Recreation Area Fee Changes Go into Effect for 2024 Season

Sonora, CA…With operating costs exceeding revenues across several developed camp sites, day use, and other recreation areas, the Stanislaus National Forest has moved forward with fee increases for the 2024 season.

In 2004, Congress passed the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act which allows the U.S. Forest Service to retain 95 percent of revenue collected at recreation sites and use these funds locally to operate and maintain and improve these sites. Revenue is reinvested into forest recreation sites in the form of trash pickups, septic and toilet pumping, painting, cleaning, addressing the backlog of deferred maintenance, conducting patrols, maintaining highly used trails, cabin/lookout rentals, campsites, and more.

The Stanislaus National Forest operated campgrounds have not increased fees since the introduction of the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (REA/ FLREA) in 2004. A tiered price increase is in effect for 2024 and 2025, with the final price effective 2026. This fee increase will impact 28 locations across the forest. For a full list of areas impacted by these increases, please see the attached/linked file.

The Stanislaus National Forest conducted public outreach during the fall of 2021, receiving comments on the fee proposal. The comments received were taken into consideration when preparing the final fee change proposal and leading to the tiered increase structure. The proposed changes were based on the level of amenities and services provided, cost of operations and maintenance and market assessments.

The fee changes come after the Bureau of Land Management’s Central California Region Recreation Resource Advisory (Recreation RAC) Committee met February 29, 2024 to approve the proposed fee changes. The Recreation RAC members represent a broad array of recreation interest groups to help ensure that the Forest Service is proposing reasonable and publicly acceptable fee changes. The Regional Forester reviewed and approved the final fee changes which will now be implemented.