Saturday, September 30, 2023


Forest Service hiking some camping fees double or more

U.S. Forest Service (USFS) campgrounds have traditionally been among the most affordable. Some in primitive locations with primitive facilities are still free today. Alas, that is likely changing.

This past week the Forest Service has identified 93 campgrounds in the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests in Colorado and Wyoming where it is proposing to add or raise camping fees, in some cases more than double. The proposal would increase fees at 67 existing sites and add fees to 26 others.

Campsite fees in close to two dozen campgrounds would double from $10 a night to $20 or even $26 for sites at Dry Lake, Dumont Lake, Hahns Peak Lake and the Seedhouse Campground.

Some now-free campgrounds would require a fee.

Cabin rentals would jump from $80 to $120 per night. Trails that were once free to hike would require a $5 fee. Land managers, here and in other National Forests, say the increases and additions are to catch up with demand and maintenance.

For a complete list of fee changes visit here.



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2 months ago

Most of my outdoors time here in Colorado is spent in Routt County, Medicine bow, Hahn’s peak area and I have been to many of the locations on the forest service list for both camping and hiking. If you read through it, many of the free trailheads will now be fee sites. Most of these locations are poorly maintained, so if they are going to add fees and double fees, there needs to be a noticeable improvement in the quality of the sites and parking areas. I get stuff costs money to maintain, but I don’t see our taxes being decreased, or the facilities being improved.

Tom M
2 months ago
Reply to  Byron

Color me cynical, but I worked in the maintenance department for a taxpayer funded institution for decades. Here’s what happened to us: The public sees an additional fee, and it’s advertised as “going directly to the park for…” While this is technically correct, and in some cases required by law, there’s a budget work around. I call it cost shifting. New fee X brings in say, $50,000 earmarked for maintenance operations. Great you think! But what I often experienced was a corresponding REDUCTION in the general budget. The money “saved” in the general budget was sent elsewhere, so in the long run there was no “extra” money in the budget maintenance. There’s no glory in periodic maintenance.

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