GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4)– It might cost visitors more to visit the popular mixed use Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area. The U.S. Forest Service wants to increase fees to match the increase in visitors.
The proposal would raise the current individual day pass fee from $6 to $10 with the season pass increasing from $40 to $65. There hasn’t been a fee increase at the area since 2005.
Visitation has nearly doubled from 16,726 visitors in 2002-2003 to more than 32,000 visitors last season.
The Forest Service is collecting public comment on the proposal.
“Last Saturday we had cars that couldn’t park in the parking lot. There were no spaces left. That was by 10 o’clock,” said Dillon District Ranger Bill Jackson.
“White River National Forest is the most visited national forest in the country.”
If the increased fee is adopted, visitors would enjoy upgraded facilities and services like improved plowing of parking lots, more frequent and consistent trail grooming, automated fee stations that accept credit cards and increased ranger presence and information services.
“Ninety-five percent of the fees generated at this location stay at this location,” said Jackson.
The area has operated at a deficit for the past two years.
“We’re not a moneymaking operation, we just want to cover our costs,” said Jackson.
Public comments are being accepted online through April 14 at Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area.