U.S. congressman who created the controversial recreation fee demonstration program wants to take it a step further and charge at least $85 annually for hiking in national forests and visiting other public lands.
Rep. Ralph Regula recently introduced a bill that would make recreation fees permanent and expand the powers of the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and Fish and Wildlife Service to charge fees.
The Ohio Republicanís bill hasnít been debated yet. If passed, Roaring Fork Valley residents who are used to walking out their doors and hitting a trail in just a few minutes would instead be required to buy an ďAmerica the Beautiful PassĒ to use public lands. Additional fees could be charged for motorized vehicle use of public lands, according to the billís wording.
The federal land management agencies have had a limited recreation fee program in place since 1996. Locally, that legislation allows the Forest Service to charge people to drive to Maroon Lake.