In response to big_load's reply:
When the Permanent Fee Demo was rammed through by the Senate last fall, one of the criteria for collecting use fees is that the area have "improvements". Specifically, these are parking lots, rest rooms and picnic facilities (as well as signs & the like).
You can bet that this is/was no gift, and that if the USFS, etc. could ( by having installed these improvements) charge for using their areas, WE'D be paying... and HOW. they are, as we speak, planning major upgrades to myriad areas for this express purpose.
There are more fees to come, as well...
See pages 8,9
http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/program ... elines.pdf
The real "fly-in-the-ointment" is the ambiguous "High Impact Recreation Area" or HIRA, whereby the feds can skirt the aforementioned requirement to have a host of improvements prior to charging a fee, and again ram-through a fee for an area that fails the "amenity test".
A perfect example would be Sedona, the illustrious Home of the Red Rock Pass.
The road leading to trailheads out on 525C (Dogie, Casner T/H) are barely passable after a rain and the trailheads themselves have zero amenities, but yet the USFS collects a fee for this T/H. Another inequity that comes to mind is that if you hike DOWN West Fork from Woody Mountain there is no fee; however if you hike UP from the parking lot on 89A (rest rooms/kiosks, etc. included) there is a +/- $5.00 fee.
So are we paying for use of the forest or convienent access?
Maybe parking meters and pay toilets are the answer....
I'm climbing down off of my box now...........