Proposed changes to recreation fees identified by the Hoosier National Forest

From the Hoosier National Forest:

Currently, the Hoosier National Forest is proposing to charge new and increased fees at seven developed campgrounds and invites the public to comment on the proposal.  Improvements will be made to the sites before the fee changes are implemented.

Campers enjoy the Hickory Ridge campground. Photo courtesy the Hoosier National Forest.

Several day-use sites, overnight camping sites, and other recreation sites are managed without user fees currently on the forest.

“We recognize how important outdoor recreation is to our local communities and those who use the sites.  These fee increases will help us sustain and improve the campgrounds to the level and quality people have come to expect as well as make the fees more consistent throughout the national forest” said Stacy Duke, Forest Recreation Program Manager for the Hoosier National Forest.

The proposed fees by sites are listed in the table below:

Site NameSite TypeCurrent FeeProposed Fee
Hickory RidgeCampground (horses allowed)$0$10/night
Buzzard RoostCampground$0$10/night
Saddle LakeCampground$5$10/night
German RidgeCampground (horses allowed)$8$10/night
BlackwellCampground (horses allowed)$0$10/night
Shirley CreekCampground (horses allowed)$0$10/night
Young’s CreekCampground (horses allowed)$0$10/night

In 2004, Congress passed the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (REA) which allows the Forest Service to retain funds collected at certain recreation sites and use these funds locally to operate, maintain, and improve these sites. Ninety-five percent of the revenue from recreation fees remains on the forests to operate, maintain and improve facilities. Raising the revenue collected through recreation fees would help the forest improve and sustain infrastructure at campgrounds and day-use areas and hire additional recreation staff during the season of operation. The resources derived through collection of fees helps provide quality recreation opportunities that meet the modern expectations of visitors and creates a more financially sustainable developed recreation program for the benefit of future generations.

Under REA, all new fees and any fee changes must be proposed and approved by a citizen’s advisory committee. Committee members represent a broad array of recreation interest groups to help ensure that the Forest Service is proposing reasonable and publicly acceptable new fees and fee changes.

The Hoosier National Forest values public participation and encourages feedback on the recreation program. The public is invited to comment on the proposed fee changes to the developed recreation program. The comment period is set to end by close of business on October 31st, 2021. 

To ensure that your comments are considered, please send your comments no later than the above date to Hoosier Forest Service, Attention: Stacy Duke, Forest Recreation Program Manager, 811 Constitution Avenue, Bedford, IN 47421 or stacy.duke@usda.gov.  Comments can also be submitted online at https://bit.ly/3yxGfE7 .

Oral comments must be provided by calling (812) 275-5987 and indicating you would like to provide comments on the proposed recreation fee changes. For more information on the proposed project, visit our website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/hoosier.

Once public involvement is complete, the proposed fee changes and comments will be reviewed by a Recreation Advisory Committee, who will submit their recommendation to the Regional Forester for a final decision.

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