The Utah office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced the approval of the final recreation business plan for five Utah field offices, reports the Moab Sun News. In the Moab Field Office Goose Island Campground on the Colorado River Scenic Byway, Kings Bottom on Kane Creek Road, Horsethief Campground on the Dead Horse Point Scenic Byway, and the Ken’s Lake Campground nightly individual campsite fees will increase from $15 to $20; the nightly group (minimum 15 people) site fee will increase from $4 to $5 per person. The fee changes go into effect today, October 1st.
“The fee increase is necessary in order to meet the growing expenses of the campground program, especially those for both regular and deferred maintenance,” Moab Field Manager Christina Price said. “Until now, the campground fee structure has never fully considered the replacement costs of the campground infrastructure. … Last year, revenues for the fee campgrounds were $994,000, while expenses totaled $1,192,000.”
Revenues are to be reinvested to provide visitor services, such as trails, picnic tables and restroom facilities, at the site where the fees were collected. The revenues can also be used for the construction of new campground facilities.
Each of the existing campgrounds has the amenities to qualify as a fee site — toilets, picnic tables, fire rings, tent and trailer spaces, access roads, the collection of fees by an employee, reasonable visitor protection and garbage collection — as will the new campsites.
There are plans for eight new fee sites to be constructed, and for four existing sites to have requisite amenities added and become fee sites.
New campground sites include North Klondike and Mineral Bottom Road; existing campgrounds that will become fee sites include Hideout and Cowskin.
Jennifer Jones, the assistant field manager for BLM Moab Field Office, said that the majority of the revenues raised by the fee increases will not go to constructing the new campgrounds, but to maintaining the existing ones.
“We have over $1 million in backlogged maintenance,” she said, noting that the Moab Field Office saw visitation increase from 1.5 million visitors in 2007 to 2.5 million in 2016. “We’re busy here. Wear and tear is expected.”
Jones also said that the new campgrounds will be located in areas that are experiencing resource damage due to a high demand for camping without facilities to accommodate visitors.