BLM Proposes New Fee Increases in the NW Oregon

AbleGuy

Officious Intermeddler
Just some new fee info for those who may want to plan ahead. An interesting proposal included is allowing people to “earn” annual passes through volunteer work.

I haven’t read anything about fees going up elsewhere, but this might be just the start. One can’t help but wonder, based on this first targeted geographic area, if some of the need for these higher fees is due to the added expenses caused from the trashing of public lands we’ve seen discussed here in the forum?


The main takeaway?

BLM officials released the proposal earlier this month, looking to raise day-use and camping fees across the board and implement new fees where none previously existed.“
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New campgrounds, higher fees proposed for BLM sites in Northwest Oregon

The Bureau of Land Management is proposing some significant changes at its Northwest Oregon park sites, including new fees, two new campgrounds and an annual access pass that could be earned with volunteer hours.

BLM officials released the proposal earlier this month, looking to raise day-use and camping fees across the board and implement new fees where none previously existed.

In total, 16 day-use sites, campgrounds and group facilities would see new fees, with modified fees at two day-use sites and 13 campgrounds.

Amanda Moore, a recreation manager for the BLM in Northwest Oregon, said the project has been a long time coming. Many of the park sites in the region were built in the 1960s, she said, and they haven’t seen any fee increases in at least a decade.
“The intent of (the new fees) is to allow us to maintain the sites to protect public safety, and also to preserve the recreation opportunities there for future generations to enjoy,” she said.

Public comment on the proposal will be open through Jan. 20, after which the proposal will go through the bureaucratic process of approval. If the plan gets the green light, the BLM could implement some new fees immediately, Moore said, while others wouldn’t go into effect until later.

Under the proposal, day-use parking fees would increase from $3 to $5 per vehicle, with higher fees of $10 and $20 imposed on large vans and buses, respectively.
Camping fees would all increase as well, with costs varying by the type of campsite. On the lower end, primitive and basic campsites would be $15 and $20 per night, respectively, while full hook-up sites would cost $36.

The price for cabins at the Fishermen’s Bend campground would increase from $40 to $65 per night.Some camping fees could vary between campgrounds, including a sprawling new campground proposed at the Wildwood Recreation Site on Mount Hood, and a new campground at Pine Creek along the Molalla River Corridor.

The new Wildwood campground would include cabins, yurts and hook-up sites for RVs, according to the BLM proposal, while the Pine Creek campground would have basic campsites.

The new developments would help the BLM match an already robust network of campgrounds in Oregon state parks, which boast some of the most popular camping options in the region, as well as camping offered by the U.S. Forest Service around the state.

Brian Amstupz, a local outdoor recreation planner for the BLM, said several of the agency’s campgrounds have proven to be quite popular, with occupancy rates rising in the last few years as crowds have continued to grow at outdoor recreation areas around Oregon.

“It’s clear that these are well known and highly popular campgrounds,” he said. “A lot of our sites are remote, and some of them are just kind of out of peoples’ backyards.”
Amstupz said the BLM is also trying to encourage some local stewardship with its new annual pass, which would apply to most of the agency’s day-use sites in Northwest Oregon. People could purchase a pass for $30 per year, or earn one with 12 hours of volunteer work.

“We’re hoping that’s going to invite members of the community to take ownership” of the park sites, Amstupz said.

BLM officials said the proposal has been in the works since 2016, and still requires further approval to become a reality. New construction at local park sites, including the cabins at Wildwood, will take even longer.

The end result would be additional opportunities for people to get outside – even if it costs a little more to do it.

The public can comment on the proposal until Jan. 20 by emailing the Bureau of Land Management atBLM_OR_NO_REC_publiccomments@blm.gov or calling 503-315-5935.
 
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Regcabguy

Oil eater.
We found the Oregon state park campgrounds to be much cleaner and maintained than California despite being taxed to death here.
 

jlcanterbury

Active member
Interesting. I especially like the part about earning an annual pass though volunteer hours. This would ensure that those who spend the most time in the parks will have a connection to and appreciation for the maintenance of the land.

I still find the proposed fee increases to be reasonable. Coming from CA, where day use passes are often $15, and camp sites can charge $50 for a patch of dirt in a parking lot. I still hope fees remain reasonable and access unrestricted. After all, we are already taxed once for these 'public lands', and then sometimes charged again to access them.
 

Martinjmpr

Wiffleball Batter
Here in CO, State Park campgrounds with electric hookups are at least $30/night and those with full hookups are typically $36. $15 - $20/night for a primitive campground is about what we pay at National Forest campgrounds anyway. Those fees really aren't bad considering what private campgrounds charge, which is typically $30+ for a tent site and $40+ for any kind of utilities. And for that you typically get a glorified parking lot and "facilities" that may not have been maintained for years, whereas the state parks, at least, have pretty nice shower houses, flush toilets, recreational programs, etc, and the campgrounds themselves are usually in gorgeous locations with lots of room to set up camp.

Unfortunately, with the population of those areas increasing, it makes sense to start charging for what used to be free, otherwise you'll end up with people trashing the area and moving on, leaving a mess for someone else to clean up on the taxpayer's dime.

We've camped at State Parks in quite a few different states and I have to say that the best "bargain" in State Parks is probably New Mexico. You can get an annual park pass in New Mexico that lets you camp for free at campgrounds without hookups and if there is electric you pay a paltry $4/night. Even without an annual pass, it's only $14/night for a site with electricity and usually about $10 for a primitive site. New Mexico is also one of the only states we've camped in where if you make a camping reservation, your park entrance admission is covered - some other states (including Colorado) will sock you for a $10 or more "daily entrance fee" on top of your camping reservation so that has to be factored in to any camping costs.
 

helenandtoby

New member
You should know that Federal law prohibits fees for most day use on public lands.



