Outdoors

Clearwater National Forest proposes fee increases

Meadow Creek Cabin, Clearwater National Forest. (U.S. Forest Service)
Meadow Creek Cabin, Clearwater National Forest. (U.S. Forest Service)

PUBLIC LANDS — Anyone who'd been paying attention to the federal budget and cutbacks in recreation funding shouldn't be surprised at today's announcement from the Clearwater National Forest. Officials propose to raise fees at 29 campgrounds and cabin/lookout rentals.

Nez Perce–Clearwater National Forests Propose Recreation Fee Increases

Recreation managers at the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests have struggled over the past ten years to keep campgrounds, cabins and lookout rentals open without raising fees during a time when budgets have significantly declined resulting in staff and service reductions.  Over the last two years those managers completed a Recreation Facilities Analysis (RFA) to determine how the forest can maintain a sustainable program during severely declining budgets, while still providing the high quality recreation experiences our visitors’ desire. 

Read on for the options, and the inevitable fee increases they propose:

Three options were evaluated during the RFA process: 1) reduce services; 2) manage fee sites using a concessionaire; and 3) raise fees at selected developed sites.   The Forest received many comments from the public about the different proposals listed above.   Many of those that commented were concerned with use of concessionaires or with limiting services and closing sites.  The forests have selected the alternative to increase fees at developed campgrounds and cabin/lookout rental sites.  

North Zone:

  • Aquarius, Hidden Creek, Kelly Forks, Noe Creek and Washington Creek Campgrounds currently charge $7 per night which will increase to $10 per night. 
  • Laird Park and Little Boulder Campgrounds currently charge $8 per night which will increase to $12 per night.
  • Elk River Campground which has electrical hook-ups will go from $15 per night to $20 per night. 
  • Bald Mountain Lookout rental is proposed to increase from $35 to $45 per night. 
  • Kelly Forks Cabin is proposed to increase from $55 per night to $65 per night. 
  • Liz Butte Cabin is proposed to increase from $20 per night to $40 per night.

Central Zone:

  • Apgar, Wild Goose, Wilderness Gateway, Wendover, White Sand, Whitehouse and O’Hara Bar Campgrounds currently charge $8 per night which will increase to $15 per night. 
  • Jerry Johnson Campground is currently charging $10 per night which is proposed to increase to $15 per night. 
  • Powell Campground which also has electrical hook-ups will increase from $15 per night to $20 per night. 
  • Glade Creek Group Campground will increase from $35 per night for five camping spots to $50 per night. 
  • Lolo Pass currently has a special event fee for winter users.  Day passes will remain $5 per day, but season passes are proposed to increase from $25 to $35 dollars per season.
  • Castle Butte Lookout is proposed to increase from $30 per night to $40 per night.

South Zone:

  • Castle Creek and South Fork Campground are proposed to increase from $8 per night to $12 per night. 
  • Fish Creek Campground currently charges $6 per night which will increase to $12. 
  • Spring Bar Campground on the Salmon River will increase from $10 per night to $12 per night. 
  • Red River Campground is proposed to increase from $6 per night to $12 per night. 
  • Jerry Walker Cabin located near the Elk City is proposed to increase from $20 per night to $40 per night.

Fee change proposals will be presented before a citizen’s advisory committee, called the BLM Recreation Resource Advisory Council on Thursday, March 27, in Coeur d'Alene.  A public forum for comments starts at 11 a.m.




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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