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James Peak Parking now is PAY PARKING

Colorado 13er questions, conditions, and other info should be posted here. Also includes topics related to 13ers.com. 13er Trip Reports
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Re: James Peak Parking now is PAY PARKING

Postby grizz » Fri Apr 25, 2008 3:22 pm

I agree. IMO they don’t have good handle on their business, but the increase popularity of outdoor recreation in this state has gone crazy. I don’t recall posting that charging extra fees is the answer. It is very apparent that something needs to be done. What have you offered to do other than the basics to help resolve the situation? Something needs to be done, and sitting in your car complaining about the traffic keeping you from your summit or the $5.00 parking fee that pays the guy doing ALL the work so you can check the summit off your list, is definitely not the answer. Forget the check list and lend a helping hand! Colorado has not always been like this.
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Re: James Peak Parking now is PAY PARKING

Postby Steve Bonowski » Fri Apr 25, 2008 3:25 pm

Well said, Jisherw, well said. Regardless of what happens or doesn't happen in D.C., in the USFS headquarters or higher up in Department of Agriculture (USFS' parent agency), the reality on the ground is that the recreation budgets for the field offices have been in a slide since the Reagan years.

The agency used to make some money from timber sales, but the cost of getting out the cut was more than the timber was worth and clear cutting does come with an environmental price. Same for the domestic livestock grazing program, as Congress sets the grazing fees well below market so as to subsidize ranchers. And, much of what was in the discretionary part of the USFS budget has been diverted to fire management in recent years.

It should also be pointed out that all the federal land agencies in the US have seen budget cuts in the current national administration. Of course, you don't see much cutting in the Defense Department when the Pentagon still buys weapons to fight the Cold War while our troops in Iraq have had to buy their own body armor. Sorry to get on the soapbox, but we won't have much money for key domestic programs like our public lands until we're out of Iraq and until some politician somewhere gets the courage to tackle the big entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare.

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Re: James Peak Parking now is PAY PARKING

Postby alpinist jr. » Fri Apr 25, 2008 4:58 pm

James Peak; $5? Come on!!!
"Taking the Path of Most Resistance"

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Re: James Peak Parking now is PAY PARKING

Postby rleclair » Fri Apr 25, 2008 6:34 pm

In the big picture, $5 to park on private property with a port-alet, doggie station, garbage bin, etc. is mimimal considering the gas to get to the trailhead is considerably more. How would you feel if folks parked on your front lawn, pissed near the trees, didn't pickup their garbage, or their dogs sh*t? Paul is well within his rights as a private property owner and I support his decision to charge AND provide services for the fee. Can't say that for the USFS in some cases...

If $5 prevents one from gaining access to James Peak from this side, then folks have bigger issues - like paying for gas, groceries and everything else that is going up...
"Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life..."
John Muir

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Re: James Peak Parking now is PAY PARKING

Postby coloradokevin » Sat Apr 26, 2008 1:27 am

rleclair wrote:In the big picture, $5 to park on private property with a port-alet, doggie station, garbage bin, etc. is mimimal considering the gas to get to the trailhead is considerably more. How would you feel if folks parked on your front lawn, pissed near the trees, didn't pickup their garbage, or their dogs sh*t? Paul is well within his rights as a private property owner and I support his decision to charge AND provide services for the fee. Can't say that for the USFS in some cases...

If $5 prevents one from gaining access to James Peak from this side, then folks have bigger issues - like paying for gas, groceries and everything else that is going up...


For me it is more the idea behind the $5, rather than the $5 itself. This has been an area that has been parked in (for free) for as long as I can remember. Obviously many of us (including myself) did not realize this was private property until this issue came about. Nevertheless, it should have been an issue that was resolved years ago, and apparently it would have only cost the forest service a measly $13,000 in today's dollars.

Instead, it is now a privately held commercial venture. It is clear to me that this is going to become a profitable commercial venture in the very near future, and the owner of the property stands to make a sizeable chunk of money off of "all of us". At the very least, this certainly isn't the case where a concerned citizen formed a non-profit organization to assist all of us.

Also, I never needed a port-a-john. I bring my own dog poop bags, and those who didn't pick up their garbage in the past should have been addressed by the forest service (besides, it is not like this guy is planning to clean up and maintain the trail anyway). The parking lot was often crowded in the past, but it was easily as serviceable as many other backcountry trailheads. I parked our Hyundai Accent there a number of times in years past with no problems at all.