Google FLREA to read the law.



Fees for camping can only be charged for developed sites with amenities.



The law specifically prohibits fees for people who just park and access public land.



The BLM and Forest Service have large budgets earmarked for recreation. If they complain that they are short of money, ask them where that money is going.
 
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The BLM and Forest Service have large budgets earmarked for recreation. If they complain that they are short of money, ask them where that money is going.

Well, since this is necro'd anyway ...

To support and maintain public lands during a time of high inflation and a massive increase in the use of public lands by the populace?


The only reason I'm replying is that seeing this thread today reminded of a story yesterday on NPR. If I understand it correctly, the 5th circuit ruled that ONLY appropriations can be used by federal agencies ... no usage fees. The specific context is the crusade against the CFBP but the ruling, which The Supremes have just agreed to review, essentially would overturn all usage fees at the federal level. IE: The constitution trumps FLREA.

The story points out that many core services, including the Mint, USPS, Federal Reserve, SSA, Medicare, FDIC, and many other entities/programs are paid for by fees and not appropriations.

I don't fully understand it. But the thought is interesting and terrifying at the same time!

NPR:
 

tacomabill

Active member
Have you noticed that recreation.gov has been adding non-refundable lottery fees to get a hiking permit? Here is one example:
https://www.nps.gov/zion/planyourvisit/angels-landing-hiking-permits.htm
$6 fee to apply and if you do not get a permit because the quota was reached then you lose $6: it is a fee to get in line to get a permit. As far as I know, these fees are applied to sites that meet the fee requirements for FLREA.

BoozAllen built recreation.gov at no charge to the government in exchange for recouping the cost by adding fees that go entirely to Boozallen. A lawsuit has been filed and following has a pretty thorough background information:
https://wausaupilotandreview.com/20...red-with-junk-fees-seeks-millions-in-refunds/
another article:
https://pluralistic.net/2022/11/30/military-industrial-park-service/#booz-allen
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
We found the Oregon state park campgrounds to be much cleaner and maintained than California despite being taxed to death here.
I have family in Oregon they pay high taxes on stuff they use. In some cases more than we do here in CA.

As for Oregon campgrounds they historically have had more and lower use than CA also. That is a big deal. However since COVID their usage is way up and they have struggled with keeping up with maintenance and in BLM areas especially Western Oregon depend heavily on volunteers to clean up dump sites and burned out vehicles, as the land management staff don’t have the resources to handle the scale of what’s been needed to clear out large dump sites and illegal camps.
 

AbleGuy

Officious Intermeddler
I have family in Oregon they pay high taxes on stuff they use. In some cases more than we do here in CA.

As for Oregon campgrounds they historically have had more and lower use than CA also. That is a big deal. However since COVID their usage is way up and they have struggled with keeping up with maintenance and in BLM areas especially Western Oregon depend heavily on volunteers to clean up dump sites and burned out vehicles, as the land management staff don’t have the resources to handle the scale of what’s been needed to clear out large dump sites and illegal camps.

This year Oregon has an added fee for camping at its state park if you’re a non-resident, just FWIW.
 

tacomabill

Active member
I encourage everyone to read the article I referenced earlier:

A few highlights:

>Last year there were 22,435 lottery applicants for a permit to run the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho. Only 330 individuals received a permit. Yet, all applicants paid the $6 lottery fee — even unsuccessful lottery applicants. Under Booz Allen’s arrangement with the federal government, it could pocket all lottery fees, which amounted to $134,610 just for the Middle Fork lottery

>Even when a federal agency does not charge a fee —such as for a timed entry permit at Arches National Park— Booz Allen levies a transaction fee to process each permit. In 2022, 310,033 visitors entered Arches with a timed entry permit, said Kaitlyn Thomas, public affairs specialist, in an email. Recreation.gov charged $2 per vehicle, resulting in $620,000 for Booz Allen under the structure
 

tacomabill

Active member
You should know that Federal law prohibits fees for most day use on public lands.



Google FLREA to read the law.



Fees for camping can only be charged for developed sites with amenities.



The law specifically prohibits fees for people who just park and access public land.



The BLM and Forest Service have large budgets earmarked for recreation. If they complain that they are short of money, ask them where that money is going.
Yosemite NP and Yellowstone NP are charging a non-refundable lottery fee to get a backpacking permit -if you dont get a permit there is no refund or option to apply it another time.

The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act expires in October 2023. If not renewed, agencies can charge whatever they want for anything.
 

tacomabill

Active member
Are you suggesting there is no cost to administer the program, or that there should be no limits, or something else?
I am suggesting only that users of public lands should be concerned about alleged illegal use of public funds, which is what the lawsuit is all about. Did you read the article about the lawsuit. I have been in contact with my two Senartors to make sure they are aware of this and hopefully others will do the same.

According to the article, over $300M was allocated to build and maintain it, but the government has not responded to requests for where those funds went. This is all in the article. Did BoozAllen get some or all of those funds? No one really knows.
 

Awkragt

Adventurer
This thread has a very fireside chat feel but...

But unless agencies all over start actually building more campgrounds, trails, and especially parking lots its only going to get worse. They only have two tools in the shed right now, higher fees or lottery to prevent overuse. I'd love a revival of the Civilian Conservation Corps and an accelerated permitting process for outdoor recreation. For all the money getting handed out for nothing you could be giving people good jobs building trails and campgrounds.
 

IdaSHO

IDACAMPER
They only have two tools in the shed right now, higher fees or lottery to prevent overuse.

Actually three...

Closure.

Which is becoming more and more common as it is a WHOLE lot easier and cheaper to "manage" a so-called public land by locking it up and posting signage, than babysitting it.
 

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