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New fees proposed for popular recreation spots in Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest

Posted at 9:17 PM, Aug 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-30 23:17:24-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Proposed fee changes for certain developed recreation sites on the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest have been in the works for the last few years.

According to Forest Supervisor for the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest David Whittekiend, the additional fees are meant to hire additional personnel and invest in their facilities.

“95 percent of the fees that we collect stay here on the forest,” he said. “They’re not going back to the treasury, they’re here to be reinvested in the recreation resources here.

119 developed sites are the focus of the proposal, which include popular spots all over the forest. 11 of the sites are located in Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons.

These areas have campgrounds with existing fees, but trailheads that currently have no fees, which would change with this new proposal implemented.

“If they’re adding amenities and things like that it seems worthwhile to me,” said one hiker at the Donut Falls Trailhead on Tuesday.

“After being like in Colorado and other places I feel like a lot of places charge like five dollars which doesn’t sound like a lot but it can be to some people,” said another hiker about previous experiences in other states that charge at trailheads.

“I was driving up here today and actually thought about that before I ran into you guys, I was like, you know this is great I don’t have to pay to park here to go for a quick hike or something,” said another hiker from California.

“It’s kind of a hassle to have to pay and you know get something for your car, a sticker or whatever, and I just escaped that,” he said.

The fees at trailheads would not be per individual, but per vehicle.

“Entry for a lot of state parks is comparable to what we’d be looking at for some of our campgrounds and some of our trailheads,” said Whittekiend when looking at how the fees differ in some of the sites.

The Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest has already received hundreds of public comments regarding the fee changes and the sites.

The Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest has already received hundreds of public comments regarding the fee changes and the sites. The forest will be taking comments until September 7, 2022.

If the proposal were to move forward, it would need to be approved by a ‘Resource Advisory Committee’ and ultimately the USDA Forest Service headquarters in Washington D.C. The earliest that the fees would be implemented or changed, would be approaching the summer months of 2023.