It seems to me that the current trend in Colorado is to "improve" backcountry trailheads with value-added features that I never asked for in the first place! I don't want to pay to park for the so-called luxury of a dirty pit toilet, and I don't want to pay for poop bags at the trailhead (that's the kind of service I expect in the suburban parks, and my property/sales tax dollars pay for those). Fees keep popping up these days, and where they already exist they are climbing... I, for one, am just tired of that trend. It never cost me money to hike in the mountains as a kid, and I never thought we'd be in the situation we are today (until recently).

So, this guy can keep his private property, and make his money off of the hikers and tourists... And he can also apparently convince folks that he is just a humble do-gooder who is trying to "help" all of us. But, I'm not buying it, and I didn't feel the need for the "help" in the first place. Again, I don't deprive him of his rights to do this as a property owner, and I'll just steer clear of that TH for now (and I'll again emphasize that the forest service obviously dropped the ball on buying this particular piece of dirt).



But, as for the "it is just $5" argument, lets extend this out a bit...

Fees have been suggested in more ways than I care to imagine recently. There has been talk of user fees for forest service land, use fees for parking at private trailheads, and use fees for I-70. Where does it end? Assume you had to pay $5 for a trip on I-70 (so, $10 with a round trip), $5/day to "use" the backcountry, and $5/day to park. That is $20. Now, consider that I have three days off from work each week, and typically hike for two of those days. That would be $40/week. There are 52 weeks in the year, and I probably make it out hiking/climbing for at least 40 of those. That translates out to $1600/yr... That would have an impact on most of us!

Obviously this is a purely hypothetical argument... But, all of these fees have been proposed at one point or another in the not-too-distant past. If we don't stand up for the idea that we don't want fees (or at least, I don't), then I don't think it will be too long until we see these kinds of system-wide fees becoming a reality, in one form or another.

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Re: James Peak Parking now is PAY PARKING

Postby glacierPaul » Sat Apr 26, 2008 3:48 am

Hello all,
After reading many threads on many sites, I need to respond again. About me being a do gooder, I am a 5th generation Colorado native, 3rd gen. Colorado Master Plumber, own 2 businesses (plumbing and parking), Vice President of the St.Mary's Glacier Water & Sanitation District (elected public official for 8 years now), member of the Upper Clear Creek Watershed Association, lived at St. Mary's and been involved with this community for 11 years now, coordinated our annual community clean ups for 6 years which includes the trailhead/hike and a portion of Fall River Road(see sign at last switchback)as well as the entire sub-division. Have been a Warden for our lakes the whole time, As a steward to my forest I go out Sunday/Monday nights and look for fires left burning or smoldering and pack out the trash left also. Been lobbying the USFS,State, and county for 10 years to create the public amenities required for the use up here, ie , parking,trash and restrooms. I have a wife and 2 kids a 3 1/2 year old boy and a 3 month old girl. I certainly would like to think I am a do gooder, and be remembered that way as well! While some of you claim you did not ask for the services I am providing, that does not negate the fact they are needed, hell read the James Peak Wilderness Bill and the current hr4249 land exchange bill. I did these services for the public and nothing in this life is free, so I have to charge. I bet most don't realize the amount of time that goes into maintaining a parking lot year round, I did'nt either but let me tell where I sit right now. Lot -$13,000, property taxes $200(year),Re-zoning and Official Development Plan approval-$1300, porta-potty $130 month(2 this summer),
trash removal-$20 week(this is a guess will know more this summer), concrete pad/screening fence for the amenities $800 est.,signs-$800-1000, bearproof trash can $4-500,
pet waste station $400/ bag refills-$50 per box amount needed?,Fee kiosk -$500+?, snow removal- so far I have only been plowing since the end of Feb. and have spent 60+ hours and hundreds in gas, lot managment- 6am-6pm every weekend and figure an hour a day everyday, have logged in roughly 1000 man hours so far. I have come to figure out why the USFS has'nt done this up here. I guess by sheer virtue of me not closing off my property, I am a do gooder, since anywhere else in our sub-division is illegal to park and with a $60 sheriff ticket and a $150 tow, $5 sounds pretty reasonable to me. And if the property makes me some money, well every investment should yeild a return! Or at the very least pay my labor (man hours on the lot). Hell if anyone wants to buy the lot and do this, make me an offer. Lord knows I have a lot on my plate to deal with. My last point would be if you don't want to pay to use the mountains, move up to the mountains, then all you have to do is go outside your door and your there.
Thanks to all who support me and I am sorry to those who don't.
Thanks, Paul Johnson

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Re: James Peak Parking now is PAY PARKING

Postby CCSARCAP » Sat Apr 26, 2008 5:55 am

Hey Paul,

What do you do in your "spare time?" I've been reading this thread this morning and and amazed at the whinning going over here for the sake of five bucks. With your investment of about 20 grand, your loss of interest on capital and your weekly upkeep you'll recoup your money in what? 150 or 200 years!!! How dare you. LOL
Everyone---Get over it.


