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Mt. Evans Road Fiasco GETS WORSE?

Colorado 14ers access and fee issues only, please
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Re: Mt. Evans Road Fiasco GETS WORSE?

Postby D8S » Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:32 am

CVV15er wrote:

But does anyone know if this means you don't have to pay the $3 charge for cycling up to the top?


The easy answer is no, you don't have to pay to bicycle to the top. Even the Forest Service admits that if you don't stop you don't have to pay.

But if you might decide to stop, look at the cost / risk analysis. If you stop (at a developed site: undeveloped areas are free if you're near your bike) and don't have a pass, the Forest Service might (only if they catch you, which doesn't seem likely) hand you a notice of non-compliance telling you to pay $3, the exact same amount you would have paid in the first place. And even if you do get a notice, they Forest Service proudly claims no one has ever been prosecuted for failing to pay.

That said, if you stop at the Nature Center (milepost 3) you should pay. It (almost) meets the legal requirements for charging the fee.

Check out the following post for more details.

Dave

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Re: Mt. Evans Road Fiasco GETS WORSE?

Postby D8S » Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:33 am

In 1997 the US Forest Service began collecting entrance fees on Mt Evans under the Recreational Fee Demonstration Program (RFDP) After substantial public outcry, Congress replaced the RFDP with the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA, or REA) on December 8th, 2004.

The FLREA is considerably more restrictive than the RFDP, and prohibits entrance fees, fees solely for parking, fees for general access, and very importantly on Mt. Evans, prohibits fees for overlooks.

Five days after the law was passed, the Forest Service recognized that it could no longer charge for scenic overlooks, sending out a memo on December 13th, 2004 that stated "Do not charge: at overlooks and scenic pullouts"

http://www.westernslopenofee.org/pdfuploads/E00120_WO_Memo_2004_12_13_Annotated.pdf

As a result of the new law, the Forest Service convened a board to review the fee collection authority for Mt. Evans. In the board's review, it lists one of the 4 sites on Mt. Evans as the "Summit/Overlook"

http://www.westernslopenofee.org/pdfuploads/E00127_REA_Compliance_Chart_Annotated.pdf

In May of 2008, after numerous attempts to get the Forest Service to comply with the law, a group of Colorado citizens filed a lawsuit in federal court. As a result of that lawsuit, the Forest Recreation Program Manager for the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests issued a sworn declaration concerning when the Forest Service requires visitors to pay a fee on Mt. Evans. Concerning overlooks, he wrote:

"there are no developed scenic pullouts or overlooks along the road leading up Mt. Evans." (emphasis added)


If there are no scenic pullouts or overlooks along the road leading up Mt. Evans, that would clearly indicate that the the site at the top of the Mt. Evans road is recognized as a scenic pullout or overlook.

Concerning whether a fee is required for stopping along the side of the road to take a picture, he wrote:

"If, however, someone at the Mt. Evans fee station states that he or she is not
stopping within the HIRA other than to take a picture at a pull-off or simply to take in the
view
, the Forest Service will not charge that person the standard amenity recreation fee." (emphasis added)


and

"at undeveloped sites, occupied parked vehicles or unoccupied parked
vehicles where the occupants are in close proximity to the vehicle are considered to be in
through-travel status and therefore not subject to the recreation fee at that location"


http://www.westernslopenofee.org/pdfuploads/E00609_Cruz_Declaration_Annotated.pdf

So according to sworn testimony, if you want to drive up the road, stop, and get out of your car to take a picture, according to Mr. Cruz, you are not required to pay the fee.

So why is it that when you visit the entrance station, you are told that if you stop you have to pay? The answer may lie in the following quotes from a 2005 email. In it, the author, a recreation manager for region 2 (Colorado and Wyoming) states:

"Law says that if people are driving through they don't have to pay unless they stop to use the facilities."


Actually, the law says unless a visitor uses the facilities and services. 6803(d)(1)(D) Nevertheless, the email goes on to say:

"Don't advertise this capability, but if the visitor asks you have no choice but to let them through"


http://www.westernslopenofee.org/pdfuploads/E00128_DeVore_Email_Annotated.pdf

It seems the Forest Service has decided to not "advertise this capability" by not properly informing the entrance station attendants, who tell people if you stop you have to pay.

As if that wasn't interesting enough, the 2008 operating plan clearly defines the Forest Service's lack of fee enforcement authority at Summit Lake Denver Mountain Park. It states:

"Summit Lake is City and County of Denver property and the Forest Service has no authority to write violation notices for this area".


http://www.westernslopenofee.org/pdfuploads/E00454_2008_Operating_Plan_Annotated.pdf

So the Forest Service seems to be saying that any notices you receive at Summit Lake Denver Mountain Park are not enforceable.

Obviously, the Forest Service has created one big mess that only the courts or the Forest Service can resolve. The court has had the case since February, and doesn't seem to be in a hurry to issue its decision; the Forest Service seems happy collecting the fees regardless of whether they're owed or not.

At least the FLREA expires in 2014.....

Dave

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Re: Mt. Evans Road Fiasco GETS WORSE?

