The Carson National Forest is looking for public input on proposed changes to the management of the developed recreation program. These changes will impact campgrounds and day-use sites on the Carson, Gila, Lincoln, and Santa Fe National Forests, and the Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands. Several different management options are being considered, including adding new recreation fees, increasing recreation fees, eliminating or repurposing some developed recreation sites, and collaborating on management of some sites with volunteers, partners or concessionaires.
“To offer quality recreation experiences and serve our public better, we need public input and ideas on other methods that may help cut costs and leverage resources for managing developed recreation facilities,” said Jeremy Golston, Recreation Fee Program Manager for the USDA Forest Service Southwestern Region.“ Public participation will give us the opportunity to hear from all forest users; visitors, partners, tribes, elected officials and community members.”
"The Carson National Forest offers diverse recreational opportunities to over 700,000 visitors annually. They get an opportunity to experience the waters of Rio Grande and the snowcapped peaks of the Sangre de Christo Mountains. During this public input opportunity, we want to hear some valuable input. Our facilities will continue to decline without financially viable options and sustainable solutions to maintain them, and our visitors and communities deserve better," said Forest Supervisor James Duran.
National forests and grasslands operate and maintain a variety of campgrounds and day-use areas. Some of these recreation sites offer limited amenities and visitors services, but are free of charge. Other sites charge a recreation fees, in exchange, these recreation areas offer visitor services and amenities such as restroom facilities, trash collection, visitor security and interpretive services. Developed recreation sites offer visitor convenience, are often gateways to recreation opportunities, and can play an important role in economic growth tourism for local communities. It has become increasingly expensive to maintain and improve recreation sites due to aging facilities, increases in visitation, and limited resources. The recreation fees charged at Forest Service managed sites contribute to the stewardship and improvement of these special places. Since 2004, under the authority of the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act, 95% of the revenue from recreation fees and passes remains on the forests. This funding is used to operate, maintain and improve facilities. However, the resources needed to address the maintenance backlog and improve recreation sites still exceed the revenues generated from recreation fees and congressionally-appropriated dollars.
The public is invited to comment on the proposed changes until December 31, 2020. Public meetings on this will be scheduled. For meeting dates and locations, or to submit a comment online visit www.fs.usda.gov/goto/r3/SusRec. Comments may also be submitted through comment cards at local USDA Forest Service offices, by mail to the Southwestern Regional Office, Attention: Recreation Fees, 333 Broadway SE, Albuquerque, NM 87102, or by email to SM.FS.R3FeeProComm@usda.gov.