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Mt. Evans Road Fiasco GETS WORSE?

Colorado 14ers access and fee issues only, please
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Postby ClimbandMine » Mon May 28, 2007 2:31 pm

I drove up today to see how militant they are. I thought it would be more crowded.

I got to the entrance station a greeted the fellow with a nice "How are you today?" He informed me that the summit was still closed and since you could only get to Summit Lake, the entrance fee would be $5.00, instead of the usual $10. His friendly demeanor seemed to be fading as he realized I was not reaching for my wallet and was making no moves to do so.

I told him I had no intention of parking at Summit Lake and would be taking pictures elsewhere, so I'd just be moving along. He replied that I could not stop or park anywhere along the way. "Not at any pullouts or scenic areas?"

"Even though they are CDOT maintained?"
"No - you would be using the park."
"But they are CDOT maintained."
... a few more exchanges like this...
"Here is some information that explains it - have a nice time" - and he handed me the same white "pass" that Bill got. I think he wanted to avoid getting into an argument he would lose. He made a note on a pad and that was it.

I parked in pullouts, stopped in a scenic stop right in front of a ranger taking a photo of a family, and turned around at the Summit Lake gate in front of two rangers. Parking at Summit Lake was full and people were parking on the road, so I parked on the road and walked around Summit Lake a bit. Never got hasseled by any of the six rangers I saw up there. I have to ask why there were six rangers on Mt. Evans???

The link that Todd posted describes the FLREA. It states that a recreation area must have designated developed parking, permanent toilets, permanent trash, interprative signage, picnic tables, and security for fees to be charges. Summit Lake DOES NOT meet this criteria. It has porta-poties and a single plastic trash can. Oh, and one picnic table.

The USFS is definitely NOT following the law at Mt. Evans.

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Postby skier25 » Mon May 28, 2007 3:22 pm

Well, I just got back from the old Mt. Evans highway as well. I pulled into the Fee Station and the conversation went like so:

"Hello, sir. The road headed up the summit of the mountain is still closed due to winter conditions. However, the road is open all the way up to Summit Lake and the fee has been reduced to $5 dollars."

"Is there any way that I wouldn't have to pay the fee? I'm only going up there to survey ski routes in the summit bowl. I won't be using any of the park's services."


"I heard that there is a free white pass, given to motorists who do not wish to use the park's facilities. I'm only going up there to look at the summit bowl. Isn't this road maintained by CDOT?"

"Yes, the road is maintained by CDOT, but if you pay $5 dollars for the pass, you can park and get a better view."

"I don't want to park. I only want to go up there, survey the summit bowl, and drive back down."

"Very well. If I give you the free pass, you won't be permitted to stop anywhere along the road. If you stop at any time, you'll have to pay the normal $10 fee."


So he hands me the white pass, and I drive up the road. Now, when I got to the lake, I pulled into the parking lot, and slowly drove the car around, waiting for the green shirts to come up to my car. No one came for about 2 minutes, so I pulled into a lot, with the car still running. I got out and took pictures with a stupid little disposable kodiak I had bought at the gift shop (my camera is in the shop). All of the sudden, a ranger comes out of nowhere and asks me if that's my car running in the parking lot. I said yes, and presented him with my pass. He told me that what I was doing was illegal, and that if I didn't move my car immediately, I'd be fined. So, I hopped in the car and drove down the road a little ways and parked on the shoulder. I resumed taking pictures, but then I saw the same ranger coming my way. I started the car as quickly as I could and raced away! Fortunately, I wasn't fined at the toll booth. I think it's criminal what they're getting away with up there...We need to fight this tooth and nail! unite!
I'll be back...only next week I'll have skis. :D
Last edited by skier25 on Mon May 28, 2007 3:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I get acute mountain sickness when I am away from the mountains.

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Postby BillMiddlebrook » Mon May 28, 2007 3:35 pm

What the hell? I wonder why they didn't offer me the $5 discounted rate. :? Maybe they just started doing that in the last day or so??

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Postby ClimbandMine » Mon May 28, 2007 4:19 pm

The FLREA section 803(d) A -Prohibits fees for parking alongside roads or trailsides.