Postby peter303 » Thu Jun 03, 2010 8:29 am


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Re: Mt. Evans Road Fiasco GETS WORSE?

Postby steventraylor » Thu Jun 03, 2010 11:43 am

http://cbs4denver.com/local/mount.evans.road.2.1722991.html


That is me after my 2nd ski of the day in the news 4 piece. 2.5 seconds of fame!

Oh yeah the fee seems like overkill as usual ...I am still reading about this and I am sure the feds are trying to get some cash if possible.

On a side note I was told to put out my charcoal grill with Brats in the Summit Lake parking lot...how can USFS enforce their Wilderness Act laws on land that is owned by C and C of D mountain parks.

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Re: Mt. Evans Road Fiasco GETS WORSE?

Postby nomadelmundo » Mon Aug 09, 2010 3:43 pm

I'm gonna try the same thing if I ever head up there and record it the video and post it ... good post! =D>
Maxmius - What we do in life echoes in eternity.

Re: Mt. Evans Road Fiasco GETS WORSE?

Postby Bean » Tue Jul 05, 2011 7:55 am

Rode my bike up yesterday and was hassled by a FS employee, stating that I was required to pay the $3 because I dared to touch a concrete sidewalk at the edge of the parking lot (an overlook).
gdthomas wrote:Bean, you're an idiot.

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Re: Mt. Evans Road Fiasco GETS WORSE?

Postby BillMiddlebrook » Tue Jul 05, 2011 8:06 am

Bean wrote:Rode my bike up yesterday and was hassled by a FS employee, stating that I was required to pay the $3 because I dared to touch a concrete sidewalk at the edge of the parking lot (an overlook).

Did you pay it?
Only SNOW will end the madness

Re: Mt. Evans Road Fiasco GETS WORSE?

Postby Bean » Tue Jul 05, 2011 8:12 am

BillMiddlebrook wrote:
Bean wrote:Rode my bike up yesterday and was hassled by a FS employee, stating that I was required to pay the $3 because I dared to touch a concrete sidewalk at the edge of the parking lot (an overlook).

Did you pay it?

I can neither confirm nor deny. If I say "yes," I look like a cowardly sissy who hates America and gives in to an overbearing government agency acting well outside the scope of its legal authority, on Independence Day of all days. If I say "no," I incriminate myself publicly.
gdthomas wrote:Bean, you're an idiot.

http://throughpolarizedeyes.com

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Re: Mt. Evans Road Fiasco GETS WORSE?

Postby Kojones » Tue Jul 05, 2011 8:35 am

I think he paid it. :)

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Re: Mt. Evans Road Fiasco GETS WORSE?

Postby larkinrx2 » Tue Jul 05, 2011 5:56 pm

Bean wrote:I can neither confirm nor deny. If I say "yes," I look like a cowardly sissy who hates America and gives in to an overbearing government agency acting well outside the scope of its legal authority, on Independence Day of all days. If I say "no," I incriminate myself publicly.


i read this as saying "no" would be declaring yourself an American on the greatest of all days, Independence day
What do you think I'm some kind of a jerk or something! - That's all I need the ashtray, the remote control, the paddle game, and this magazine, and the chair and I don't need one other thing, except my dog.
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Re: Mt. Evans Road Fiasco GETS WORSE?

Postby D8S » Tue Jul 12, 2011 6:25 pm

Bean, I 'd just like to make sure I understand correctly. The Forest Service employee told you that you owed the fee because you touched the concrete at the edge of the parking area at the summit overlook? I ask because this seems to insinuate that the FS is considering the concrete sidewalk to be the edge of the road, and that they are NOT harassing motorists and/or bicyclists who do not leave the asphalt.

I'm reading a lot into this, but it does help to know what they are thinking.

FYI, in documents from 2007 the FS stated that 17% of people who were given a Notice of Required Fee (NeRF) never paid it, and to this day not one has ever been prosecuted.

Dave

Re: Mt. Evans Road Fiasco GETS WORSE?

Postby Bean » Tue Jul 12, 2011 8:10 pm

D8S wrote:Bean, I 'd just like to make sure I understand correctly. The Forest Service employee told you that you owed the fee because you touched the concrete at the edge of the parking area at the summit overlook? I ask because this seems to insinuate that the FS is considering the concrete sidewalk to be the edge of the road, and that they are NOT harassing motorists and/or bicyclists who do not leave the asphalt.

I'm reading a lot into this, but it does help to know what they are thinking.

FYI, in documents from 2007 the FS stated that 17% of people who were given a Notice of Required Fee (NeRF) never paid it, and to this day not one has ever been prosecuted.

Dave

Yes, you understand correctly. For the purpose of clarification, here is a photo. The concrete that I'm standing on is the concrete to which I refer. The edge of asphalt is mere inches away from being in view on the left side, and the bike rack is about 2 feet away from there. I was told by a USFS employee that I owed the fee for standing there long enough to get a photo taken.
gdthomas wrote:Bean, you're an idiot.

http://throughpolarizedeyes.com

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