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Forest Service Seeks Public Comments On Proposed Changes To Tonto National Forest Recreation Fees

 

September 15, 2014



PHOENIX (September 18, 2014) – Tonto National Forest officials are seeking public comments on proposed changes to recreation fees. In 2004, Congress passed the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA), which allows the Forest Service to retain 95 percent of fees collected at certain recreation sites and use these funds locally to operate, maintain and enhance these sites.

To see what fees have been collected and how the fees have been spent, go to the Annual Fee Program Accomplishment Reports: http://www.fs.usda.gov/tonto.

The purpose of the proposal is to modify the existing fees in order to continue to operate and maintain campgrounds, boat launches, and picnic areas. As costs to provide trash removal and maintain facilities continue to increase, the Forest Service needs to consider options in order to ensure high quality recreation opportunities.

“In these times of increasing costs and declining budgets, we want the public to help us determine what our best options are," said Neil Bosworth, Tonto National Forest Supervisor.

The public is invited to attend any of these on-site open houses to learn more about the proposal:

Mesa District

Saturday, Sept. 20

Acacia at Canyon Lake

11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 21

Butcher Jones Picnic Site

11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Cave Creek District

Saturday, Sept. 27

Needle Rock Picnic Site

Noon - 4 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 28

Rattlesnake Picnic Site

Noon - 4 p.m.

Tonto Basin District

Saturday, Oct. 4

Windy Hill Boat Ramp

10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 5

Burnt Corral Boat Ramp

10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The changes being considered include:

Eliminate recreation fees from six areas, charge for individual sites, and change shoreline areas to special recreation permit areas;

Decrease the cost of the Tonto Annual Pass from $95/annually to $80/annually;

Increase the daily Tonto Pass fee from $6/day to $8/day;

Align fees in 10 developed campgrounds and 3 group sites to be comparable to similar sites with similar services and operation and maintenance costs;

Eliminate fees at 12 recreation sites; and

Install fee machines to provide an onsite option to purchase the daily Tonto Pass and watercraft sticker. Proposed new onsite fee is $12 for the daily Tonto Pass and $6 for the watercraft sticker. The passes will still be available for purchase at over 200 venders in the area or online at www. http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/tonto/home/?cid=stelprdb5274504 for the regular Tonto Pass Fee price.

The fee proposal can be reviewed at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/tonto. For more information about the fee proposal, please contact Greg Schuster at 602-225-5362, or by email at gjschuster@fs.fed.us. Comments on the fee proposal may be submitted to: tonto_recreation@fs.fed.us, or Tonto National Forest, 2324 E. McDowell Road, Phoenix, AZ 85006, Attn: Greg Schuster. Please submit your comments by Oct. 24 so they may be included in the decision making process.

 

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