14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Colorado 14ers access and fee issues only, please

Are you okay with paying a user fee to access Colorado 14'ers?

Yes, for all 14'ers.
Maybe, for certain areas.
Maybe, but only if the fees were small.
No, fees should generally not be charged to access these areas.
Total votes: 284
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Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby CHWitte » Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:26 am

Hungry Jack wrote:Complaints about crowds on 14ers reflect poorly on the plaintiff.

I don't like throngs of tourists in Chicago, but they are a big reason why this city has great eateries, watering holes, music, museums, etc.

Is it that hard to avoid them in CO? You can climb Democrat in solitude via its north ridge.

Economic growth helps build better communities.

We should embrace the crowds on 14ers because this means we have a larger potential voter base to help protect these mountains and to keep fees from being implemented. If enough people pitch a fit, the more likely a politician is to lay off a tax increase in fear of his/her next election. Albeit, in turn, people need to be more politically active to make sure their voice is heard in accordance with the things they care about. The last people we need to be dictating when, where, and how much a 14er climb will cost is a bunch of bureaucrats.
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Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby CHWitte » Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:28 am

4Lo wrote:I don't think the fees are being proposed as a means of crowd control. This is just some bureaucrats and politicians that see something gaining popularity, and want to try to make a buck off of it.

So true...greedy government...
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Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby Hungry Jack » Tue Aug 21, 2012 3:21 pm

Never in my life have I met a government that did not want to grow and expand its reach. It is a natural inclination of bureaucrats to build little empires. And once a bureaucracy metastisizes, undoing it is quite hard.

This is partly why I think highly local volunteer organizations are the purest form of government. I will be supporting CFI in their efforts.
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Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby Crusty » Tue Aug 21, 2012 3:34 pm

Hungry Jack wrote:nd once a bureaucracy metastisizes, undoing it is quite hard.

Hopefully, your rambles don't metastisize to other threads. You've said quite enough in this one.
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Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby john0schell » Thu Aug 23, 2012 10:22 pm

I apologize for the long post but this issue rung my bell...

I am adamantly opposed to any sort of fees and strongly urge everyone to take the same position.
Furthermore, I encourage everyone to support the major policy changes required to protect the National Forests
in a way the USDA will never do.

I would encourage donations to CFI.

BTW, I am not a Democrat or Republican. I am agnostic.

My concerns:
1) I do not want the hassle of having to deliver my fee.
2) I don't want the inconvenience of having to plan my adventures in advance.
3) I don't believe paying a fee will provide any benefit.
4) I already pay for the National Forest via taxes. Not only that, my dollars are subsidizing others
to not only use but ABUSE the National Forest in ways I couldn't possibly equal. EVERYBODY that
uses the NF should play by the same rules.
5) I am not a fan of the USDA and the policies and practices they support. The USDA is not looking at
the National Forests the way most of us on this forum do.

I cannot imagine any convenient way to administer a fee program. An online system where I pay and print
out a receipt might work but I am not always having internet access when I make my decisions.

Related to the collection problem is that I do not want to have to plan my trips in advance to accommodate
a fee collection. I sometimes plan my trips on the fly and certainly don't plan more than a couple weeks ahead.

Fees will not solve anything. They won't get properly funneled toward trail maintenance. The won't deter crowds. They won't put a dent in the national debt or solve the health care problem :) They might help employ more government workers with pensions to administer the fee program, and they'll need supervisors too (BTW, the fees won't cover the cost of those employees).

I already paid at the office. The $6B budget does not get funded from the profits on timber sales. And anyway, giving money to the USDA is like giving heroin to a junkie.

Why I can't support the National Forest Service:

The NFS, an agency of the USDA has a budget approaching $6,000,000,000 annually.
They get most of their money from taxes we are already paying.

Their charter is more about managing the resources within the National Forests than it is about protecting them
(and always has been). The NFS *really* is about the government serving the special interests of an elite few (ranchers, lumber companies and mining corporations) while pretending to be serving the "people". While we do benefit indirectly from these subsidies, the lack of free market capitalism is enabling bad behaviors and inappropriate consumption that I won't get into here.

The tax dollars that fund the NFS budget subsidize cattle grazing, mining and logging in the National Forests which are *far* more detrimental to the land than the small number of people climbing 14ers.
Today, there are grazing allotments on nearly half of all National Forest System lands, approximately 90 million acres of land in 34 states. The Forest Service administers approximately 8800 allotments, with over 9000 livestock permits, and about 9.7 million animal unit months of grazing by cattle, horses, sheep, and goats. Nearly all this permitted grazing is located in the Western states (99%), with only about one percent occurring in the Eastern forests.

The grazing fee is $1.35 per month per head for livestock grazing in our National Forest!

You want to charge me $20 for a one day hike? I couldn't possibly have the energy to
do the same amount of damage to the land per dollar and still be able to summit :) It simply isn't fair to charge me for “wear and tear” on the mountain while letting ranchers, miners and loggers slide.

Over five million acres of Forest Service lands are currently leased for oil, gas, coal and phosphate mining
operations. At any given time, the agency administers operations on approximately 160,000 mining claims
and manages approximately 2,600 mineral material sale contracts.

