Quality costs more. The same is true for our mountains. Happy Jack and the Snowies offer quality outdoor fun, and that recreation is going to cost a little more next year. Fees for the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests (MBRNF) are set to rise by $5-40 dollars, depending on the site and services offered. 

The proposed increases are to continue providing the fantastic outdoor experiences our Forests have to offer.

“Our current fee structure is not getting the job done. It’s proving unsustainable in maintaining our existing developed recreation sites. We are unable to provide the services the public desires,” Aaron Voos, Public Relations Specialist at MBRNF said.

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The proposal is for increased fees at 93 developed recreation sites. For example, the popular North Forks campground on Sand Lake Road user fee is $10 a night. The proposed increase is to charge $20 a night. The proposal for Spruce Mountain Lookout is set to double, from $40 to $80 a night.

Campsite improvements, water provisions, and trash service are just some of the services provided, which have been costing millions more than what’s covered by current fees.

“If we do not change something, we’ll need to consider providing fewer services and closing sites,” Voos added. 

Further public input is being sought before the deadline of Nov. 1. Over Labor Day weekend, the Forest Service is hoping more people will enjoy the outdoors and take advantage of the opportunity to provide comments. Signs will be posted at many locations on how to provide feedback.

The Forest Service has received over 75 comments so far, “Split fairly evenly for and against the proposed increase,” Voos said. One helpful comment provided a suggestion for the fee increases. “The comment said we should consider tiering our campground fee structure based on drinking water availability.”

There are 151 day-use sites and nearly 2,000 dispersed camping sites that will remain fee-free. This proposal would further eliminate the extra-vehicle charge at developed campgrounds. The Forests also offer a $30 annual pass for day-use sites and honor the America the Beautiful interagency passes.

Comments also can be emailed to sm.fs.mbrrecfees@usda.gov or sent to the MBRTB Forest Service, Attention: Kristi Murphy, 2468 Jackson Street, Laramie, WY 82070. Oral comments must be provided to Kristi Murphy at the Supervisor’s Office in Laramie during business hours (Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.–4 p.m.) or by calling 307-745-2300 and indicating you would like to comment on the proposed recreation fee changes.

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