Recreation passes will still be required, but the ability to pay onsite will be removed at an estimated twelve sites beginning this summer along the Oregon Coast. Onsite payment will also be removed from an additional four sites located at Marys Peak and along the Alsea River corridor in the spring of 2014.
Theft from fee tubes and fee tube vandalism is a chronic problem at some recreation facilities. The Forest is losing revenue because of theft, and repair or replacement of vandalized tubes is time-consuming and costly. The primary focus on investing fee collections should be to enhance visitor experience at these sites, such as clean toilets, trash service, and environmental education, instead of spending the fees to address theft and vandalism of fee tubes.
Siuslaw National Forest officials urge recreationists to plan ahead for outings to day use sites by purchasing passes in advance of their visit. Visitors can purchase recreation passes at Forest Service offices, from participating local businesses, and online.
“We are working hard to ensure that our visiting public has a clear understanding of where to purchases passes”, said Stacey Forson, Recreation Staff Officer for the Siuslaw National Forest. “In most cases, a recreation pass can be obtained within a mile or so of recreation sites where onsite fee payment tubes are not available.”
The Siuslaw National Forest operates and maintains over 50 recreation day use sites where a recreation pass is required. The widespread ability to pay day use fees onsite was provided as a visitor convenience and to increase payment compliance. Recreation fees support the daily operation of highly developed facilities, including boating sites, OHV staging areas, interpretive viewpoints, trails, and picnic areas. Fees help support facility upgrades, as well as repair and maintenance of damaged and aging infrastructure.
“We have an incredible array of opportunities for people who come to the Forest, from fully accessible walkways and platforms at scenic overlooks in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Areas, to outstanding interpretive trails and visitor centers,” Forson shared. “We want to invest resources wisely to ensure we can provide the services our visitors need to safely and comfortably enjoy what their Forest has to offer”.
Due to its remote location, visitors to Marys Peak Scenic Botanical Area and Rivers Edge day use area will want to plan ahead by obtaining recreation passes in advance. The fee tube at Conner’s Camp Trailhead was destroyed last fall by vandals and the fee tube at the Observation Point was continually damaged by vandals throughout the summer. Options to pay onsite have been restored for this season, but the District plans to eventually remove fee tubes altogether on Marys Peak and at Rivers Edge beginning in the spring of 2014.
“Vandalism continues to take its toll on the facilities at Marys Peak and Rivers Edge. We’re working to keep these sites clean and serviceable, and are making some needed improvements,” said Michele Jones, District Ranger for the Central Coast Ranger District and Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. “We’re just asking people to be prepared and to obtain passes in advance of their trip, and not rely on an onsite fee payment.”
Recreation passes can be purchased at all Forest Service offices and visitor centers in Corvallis, Hebo, Waldport, Cape Perpetua and Reedsport, and through partner vendors. A statewide “vendor finder”, as well as options to purchase passes online, is available at http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/r6/passes-permits/recreation.