Thanks,

CCSARCAP
Bob

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Re: James Peak Parking now is PAY PARKING

Postby MikeyC » Sat Apr 26, 2008 8:54 am

Hi Paul,
I saw you this morning and we got to chat a bit. I was the first guy there this morning. I just thought I would say thanks for all you are doing up there. I really appreciate it. It sounds to me like you are a very busy man and care very much about your community and the mountains around it. I really hope this goes well for you and I support you. I'll see you again soon.


-Mike :D

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Re: James Peak Parking now is PAY PARKING

Postby cftbq » Sat Apr 26, 2008 9:30 am

jisherw wrote:Almost every statement in this post is either incorrect within the context or incorrect all together. I am not saying that corruption is not present within this agency, because, at some level, I am sure it is, however, I know or have known countless individuals who work for the Forest Service who work very demanding jobs, long hours for a relatively little money.


A common misconception. This is a systemic problem. No number of dedicated, well-intentioned individuals will suffice to fix it. I can have plenty of sympathy and compassion for such individuals, who honestly believe they are doing the best they can to make things better, and still believe that all their efforts are in vain, and only helping to compound the (political) problem.

jisherw wrote:Managing the land properly and effectively at the scale that the Forest Service does requires a high amount of specialized training and monetary support. I would think that if you enjoy and respect these natural areas as important and unique natural resources, paying a relatively small park fee wouldn't really be an issue.


I beg to differ. A "high amount of...monetary support" is only required under a highly over-bureaucratized model of how things ought to be done. The fact that just such a highly over-bureaucratized model has been adopted as the standard does not change this. And as for "respect[ing] these natural areas," I don't see how or why this should soften my opposition to paying parking fees in the slightest. And BTW, the characterization of such fees as "small" is a dodge in itself: They may start out "small," but they will increase in the future, and there's no real limit.

jisherw wrote:To say that this agency is "creating more opportunities for themselves to charge fees to the general public" is ridiculous. The reason that more fees are being charged is because more people then ever are utilizing these resources, furthermore, we are at a time when new management plans need to be developed for many of these areas. Conducting this field work, completing the research and compiling the reports take both time and money.


Beg to differ again. The reason that fees keep popping up where they were never seen before is that the entire mode of operation of the FS is being forcibly changed. Yes, I realize and acknowledge that the pressure for this largely originates outside the FS per se, but that is pretty cold comfort to the hiking and climbing public. As to the "management plans" being "need[ed]," this, too, is only true under an over-bureaucratized vision of how things ought to be done.

jisherw wrote:You many not see the results in your lifetime, but please try and see the big picture.


I do see the big picture, including the political big picture.
I have been to the mountaintop, and I have seen the force
and the power that animates the universe. That may not
match up with your anthropomorphic or teleological idea of
what "god" is, but it's good enough for me.

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Re: James Peak Parking now is PAY PARKING

Postby rleclair » Sat Apr 26, 2008 9:39 am

Well said Paul! It is clear with your time and expenses to date that your not "in it for the money." While I respect coloradokevin's point of view about increasing fees, personal trail ethic, trash pickup, etc., it is apparent that many others who visit the area do not - hence the "need" to institute some type of fee structure to pay for the personal expenses of maintaining a parking area on private property. Could the USFS have stepped up and purchased the land for a TH - sure. Did they - no.

As far as the comment that in the past, "This has been an area that has been parked in (for free) for as long as I can remember" - my guess is that largely it was not an issue with the property owners until the past 10-15 years. As the state's population increased and more users wanted to visit this area, parking has reached a "tipping point" where there is not enough areas to park legally (if any). Something needed to be done and Paul has stepped up. Again, if $5 fee bugs people, don't visit or use another trailhead for access. There's a ton of places in the state that are free and some, like RMNP, where you have to pay $20 entry fee valid for 7-days just to enter.

