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Forest Service Changes Tonto National Forest Recreation Fees


September 1, 2015

Tonto National Forest officials are changing recreation fees at campgrounds, day-use sites, boat launches, and shoreline areas beginning on January 1, 2016.  In 2004, Congress passed the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) that allows the Forest Service to collect and retain 95 percent of fees at certain recreation sites and use those 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 which can be found at:

The purpose of changes in the fee structure is to continue to operate and maintain campgrounds, boat launches, picnic areas, and popular shoreline areas.  The cost to maintain recreation facilities and provide trash removal services continues to increase, and the public has indicated they do not want a reduction in services. 

"The public has expressed to us they do not want reductions in recreation services, and desire that our recreation sites continue to be managed by the Tonto National Forest.  These changes to recreation fees will allow us to meet these expectations", said Neil Bosworth, Tonto National Forest Supervisor.

The public is invited to attend any of these remaining On-Site Open Houses to learn more about the new fees -

Mesa District

Saturday, Sept. 5

Acacia at Canyon Lake

10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Tonto Basin District

Saturday, Sept. 12

Windy Hill Boat Ramp

10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Burnt Corral Boat Ramp

Sunday, Sept. 13

10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The following changes will take place on January 1, 2016:

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

2. Decrease the cost of the Tonto Annual Pass from $95/annually to $80/annually;  Seniors 62 years old and older receive a $20 discount.

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

4. Align fees in 11 developed campgrounds and 7 group sites to be comparable to similar sites with similar services and operation and maintenance costs; Continue to offer 50% discount to Interagency Senior and Access Pass holders.

Janet Ward

5. Eliminate fees at 8 recreation sites; and

6. Install fee machines to provide an onsite option to purchase the daily Tonto Pass and watercraft sticker.  The new onsite fee is $12 for the daily Tonto Pass and $6 for the watercraft sticker.  Traditional hanging Tonto Passes will still be available for purchase for the regular price of $8 at over 200 venders in the area or online at

The fee changes can be reviewed at:  For more information about the fee changes, please contact Greg Schuster at 602-225-5200, or by email at  These changes will take effect on January 1, 2016.


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