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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.
16
7%
Maybe, for certain areas.
32
14%
Maybe, but only if the fees were small.
21
9%
No, fees should generally not be charged to access these areas.
159
70%
 
Total votes : 228
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14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby coloradokevin » Sat Aug 18, 2012 10:21 pm

Today I received an email from Kitty Benzar (President of the Western Slope No Fee Coalition), asking me if I was aware of a USDA-funded study (being conducted by a CSU professor), which is attempting to determine whether or not the public would be willing to pay for access to 14'ers here in Colorado.

I had not previously heard of this study, but thought I ought to float the information here to see what you guys know, or what you guys may have heard. Personally, I'm concerned that more attempts to charge for wild land use may be coming our direction pretty soon. The fee situation is starting to get a bit ridiculous, and I don't think I'm alone in feeling that I shouldn't have to pay the USFS to go walk up a mountain in the middle of nowhere.

Whether or not the results of this study will be used to push for more fees is a question I can't answer at the moment. However, what does seem clear is that this study is suggesting that the majority of people who were contacted don't have a problem with a $20 fee to climb 14'ers. I wasn't contacted during the course of this study, but I DO have a problem with paying $20 to climb a 14'er.

Since I'm not fully versed on this issue at this time, and don't know how likely such a proposition really is, I'll just share the information that was provided to me by Kitty Benzar:

Kitty Benzar - Western Slope No Fee Coalition wrote:Hi Kevin,
I'm just in the process of learning that the USDA (parent agency of the Forest Service) has been funding a CSU study of the public's willingness to pay a fee for access to 14ers. I'm doing research and peeling back the layers of the onion, but it's looking ugly. Here is some of what I've found so far:

http://www.turningtechnologies.com/professionalaudienceresponse/researchcasestudies/casestudies/government/usda/

USDA Research Initiative
BACKGROUND
Catherine Keske is an Assistant Professor of Agriculture and Resource Economics at Colorado State University. Her experience in the university's Department of Soil and Crop Economics has provided her the opportunity to become a principal investigator on a national research initiative, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. During her study, Catherine will be exploring sustainable economic development practices in the fragile mountain ecosystems of rural mountain communities.
During the first phase the study, Catherine and her colleagues conducted stakeholder meetings in the rural Colorado towns of Alma and Leadville. The meetings combined government officials and citizens in order to gather information from all individuals regarding the transition from a mining economy to a recreational economy. Opinions from the community members regarding economic development were vital to the research study and well-being of the areas...


It looks like a paper on Keske's study is going to be presented at a meeting in Estes Park next month (http://asm2012.lternet.edu/node/8) of the Long Term Ecological Research Network:
http://asm2012.lternet.edu/content/visitor-willingness-pay-us-forest-service-recreation-fees-new-west-rural-mountain-economies

Visitor willingness to pay U.S. Forest Service recreation fees in New West rural mountain economies
Poster Number: 238
Presenter/Primary Author: Catherine Keske
Co-Authors: Adam Mayer
This study evaluates visitors’ stated willingness to pay (WTP) to recreate at Colorado “Fourteeners”, peaks that rise above higher than 14,000 feet. The study also assesses the respondents’ willingness to pay an entrance fee, where 80% of the funds are used on-site, and self-reported response uncertainty about WTP for recreating at the Fourteeners and the fee increase. Like prior papers from this six-year project (2006-2012), results indicate a high WTP to recreate on Colorado Fourteeners. Results also reveal that 62% of respondents are willing to incur an additional $20 fee to recreate at the site. Regardless of whether or not the respondent is willing to pay an additional fee for recreation, approximately 90% of respondents report a high level of certainty in their stated answers to both questions. In other words, recreators exhibit clear preferences and low uncertainty in their willingness to pay for general cost increases, and localized access fees. Implications could have a complex effect on when, if and how fees should be applied in “New West” economies and lands that are reliant on revenues from recreation.


This seems to have begun in 2006 (and the authors' roots go way back before that) but it's just now come to my attention. Did you know anything about this? Did the 14ers community as a whole? I was deeply involved in stopping the Pike-San Isabel from charging an access fee at South Colony Basin in 2010 and I know there was a lot of opposition to that among climbers because it's the access to several 14ers. Seems to me the scope of the effort is bigger than we (or at least I) realized. Would like to know your thoughts, maybe get some discussion going at 14ers.com.
--
Kitty Benzar
President
Western Slope No-Fee Coalition
Last edited by coloradokevin on Sun Aug 19, 2012 11:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby Aug_Dog » Sat Aug 18, 2012 10:27 pm

I'll get ripped for this but I thInk Longs should be permit-based. Not saying they should necessarily charge for the permit, but I think a permit should be required. 7 rescues in one day!? That's why.

Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby forbins_mtn » Sat Aug 18, 2012 10:33 pm

It all depends on how the money was spent. Pros: way less people on the mountain, reconstructive work done on trails/TH's, better amenities(port-a-potties on the summit for our poopers) and a fund for rescues which are only going to increase as these get more popular. Cons: $20 each 14er kind of sucks, government could take money and do nothing productive for us climbers, and it'd be a step towards having all federal land charging a fee.

i lean towards NO. But I could be persuaded differently if the money actually went towards something awesome

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Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby Aug_Dog » Sat Aug 18, 2012 10:39 pm

If it keeps Texans off our mountains, I'm for it!!!!!! :)
Last edited by Aug_Dog on Sat Aug 18, 2012 10:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby Tony1 » Sat Aug 18, 2012 10:50 pm

$20 per mountain? Come on, even in California you can hike most peaks for free. F**k that. The gas to get there and back is enough already.

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Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby wildlobo71 » Sat Aug 18, 2012 10:54 pm

The flight of the commoner 14er climber is going to force the hipsters down into the 12ers and below.
Bill W.
Yes, I have my Scotch.

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Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby Tory Wells » Sat Aug 18, 2012 10:59 pm

Of course I find fees to be a terrible idea. Just plain dumb. I also think it would be nearly impossible to implement a system to collect these fees.

If there were fees, however, my new hobby would be finding fun and creative ways to circumvent paying the fees. :mrgreen:

FREE ACCESS TO PUBLIC LANDS!!!!!
"Tongue-tied and twisted, just an earthbound misfit, am I." -David Gilmour, Pink Floyd

"We knocked the bastard off." Hillary, 1953
"It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves." Hillary, 2003
Couldn't we all use 50 years of humble growth?
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Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby sandy » Sat Aug 18, 2012 11:42 pm

Damn you Bill Middlebrooks!!!

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Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby coloradokevin » Sat Aug 18, 2012 11:52 pm

sandy wrote:Damn you Bill Middlebrooks!!!


Nice work there... someone had to call Bill out for this, and I'm glad you did so.

I need to poop, can you please point me toward the summit?.

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Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby Waggs » Sun Aug 19, 2012 6:02 am

Would be interesting to know what the EXACT wording of the WTP question is/was to better understand this conclusion:

In other words, recreators exhibit clear preferences and low uncertainty in their willingness to pay for general cost increases, and localized access fees.

And what EXACTLY is a "recreator".

If this were an annual fee I could tolerate it. But I'm not WTP $20/peak plus "localized access fees".

Would be easy enough for a poll to pop up here to get an informal assessment, no?

Waggs
Gloves are optional. Mittens mandatory - S. Gladbach

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Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby Waggs » Sun Aug 19, 2012 6:12 am

So from here comes these bits:

THE CHALLENGE

The communities of Alma and Leadville are experiencing a shift in economic climate, thanks to the natural presence of such attributes as 14,000 foot peaks, referred to as "Fourteeners" by experienced climbers that provided for hiking, climbing and skiing. Since nearly 500,000 hikers and climbers make their way up the peaks each year, the land provides a very valuable economic benefit to the areas. With a rich history in mining, however, the communities face a decision to delve deeper into the recreation area or further develop the mining industry.
Phase one of the research initiative centers around the stakeholder meetings and feedback from the community. Catherine and her team created questions to ask the citizens pertaining to the mining, recreation and economic development. She faced a challenge to make participants feel comfortable and confident providing honest, anonymous feedback regarding their preferences for economic growth.

...

CONCLUSION

The meetings took place in Alma and Leadville, ran about 90 minutes and gathered about 30 participants a piece. TurningPoint was used for about 45 minutes of the program, and results gathered from the highly targeted questions will contribute to the ongoing research in phase two and three. Many of the participants were excited to use the response technology, and asked to be included in the follow-up results.

-----

Seems to infer that a study of roughly 60 (unbiased?) individuals concluded:

In other words, recreators exhibit clear preferences and low uncertainty in their willingness to pay for general cost increases, and localized access fees.


Waggs
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Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby somethingrandom » Sun Aug 19, 2012 6:52 am

Good luck getting me to pay it...

While I doubt this has any chance of ever happening, as the saying goes... "There's more than one way to skin ____".
-Just as soon as you idiot proof something, some a**hole is just going to come along and make a better idiot.

-To Cessna: "November one, zero, four Lima Papa, wind 080 at 90 peak gusts 120, runway 35 cleared for takeoff"

To fellow controller: "Watch this sh!t"

-Whether climbing or flying, the single greatest thing to remember is that every ascent is optional, and if you feel like making another, your subsequent descent is mandatory.

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