A recent article that appeared in news outlets around the country misportrayed a recent court decision that has the Forest Service currently reevaluating portions of its recreational fee system.
Visitors to national forests should continue expect to pay the established recreation fees that are currently in place. The U.S. Forest Service has charged user fees since 1965 and, since the mid-1990s, more than 90 percent of those fees have been used for improvements to the areas where the fees have been collected.
The Forest Service began a review of all recreation fees two years ago, and in January made preliminary proposals on their future status. Under these proposals, 26 national forest areas will still require visitor fees, down from the current 90 areas nationwide. However, no final decision can or will be made until the proposals are reviewed by the local Recreation Resource Advisory Committees, which will be meeting throughout 2012. All Advisory Committee meetings are open to the public and include opportunities for public comment.