The Bighorn National Forest (Northern Wyoming) is proposing a $10per Day Parking fee at the West Tensleep trailhead on the west side of the Cloud Peak Wilderness.
About 10 years ago, the Forest Service instituted a mandatory wilderness registration program in the Cloud Peak Wilderness, with free permits, much like we're seeing now in much of Colorado (Mt. Evans Wilderness, Lost Creek, Holy Cross, etc) Now they're proposing to charge $10/per vehicle/per day to park at the West Tensleep trailhead and hike into the wilderness.
As published in the original proposal, the proposal called it like it is - a parking fee. But after Congressional intervention, the proposal was withdrawn and reentered without the the words "parking fee"
As described, the fee would be a $10 daily fee for vehicles parked at the trailhead. That means the average weekend trip (Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday) would cost $30, $10/day for each day. A weeklong trip would cost $70.
The Forest Service is now claiming that its not a parking fee, but an amenity fee. Yet the fee primarily targets wilderness visitors, who would typically only use the amenities (the toilet, to be precise) twice per trip; once on arrival, and once on departure. For a weeklong trip, that comes to about $1 per sheet of toilet paper.
A bit steep, in my opinion.
Note that the Recreation Enhancement Act (REA) prohibits the Forest Service from charging fees for general access or for access to land with low or no investment. Like Wilderness.
Expressing your concerns to the Bighorn NF would go a long way to stopping these fees before they arrive here.
Craig Cope Wilderness Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Booth District Ranger email@example.com
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Trailhead condition requests, questions, alerts, etc.
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