You wouldn't have been fined for parking on the side of the road. They can hassel you all they want but they can't ticket you. Know the law, and use it. :)

The Clear Creek Ranger district office is on Chicago Road in Idaho Springs, conveniently located to chew the ear of the district manager on the way to Tommyknocker.

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Postby ajkagy » Mon May 28, 2007 4:26 pm

That'd really rub them the wrong way if we got the media involved or organized a mt evans CDOT road tour...

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Postby Spam » Mon May 28, 2007 5:13 pm

I am always up for a road trip!! Let's have a "park in" and park along the side of the road also with a copy of the FLREA section 803(d) and video camera's. Can you say Paula Woodward and 9 news tip line!!
"Getting to the top is optional, getting down is mandatory." -- Ed Viesturs

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Postby Meteor » Mon May 28, 2007 6:52 pm

Here's something I just ran across... it would appear that Summit Lake is not part of the Forest Service land, but rather was acquired by the City of Denver in 1924 as part of the Mountain Park system:

Anybody know if the City of Denver has an agreement with the Forest Service allowing them to charge a fee for use of what is apparently a Denver Mountain Park? I found the following bill that seems to state the City of Denver receives 12% of the USFS Mt. Evans fees to maintain Summit Lake Park, but can't find the text of the agreement (dated 5/17/2007) that it appears to authorize:

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Postby MtHurd » Mon May 28, 2007 7:00 pm

Todd Caudle,

What's up man! Good to have you on this site.

The USFS is doing damage to themselves by doing this. I know they are after $$'s, but it will bite them in the ass eventually. I think a summit drive gathering would be great! It would be cool to get the media involved to film the event.

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Postby Mountainman18 » Mon May 28, 2007 7:10 pm

I asked in an earlier post if the media was involved, but I guess not.
This option directly correlates with spam's previous post:
My best suggestion would be to organize a group to drive up there and stage a good old fashioned sit in. get a bunch of people to drive up the road and park along side it with the FLREA section 803(d) taped to the inside of the vehicle windows so the feds can see, and call the Denver media tiplines.
Well worth the price of gas!

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Postby Chris P. » Mon May 28, 2007 7:29 pm

Ooh sounds like fun. I'm always up for a little civil disobedience.

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Postby ClimbandMine » Mon May 28, 2007 7:35 pm

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Postby Todd Caudle » Mon May 28, 2007 7:58 pm

I believe this to be the most pertinent part of the FLREA (emphasis added to the even more pertinent sections):
"(d) Limitations on Recreation Fees.--

(1) PROHIBITION ON FEES FOR CERTAIN ACTIVITIES OR SERVICES.--The Secretary shall not charge any standard amenity recreation fee or expanded amenity recreation fee for Federal recreational lands and waters administered by the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service, or the Bureau of Reclamation under this Act for any of the following:

(A) Solely for parking, undesignated parking, or picnicking along roads or trailsides.

(B) For general access unless specifically authorized under this section.

(C) For dispersed areas with low or no investment unless specifically authorized under this section.

(D) For persons who are driving through, walking through, boating through, horseback riding through, or hiking through Federal recreational lands and waters without using the facilities and services.

(E) For camping at undeveloped sites that do not provide a minimum number of facilities and services as described in subsection (g)(2)(A).

(F) For use of overlooks or scenic pullouts.

(G) For travel by private, noncommercial vehicle over any national parkway or any road or highway established as a part of the Federal-aid System, as defined in section 101 of title 23, United States Code, which is commonly used by the public as a means of travel between two places either or both of which are outside any unit or area at which recreation fees are charged under this Act.

(H) For travel by private, noncommercial vehicle, boat, or aircraft over any road or highway, waterway, or airway to any land in which such person has any property right if such land is within any unit or area at which recreation fees are charged under this Act.

(I) For any person who has a right of access for hunting or fishing privileges under a specific provision of law or treaty.

(J) For any person who is engaged in the conduct of official Federal, State, Tribal, or local government business.

(K) For special attention or extra services necessary to meet the needs of the disabled."

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