The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests are interested in hearing public comments on proposed fee increases for various campgrounds and day use areas, including the Annual Day Use Permit.
The proposals include increasing the camping fee at North Creek Campground in the Arcadia area east of Buchanan, and the day use fee at Cave Mountain Lake in neighboring Rockbridge County.
The Forest Service is proposing raising the fee to camp at North Creek Campground from $10 to $15 for a single site and $20 to $30 for a double site.
The Cave Mountain Lake Day Use proposal is to go from $5 to $8 per vehicle, from $1 to $2 per person for buses and large vans, and from $1 to $2 per person on foot or bike
Cave Mountain Lake Family Campground fees are proposed to go from $15 to $20 for a single site and from $30 to $40 for a double site.
The Forest Service is also proposing to raise the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest Annual Day Use Permit from $30 to $50.
The Annual Day Use Permit to access recreation sites including Bark Camp, Brandywine, Cave Mountain Lake, Cave Springs, High Knob, North Fork of Pound, Phillips Creek, Sherando Lake, Todd Lake, Crabtree Falls and Cascades Day Use areas.
Annual Permit and day use and campground fees help fund day-to-day operational costs like cleaning, mowing, trash removal, pumping of toilet vaults and providing on-site staffing.
These fees also help fund major repairs like fixing a roof or leaking pipe in a bathhouse, or improvements like buying new picnic tables or fire rings.
Of the recreation fees collected, 80-95 percent remain on the forest to operate, maintain and improve the facilities and programs at the recreation sites, according to the Forest Service.
The proposed fee changes will bring the forest fees into better alignment with other nearby private and public campgrounds, and will help the recreation sites be more financially sustainable, the announcement from the Forest Service says. The last increase of the annual pass was in 2004. The last day use and campground fee inceases at North Creek and Cave Mountain Lake increases were in 2004/
If these fee proposals are approved, the increase would go into effect as early as spring 2018.
A decision has not been made on this proposal. The Forest Service is asking for public input before making a final decision.
For more information, visit the Forest Service website at http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/gwj. Use the “contact us” feature to submit a comment. Or, share comments on the proposed increase in the Annual Day Use Fee by writing: George Washington & Jefferson National Forests, Attn: Recreation Fee Program, 5162 Valleypointe Pkwy, Roanoke, Va. 24019; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; or call (540) 265-5100. Comments must be received by September 18.
The proposal to increase campground and day use fees will be presented before a citizen’s advisory committee, called the Southern Region Recreation Resource Advisory Committee, which helps ensure the Forest Service addresses public issues and concerns about recreation fees. The public is welcome to attend and comment at all advisory committee meetings.
To share comments about the North Creek Campground and Cave Mountain Lake proposed fee increases, by write: Glenwood & Pedlar Ranger District, Attn: Recreation Fee Program, 27 Ranger Lane, Natural Bridge Station, Va. 24579; or email email@example.com or call (540) 291-2188. Comments must be received by September 18.