Robert Davidson

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Fee Hike Debated For National Forest Trails

The National Forests in Mississippi wants to inform the public of a proposal to increase fees and to implement new first time fees for using recreation sites. The proposal includes the following:

Chickasaw All-Terrain Vehicle Trail System – Tombigbee Ranger District – New fee $10/day

Rattlesnake Bay All-Terrain Vehicle Trail – De Soto Ranger District – New fee $10/day

Forest Annual Off-Highway Vehicle Trail Pass – all National Forests in Mississippi – New fee $60/year

Bethel All-Terrain Vehicle /Motorcycle Trail – De Soto Ranger District from $5 to $10/day

Little Tiger All-Terrain Vehicle /Motorcycle Trail – Chickasawhay Ranger District from $5 to $10/day

The National Forests in Mississippi is recommending a combination of fee increases and new fees to maintain acceptable standards of the recreation sites mentioned above for safety, utility, and aesthetic appeal. Fees have been at the current level since 2007. The fee increases are both consistent with inflationary costs and are more comparable to similar public and private sites in their respective areas.

All fee change proposals will be reviewed by a citizen’s advisory committee, called the Southern Region Recreation Resource Advisory Committee. Committee members represent a broad array of recreation interests ensuring the Forest Service is proposing reasonable and publicly acceptable fee changes. Committee members will also help ensure that the Forest Service addresses public issues and concerns about recreation fees. The advisory committee is scheduled to meet February 26 – 27, 2014 in Decatur, Georgia to consider these fee change proposals. The public is welcome to attend this meeting.

In 2004, Congress passed the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act which allows the Forest Service to keep 95 percent of fees collected at certain recreation sites and use these funds locally to operate, maintain and improve the sites.

 

For information or comments about any of these fee change proposals, please contact James Lowe, jlowe@fs.fed.us, 601-965-1660.