Fees rising in N.C.’s National Forests
ASHEVILLE — The U.S. Forest Service National Forests in North Carolina are changing the fees at seven recreation sites in the Nantahala, Pisgah, Uwharrie and Croatan National Forests for the 2014 season.
The fee changes were approved in March, after careful consideration of public comments, including the recommendations of the Southern Region’s Recreation Resource Advisory Committee (RRAC). All fees were evaluated to ensure that the level of benefits and services provided are equal with the fee and that fees are comparable to similar public and private sites. The Forest Service will implement most of the fee changes beginning May 7.
The National Forests in North Carolina are implementing the following changes:
Cedar Point Campground — For single campsites per night, fees will incrementally increase from $12 to $15 in 2014 and $20 in 2016. All sites have electrical hookups and the electrical surcharge at single sites will increase from $5 to $7 per site, with no price change in 2016. Double campsite fees per night will increase from $24 to $30 in 2014 and to $40 in 2016. The electrical surcharge at double sites will increase from $10 to $14 per site, with no price change in 2016. Campsite fees have not increased since 1998, while operation and maintenance costs have risen.
Arrowhead Campground — Nightly camping fees for single campsites increase incrementally from $12 to $15 in 2014 and to $18 in 2016. Fees for double sites will increase from $24 to $30 per night in 2014 and to $36 in 2016. Thirty-three of the sites have electrical hookups and the electrical surcharge will increase incrementally from $3 to $5 in 2014 and to $7 per night in 2016. Additional revenue will help defray the expense of electrical hookups as well as maintaining and operating water, sewage and other facilities and providing campground hosts. Campsite fees have not increased since 2001.
Canebrake Horse Camp — Nightly camping fees for single and double campsites will be the same as Arrowhead Campground. All sites have electrical hookups; the electrical surcharge will increase to $5 in May 2014 and to $7 in 2016. Fee increases will be used to sustain the level of service and amenities that are available at this campground. Campsite fees have not increased since 2002.
Sliding Rock Recreation Area — The daily fee increases from $1 to $2 per person. Annual passes remain at $25. Additional revenue is required to operate this extremely popular site, which often receives 1,000 or more people a day. Fee revenue will provide expanded hours for lifeguards and help pay for the maintenance at this highly used site. The last fee increase at this site was in 2001.
Nantahala National Forest — The fee increases will standardize rates across the three shooting ranges. The fees are critically needed to address the health, safety and resource damage needs at these ranges.
Panther Top Shooting Range — The cost of the daily permit will increase from $2 to $3 per person. Annual fee would remain the same at $25 per person. The last fee increase was in 2007.
Dirty John Shooting Range — The cost of the daily permit increases from $3 per vehicle to $3 per person. The annual permit cost will increase from $7 per vehicle to $25 per person. The last fee increase was in 2004. Annual permits already sold in 2014 for Dirty John Shooting Range will be honored until their expiration. However, these permits will only be honored at that site.
Moss Knob Shooting Range — This is a new fee at the range, and the only new fee across the four national forests. The cost of the daily permit will be $3 per person, with the annual permit costing $25 per person.
Purchasing the $25 annual permit will allow shooters to use all three ranges in Nantahala National Forest.
Fee rules did not change for shooters under the age of 16. They are not required to have a permit, but must be accompanied by an adult and must provide identification, if asked.
The Forest Service recognizes how important these sites are to our local communities and those who use them. These fee changes will help the agency maintain the sites at the level and quality visitors have come to expect, especially at a time when the National Forests in North Carolina are experiencing tremendous increases in recreation uses. In addition, the agency has made improvements at select sites based on visitor desires and feedback. Fee changes will help to maintain these improvements as expected by those who use the sites.
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