new uniforms, two more vehicles with gas costs, etc. Accountents must keep
track of the money and the passes. Most of your 80% is spent before it
reaches the forest.
Due to years of budget
shortfalls and neglect of facilities, the money that actually gets to your
forest will not go to make improvements. This money will be spent to salvage
the understaffed and poorly maintained recreation areas. These problems
have been created by Congress and now we are to fix it?
This new system has
changed the character of the forests. Employees are no longer interested
in the quality of your stay - now your pass is the only consern. It is
not pleasant to find a 'Ranger' staring at your vehicle suspiciously -
searching for your pass; only to drive on by after they have spotted it.
What ever happened to customer service and courtesy?
If you park on the forest
without a pass you will get a $100 ticket. You can avoid paying this fine
if you pay for the entrance fee you within a stipulated time. This forgiving
system is about to end. If you are caught parking on the forest without
your pass in the near future prepare to pay $100 bucks!
If you buy a pass or
pay for entrance to the forest - the US Forest Service will presume that
you approve of the program. In other words - either you pay for the pass
or pay a $100 dollar fine. If you choose not to pay the fine you must approve
of the new pilot program. If you pay - the program considers itself a success.
Many of the forest visitors
will never see the improvements. Most of the money that actually goes to
the forest you are visiting will go to improvements that you may never
enjoy. If you are looking for improved picnic areas you are in luck.
If you like to hike,
backpack, ride motorcycles, hunt, fish, watch birds, photograph nature,
enjoy backcountry camping, or participate in any other activity that will
take you away from the main picnic and camping areas of the forest the
'Adventure Pass' becomes a glorified parking fee. When you are planning
a day trip you are looking at a five dollar charge - but if you want to
go out overnight or longer you can find a substantial fee for nothing.
These fees are just not intended for major trail improvements.
When you purchase a
pass (yes - I own one - I can't afford $100 per visit) there is a place
on the pass for you to fill out information on what forest you want your
fees to go to. This would be handy if you were asked what recreation interest
you wanted to see improved as well. I am not interested in paying to see
the signs replaced more often or the picnic areas patrolled more frequently.
Is this what you want to pay for?
These passes are at
National Forests. Don't we pay taxes to maintain these facilities? Of course
we do! I do not mind paying for something substantial - but why should
we pay for what we are taxed for? We need a balanced budjet - but is this
where we want to take a big cut ?
charge camping fees. I think it is unreasonable to charge for entrance
fees and camping fees. Many of our National Parks already do this.
Camping used to be
an inexpensive alternative for travelers. Our government seems to be struggling
to make this an experience of the past.
I live near the southern
area of the Los Padres National Forest. Many people have protested this
issue in the local newspaper. People have demonstrated on the forest in
protest of the Adventure Pass. I was not aware of the protest - if I had
been I would have been there.
If this is a program
you would like to stop, please help by e-mailing the people listed below!
Forest Service Chief Mike Dombeck
of Agriculture Dan Glickman