Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | monterey county
Sierra Club Response to US Forest Service Plans to Raise Fees in Los Padres National Forest and Beaches
Cape San Martin on the South Big Sur Coast, a spectacular sight for users of day use areas and campsites scheduled for fee increases. (Photo: Rita Dalessio).
The United States Forest Service (USFS) is proposing to privatize 52 recreation sites in the Los Padres National Forest, including the Big Sur coast, with little opportunity for public comment. USFS intends to issue a concession campground and recreation site Special Use Permit (SUP) to a private parks management firm to oversee and manage government-owned facilities. Many of the fees charged at these sites will increase significantly (some as much as 300%) with little or no increase in services or amenities, which will have a direct socioeconomic impact on all forest users. The plan – scheduled to be approved this month – would apply to popular campgrounds, day use areas, and some trailheads in Monterey, Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo counties.
Monterey Ranger District properties affected would include Arroyo Seco Campground (CG), Arroyo Seco Day Use Area, Bottcher’s Gap CG, Kirk Creek CG, Nacimiento CG, Plaskett Creek CG, Ponderosa CG, Mill Creek Day Use Area, Sand Dollar Day Use Area, Willow Creek Day Use Area, and Pfeiffer Beach Day Use Area, Memorial CG, Escondido CG, White Oaks CG, and China Camp CG.
Several Sierra Club Central Coast Chapters are partnering with a variety of outdoor organizations including Los Padres ForestWatch to review and respond to the proposal. (See PDF letter here).