Mark Twain National Forest asks public to share feedback on proposed changes to recreation fees

RDN REPORTS
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Mark Twain National Forest is proposing fee changes at multiple recreation sites to assist with offering customer service into the future. 

The public now has an opportunity to view and comment on the proposed fee changes by visiting an interactive map online at https://usfs.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/index.html?appid=90c478a1194a43da81b726cc47d64f05.

“We value your opinions and need to hear from you so we can make decisions that enable visitors to get the most enjoyment from their national forest lands, now and into the future,” Forest Planning and Collaboration Staff Officer Theresa Davidson said. 

Last year, incorporating public feedback, the forest went through recreation site analysis and developed a five-year recreation facility strategy.  

This strategy identified the need for fee changes at multiple sites across Mark Twain National Forest.  

Although the fee adjustment process is a separate process from the strategy development, it is happening concurrently and supporting the newly adjusted five-year recreation strategy. 

Ninety-five percent of the fees collected at sites go back to Mark Twain National Forest’s recreation program. Fees collected at forest recreation sites will be utilized primarily for day-to-day maintenance costs like trash removal and toilet servicing.  

Revenue generated by the proposed fees could also be used to leverage federal funding, grants, and partnership contributions to: fund maintenance and upgrades to features and facilities such as toilets, docks and ramps, picnic tables and grills, parking lots and access roads, and interpretive and informational signing; and to restore natural resources damaged by visitor use.

The forest is also proposing to increase the Forest Annual Pass, which gives visitors unlimited access to developed, day-use fee-sites throughout the Forest, from $20 to $40. 

To see more about the proposals and how they relate to the sustainable recreation strategy, visit the Forest website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/mtnf/home/?cid=FSEPRD735169.

The forest began accepting comments on June 1 and will continue to accept comments through Nov. 1.  

Although the interactive map is the preferred way for the Forest Service to receive feedback, comments can also be submitted via mail or sent via email.  

They can be mailed to Mark Twain National Forest Supervisor’s Office, 401 Fairgrounds Road, Rolla, MO 65401. Alternatively, comments can be emailed to SM.FS.MTNF_Rec@usda.gov.  

Please make the subject line “Recreation Fee Proposal.”  

After public comments are reviewed and any adjustments made, the fee proposals will be presented before a citizen’s advisory committee called the Region 9 Recreation Resource Advisory Committee for final approval.  

For more information please contact Thomas Saylors, Mark Twain National Forest Recreation Program Manager, at 573-341-7472.