BLM seeks public comment on proposal to raise Colorado River day use fee from $3 to $5 | SkyHiNews.com

BLM seeks public comment on proposal to raise Colorado River day use fee from $3 to $5

KREMMLING – The Bureau of Land Management is seeking public comment on its revised proposal to adjust the fee structure at the popular Pumphouse and Radium recreation sites on the Upper Colorado River.

To offset inflation and rising costs of maintenance and operations, BLM is proposing to increase the day-use fee for the first time since fee collection began in this area in 1998.

All the day-use fees collected here are used on-site for maintenance and improvements.

The day-use fee at these sites for private users would increase from $3 to $5 per vehicle, per day. The commercial day-use fee would be raised from $1 to $1.25 per person per day. The season pass would be raised from $15 to $20.

Pumphouse and Radium are very popular recreation sites on the Colorado River. An estimated 60,000 people use the areas annually.

BLM released a similar plan for public review last fall. That original proposal would have increased the day-use fee from $3 to $4, rather than to $5 as is now proposed.

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“The increase to $4 we originally proposed would still not have covered our deferred maintenance and operating costs, which meant we would likely have needed to adjust fees again in the near future,” said Dave Stout, Field Manager for the BLM Kremmling office. “After reviewing comments from the public and the Northwest Resource Advisory Council, we are now sending a proposal to the public that will better meet our current and anticipated future operating costs.”

The estimated deferred maintenance costs for these areas amounts to about $185,000. Current income from fees and appropriated funds is $164,000. The new proposed structure is anticipated to generate an additional $27,500. This would not only help meet deferred maintenance and operating costs, but planned enhancements to the area, according to BLM officials.

As outlined in the original proposal, BLM is also considering making a change to the fee classification that would allow the day-use fee to be covered by the America the Beautiful Annual, Senior, Access and Volunteer Interagency passes. The current classification at these locations does not allow these passes to be used for day-use fees.

Under the new classification, holders of the Annual and Volunteer Interagency Pass would not pay a day-use fee, but would still pay full price for camping fees. Holders of Senior and Access Interagency Passes would not pay a day use fee and would pay 50 percent of the camping fees.

BLM anticipates making a decision about whether to implement this proposal following a public review by the Colorado Northwest Resource Advisory Council, which is next scheduled to meet Dec. 1 in Gateway.

BLM began charging use-fees at these areas in 1998 under the Recreation Fee Demonstration Program. Fee collection has continued since 2004 under the Recreation Enhancement Act. A major renovation of the Pumphouse Campground completed in 2010 was partly funded by these user fees.

Comments should be received by Oct. 31, 2011. They can be sent to kfo_webmail@blm.gov or to Hannah Schechter, PO Box 68, Kremmling, CO 80459. For more information log onto http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/kfo.html or call Hannah Schechter 970-724-3008. Before including address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, be aware that one’s entire comment- including personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time.

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