Maroon Valley fees need to be overhauled | AspenTimes.com

Maroon Valley fees need to be overhauled

Dear Editor:

Regarding the story “Maroon Bells fee legitimate” (Jan. 23, The Aspen Times):

What is emerging is a picture of local forest managers thumbing their noses at clear directives from the Washington office. The law that authorizes the Maroon Valley fee specifically prohibits anyone from being charged solely for parking, general access, camping in dispersed undeveloped areas (such as designated wilderness), scenic overlooks or traveling through federal land without using any facilities and services.

The court case in Arizona that prompted this national review clearly said that any scheme where people are charged a fee for “simple access to trails” exceeds the scope of the Forest Service’s legal authority. Charging a fee for access to and use of the trails into the Maroon Bells Wilderness clearly violates these directives.

The Washington office called for significant changes, but the local managers say everything will stay the same. Who is in charge here?

Kitty Benzar

President, Western Slope No-Fee Coalition

Durango


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