Tonto National Forest Proposes Fee Changes

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Recreation use fees at some of the most popular recreation sites on the Tonto National Forest would change March 1 under a current Forest Service proposal.

The proposed changes are targeted at the popular chain of lakes recreation sites and campgrounds that stretch from Roosevelt Lake to the Lower Salt River Recreation Area on the Salt River, the Bartlett Lake and Horseshoe Lake recreation areas on the Verde River, and the Seven Springs Recreation Area.

For day-use sites and shoreline access areas, fees will increase from $4 a day per vehicle and $2 a day per watercraft to $6 per vehicle and $4 per watercraft. Most agency-managed campground fees will also be changed to match day-use fees. Current charges of $10 per night for a single or $15 per night for a double unit will change to a standard charge of $6 per vehicle and $4 per watercraft at sites on Roosevelt and Apache lakes.

"This is the only fee change we've looked at in the 10 years of this program's existence," said Tonto National Forest Supervisor Gene Blankenbaker. "Not only has inflation affected how far we can stretch each dollar, but we have also assumed additional financial responsibilities, such as the navigational aids program, that have to be paid for out of these funds."

Blankenbaker added that, while many users will see their fees increase, some users such as a single family camping without a boat, will actually see their fees reduced. The proposed changes will simplify the fee structure, bring it more in line with other recreation areas around the state and allow the forest to maintain the level of services and repairs provided at affected sites.

Forest officials welcome comments on the proposal as they work to make the forest's recreation programs responsive to user needs. Written comments can be sent to Fee Coordinator, Tonto National Forest, 2324 East McDowell Road, Phoenix, AZ 85006 or by e-mail to tonto_comments@fs.fed.us.

More information is also available on the Tonto Web site: www.fs.fed.us/r3/tonto.

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