Coming from the Southeast (South Carolina) where more land is privately held than publicly land, the choices we have to recreate "freely" in Colorado are largely unlimited. So if I have to pay $5 once or twice a year to hike James Peak or practice self arrest on St. Mary's Glacier, so be it. Besides it will cost me $10-$15 just to drive there...
"Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life..."
John Muir

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Re: James Peak Parking now is PAY PARKING

Postby cftbq » Sat Apr 26, 2008 9:54 am

glacierPaul wrote:I bet most don't realize the amount of time that goes into maintaining a parking lot year round, I did'nt either but let me tell where I sit right now. Lot -$13,000, property taxes $200(year),Re-zoning and Official Development Plan approval-$1300, porta-potty $130 month(2 this summer),
trash removal-$20 week(this is a guess will know more this summer), concrete pad/screening fence for the amenities $800 est.,signs-$800-1000, bearproof trash can $4-500,
pet waste station $400/ bag refills-$50 per box amount needed?,Fee kiosk -$500+?, snow removal- so far I have only been plowing since the end of Feb. and have spent 60+ hours and hundreds in gas, lot managment- 6am-6pm every weekend and figure an hour a day everyday, have logged in roughly 1000 man hours so far. I have come to figure out why the USFS has'nt done this up here. I guess by sheer virtue of me not closing off my property, I am a do gooder, since anywhere else in our sub-division is illegal to park and with a $60 sheriff ticket and a $150 tow, $5 sounds pretty reasonable to me. And if the property makes me some money, well every investment should yeild a return!


Thanks for the figures, Paul. Lest anyone misunderstand, I certainly do appreciate your costs and the inherent problems you face. In fact, no one is more sympathetic than I am regarding the costs imposed on people like you by government (in your case, the county). I'm particularly struck by the $1,300 you had to lay out for "Re-zoning and Official Development Plan approval." This is nothing short of outrageous!
If you can manage to keep from being swept away on the twin tides of aggravation and profit lure, and hold your fees to the reasonable level <crosses fingers and sacrifices a chicken...>, I just might make my way up the Fall River Road and voluntarily pay your $5 fee one of these days. I still stand by my previous statements regarding bad trends, mind you...
I have been to the mountaintop, and I have seen the force
and the power that animates the universe. That may not
match up with your anthropomorphic or teleological idea of
what "god" is, but it's good enough for me.

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Re: James Peak Parking now is PAY PARKING

Postby Ish » Sat Apr 26, 2008 10:12 am

cftbq wrote:A common misconception.


Considering how I used to be one of those individuals, I take offense to this statement.

cftbq wrote:No number of dedicated, well-intentioned individuals will suffice to fix it.


Not that it necessary pertains to this situation, but here is a quote that I would like to share with you:

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
- Margaret Mead

cftbq wrote:A "high amount of...monetary support" is only required under a highly over-bureaucratized model of how things ought to be done.


Completely wrong, due to that fact naturally occurring forest disturbances have been suppressed throughout the 20th century, the severity of these disturbances has greatly increased. This means that when forest fires occur they effect a forest that is very often out of it's natural range of variability, greatly increasing the severity of the burn, areas that should experience low severity ground fires are now experiencing active crown fires. This is very expensive to combat, and the vast majority of the monetary funding alloted to the Forest Service goes to forest fire management and mitigation. Thousands of the ecological and silvicultural research projects are underfunded as a result of this lack of financial resources. This is in fact a scientific model, not a "highly over-bureaucratized model". If you have the scientific expertise and knowledge to determine new way to survey forest tracts, take core samples, soil samples, etc. I would love to hear it, however, I find it hard to believe that people that have dedicated their entire lives to this science haven't found this most efficient and accurate way.

cftbq wrote:As to the "management plans" being "need[ed]," this, too, is only true under an over-bureaucratized vision of how things ought to be done.


I do not know your background, so I cannot determine if you are speaking from experience, knowledge, or just personal opinion, however, in my experience many of the current forest management plans are no longer relevant in the current situation. I will not go in the specifics why because I believe that I have already given a basic background on many of the important issues facing Colorado's forests. I am curious however, how did you come to this conclusion and what scientific facts do you use as support?

rleclair wrote:I do see the big picture, including the political big picture.


The problem seems to be that you are allowing the "political big picture" to cloud you judgment and conceal your scientific notions as to allow for more effective and efficient forest management in the long term.

Thanks for everything you've done Paul.
"Though my problems are meaningless, that don't make them go away..."
- Neil Young -

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