NFS builds fences to contain cattle grazing on NFS land, allows cattle to defecate in the streams, builds roads to
help loggers get access to harvest our trees. I even witnessed a NFS ranger building a watering hole for the cows to keep them out of the river (shouldn't the ranchers do this?). I get crazy every time I go into the National Forests and see the devastation and corruption. You want to charge me to walk in the National Forest?

It was reported by the General Accounting Office that the NFS had nearly $1 billion dollars of cumulative loss
in managing "timber sales" between 1992 and 1994. Old news but this is the MO of the NFS. Ranchers, loggers
and miners have strong enough lobbies to be able to continue taking advantage of (and abusing) resources that
belong to everyone. Our tax dollars are subsidizing cheap lumber and McDonalds hamburgers!
You want to charge me $20 to hike up a mountain?

Money to neighboring towns? Why? They are already benefiting from the tourism, albeit surviving on it.

Search and rescue? Get it from the rescued or their insurance provider.

Instead we should be talking about:

- STOP subsidizing ranching, lumber and mining industries.
Charge cattle grazers, loggers and miners realistic / competitive costs for *our* resources. Include environmental costs. What we are allowing now is nothing short of corruption.

- Tear down the NFS and start over. A lot has changed in over 100 years and policies need to align with modern perspectives. There have been proposals to move it under the department of the Interior.

Check out these websites:


if you got this far, thanks for listening! jcs

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Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby ChrisRoberts » Tue Aug 28, 2012 4:57 pm

Got an email from CSU today, seems they'll be doing a little restoration work on G/T in conjunction with CFI. Good on them!
Year 2 @ CSU and Campus Recreation Outdoor Programs have partnered to create outdoor experiences for second year students! These programs provide second year students the opportunity to connect with other students and experience the northern Colorado outdoors. These programs are offered both during the fall and spring semester. The first program, 14er Service Project @ Grays and Torreys will take place on Friday, September 14th @ 5pm – Sunday, September 16th @ 7pm. See details below:

Trip Description: We will be volunteering with the Colorado 14ers Initiative to help restore one of the most heavily used trails in Colorado. Grays and Torreys Mountains are two of the closest and easiest 14ers to Denver, and with that convenience often comes degradation. Sponsored by the Outdoor Program, this Year 2 @ CSU Outdoor Experience is designed to provide us with an opportunity to give back, while enjoying one of the beautiful regions in the state. We will depart CSU Friday afternoon at 5pm and arrive at base camp where we will be car camping for the next two night. Saturday will be a full day of trail work at elevations ranging from 11,000 – 14,000ft. On Sunday, we will spend some time doing a little more trail work before attempting to summit the two 14ers (if the weather cooperates). While you do not need prior trail work or hiking experience to participate in this program, it is highly recommended that you are in moderate to good physical shape. We will be doing manual labor at high elevation so please consult a doctor if you have potential medical concerns. Click here to find out more info about Grays & Torreys mountains: http://14ers.com/photos/peakmain.php?peak=Grays+Peak. Click here to find out more info about the Colorado 14ers Initiative: http://www.14ers.org/

Students only, but I thought it was funny they linked the 14ers page
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Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby schrund » Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:15 am

An article in this morning's Aspen Times on possible use limitations in the Elks: http://www.aspentimes.com/article/20120906/NEWS/120909920/1077&ParentProfile=1058
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Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby cbrobin » Thu Sep 20, 2012 7:03 pm

I just donated $100 to CFI. I was on San Luis this summer and they are doing amazing work. Thanks everybody who's helped CFI.

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Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby malibutexan07 » Fri Sep 21, 2012 12:17 am

Aug_Dog wrote:If it keeps Texans off our mountains, I'm for it!!!!!! :)

W.T.F. - I'm a Texan, but almost all of my family is in Colorado. I go to Colorado several times a year every year, and I make sure to venture into the Rockies. I have a tradition every year before school starts to disappear into the Rockies to get away from "it all" for a few days and then return ready for another crazy year. I don't appreciate the generalization that you are making, whatever it is you are making. Psssh.

What a shame that you detract from the purpose of this message.

As to my comment on this thread, I absolutely am against charging to climb the 14ers. That's just unnecessary government intrusion. Climbing a mountain should be available to anyone, and not everyone these days has the $20 to spend on getting out into the fresh air and scaling a mountain. Any suggestion to charge to climb a mountain is, quite frankly, insensitive.
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Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby mattpayne11 » Fri Sep 21, 2012 8:57 am

I actually agree with what a lot was said above by JohnSchell... especially about the livestock fees :shock:

One point of clarification though - the NFS does provide significant grant dollars to trail building organizations such as CFI and Rocky Mountain Field Institute.
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Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby GregMiller » Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:08 am

As far as money for trail-building and such, I remember seeing a collection box at the Belford trailhead recommending (but not requiring) a $5 donation (all of which went to trail maintenance). I'm all for this - if you have the money, and feel like it, pitch in. If you don't have it on you at the time, or don't feel like giving, then don't. No skin off my back.

But as far as making people pay to access NF land, the last thing we need to do is make it harder for people to get out into the outdoors and get in shape!
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Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby mountaingoat-G » Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:03 am

schrund wrote:An article in this morning's Aspen Times on possible use limitations in the Elks: http://www.aspentimes.com/article/20120906/NEWS/120909920/1077&ParentProfile=1058

Sad story. The elephant in the room: exponential human population growth that cannot be sustained by our planet, including what is wilderness today. The wilderness will not be safe from humanity, there are too many of us and counting....

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