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USFS wilderness fee plan draws negative comments

wilderness area generic
KTVZ file

SALEM, Ore. (AP) —  A plan that would require purchasing a permit before entering three of Oregon’s most popular wilderness areas has received a largely negative response.

The Statesman-Journal reports that more than 13,700 comments were submitted on a proposal to charge $4 to $11 per day to enter the Three Sisters, Mount Jefferson and Mount Washington wilderness areas beginning in 2020.

The comments, which came from across the country, echo the idea that while action is needed to combat overcrowding and garbage on wilderness trails, the proposal is too costly and restrictive.

“There is something amiss when an American citizen has to pay a fee to hike on their lands, which are really our birthright, not a commodity to be ‘sold,’” said George Nickus, executive director of Wilderness Watch.

The Montana-based advocacy group marshaled more than 10,000 comments opposing the proposal by having people submit a pre-written form letter.

Forest Service officials said they’ll use all the comments to shape a final decision. They pointed out that public comments already played a role in limiting the scope of the plan.

“I wouldn’t say the response was surprising — fees are rarely popular,” said Matt Peterson, who led the project for the U.S. Forest Service. “We appreciate everyone that sent in suggestions. Public comments have been important to this entire process.”

The Forest Service has been working for three years on a plan to limit crowds in the three wilderness areas, which includes 450,000 acres of Oregon’s most scenic backcountry.

Population growth in Central Oregon and the Willamette Valley has led to a spike in visitors, bringing increased garbage, human poop and damage to sensitive alpine regions.

The Associated Press



  1. Apparently more people need to observe cats – how often does anyone find cat poop? I get it might be difficult to bury on the sidewalks of Portland but in the woods???? Common……….

      1. Well that’s just it–the public doesn’t actually “own” public land–at least, not in a practical way. The “public” pays for the privilege of being able to USE the land, but the government (greatly influenced by corporations) is the DE FACTO owner of “public” lands. Don’t agree? I would point you to all the fee systems imposed on the public for the privilege of accessing national parks and wilderness areas. It sucks, but that’s the truth like it or not.

    1. we the people pay taxes to finance the care of our public lands, as it should be – much better that than our tax money going by the truckload to subsidizing fossil fuel industries – how do such things even happen?

  2. It is the Yuppies also They think we owe it to them They can’t follow simple rules / Law’s just like the Lava cave’s you use to be able to tour them free but that was ruined also by the Rock Climbers & Caver’s pushing one another car’s into the openings Wish the State/ County / Cities would fine these people big time They ruined it for those that follow the Law’s & rules I have a very high hatered for the Yuppies as they have ruined Bend & the local area’s

  3. We shouldn’t have to pay to walk through what we have already paid for. Tax Facebook or Nike or Amazon or Apple of Google if you need money. Quit taxing people that already work for and pay pay taxes for our federal lands.

    1. or, quit squandering our tax money on fossil fuel subsidies (why do trillions of our tax $$$ go to the most profitable industry the world has ever known?) and maybe there would be some money for things that actually benefit the people of this country

    1. if you really want to get angry, look into where most of our tax money goes – our tax money should pay for things that benefit the citizens of this country, not enriching the ridiculously wealthy

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