Open house to be held on proposal to charge fee for camping on Four Pass Loop
The U.S. Forest Service will hold an open house in Basalt on Sept. 1 to share information with the public about the proposed permit fee for overnight camping in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness.
The open house will be from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at the Basalt Regional Library at 14 Midland Ave. The public is invited to attend and confer with Forest Service personnel who will attend.
The Forest Service has proposed a $12 per night, per person fee for the highest visited areas in the wilderness area from May 1 through Oct. 31. Reservations would be required for the permit at recreation.gov, which charges an additional processing fee. The fee is currently $6.
If approved, the fee will be applied to the Four Pass Loop, including Crater Lake, as well as Geneva Lake and Capitol Lake. A fee also would be applied to Conundrum Hot Springs, which already requires reservations and permits.
“The Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness is an iconic destination that is seeing significant impacts from heavy overnight use, including trash and waste, user conflicts and loss of vegetation,” the Forest Service said in a news release. “In the last 10 years, use has nearly quadrupled in this wilderness area, leading to significant overcrowding and environmental damage. Revenues generated by the fee program would provide a sustainable source of revenue to allow the Forest Service to address these impacts.”
More information about the proposal and how to comment is available at http://www.fs.usda.gov/whiteriver. Comments need to be received by Sept. 15.