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Overnight camping fee may soon be required for Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness

The USDA Forest Service is seeking public comment about the proposal
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Posted at 9:29 PM, Jul 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-15 23:29:41-04

CARBONDALE, Colo. — The USDA Forest Service is considering implementing an overnight fee for Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness and is asking for public comment from the community.

The proposed special recreation permit fee would be $12 per night, per person for overnight camping in an effort to generate revenue to address issues from overuse. The area is seeing a significant impact from overnight use, including trash and waste, user conflicts and loss of vegetation.

The money would go towards restoring heavily damaged areas, increasing ranger presence and public education, improving trail access and expanding the wildlife safety program.

“In the last 10 years, use has nearly quadrupled in this wilderness area, and we are seeing significant overcrowding and environmental damage,” said Scott Fitzwilliams, White River Forest supervisor. “The majority of the revenue generated from the fees would be used on-site to manage these areas, which is key to allowing us to reduce resource damage and continue providing high quality recreation opportunities.”

The $12 fee would be charged for the most-visited areas in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness from May 1 to October 31, with an additional processing fee, which is currently $6.

An overnight permit plan that phases in overnight permits was approved in 2017. If approved, the fees would go into effect in 2022 for overnight permits at Conundrum Hot Springs, the Four Pass Loop — which includes Crater Lake and Snowmass Lake — Geneva Lake and Capitol Lake. It would not affect the Maroon Bells Scenic Area.

Additional areas in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness could require overnight permits and fees in future years.

Find more information about the proposal and leave a public comment by visiting here. The deadline for public comment is Sept. 15, 2021.