The Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest is considering increasing and implementing fees for dozens of recreation sites across the forest, including some in Jefferson County, and the forest is accepting public comment on the proposal through Nov. 1.
Under the proposal, the forest stated in a news release, fees would increase "across 17 campgrounds, 24 cabin rentals, three group picnic areas, one group camp site, and the Crystal Park recreational mining site," and fees would be implemented at 22 campgrounds and seven boat-launch sites that are currently free, as well as a new campground and six new rental cabins in the forest.
Some fees and increases are relatively modest: the Delmoe Lake Campground fee would go from $8 to $15 per night. Others are more significant. The fee at the West Fork of Rock Creek Cabin southwest of Philipsburg would nearly quadruple, going from $20 to $75 per night.
Forest Supervisor Cheri Ford said in the release that fees have not increased in more than 20 years, and that the proposed adjustments would put fees in line with "comparable market value."
The proposed increase, she said, would allow the forest "to continue providing quality recreation experiences by replacing tables, adding or replacing fire rings, adding bear resistant food storage containers, re-surfacing roads, replacing toilets, creating host sites and much more."
The release said that 95% of the fees are reinvested in "maintenance, operations, improvements, and long-term stewardship of the sites."
Comments on the proposed fee increase can be submitted online at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/r1recfee, emailed to email@example.com, or mailed to Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, Attn: Rec Fee Proposal, 420 Barrett St., Dillon, MT 59725.
A complete list of proposed fee increases is available with this story online or by calling Noelle Meier at (406) 683-3932.