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Wayne National has fee increase

Campers, picnickers, and recreational enthusiasts will see a fee increase next year at the Wayne National Forest’s Ironton District.

Recently, the Forest Service’s Regional Recreational Advisory Committee permitted the increase of certain recreation fees for facilities and trails on the 238,000-acre forest beginning Jan. 1.

Gloria Chrismer, the ranger for the Ironton District of the Wayne National Forest, said like everyone else, the forest’s costs have gone up.

“Even things like mowing cost more than it did five years ago,” she said. “A lot of times we have areas we have to mow twice a week.”

In 2008, a camping site in the Oak Hill campground, non-electric with water, will go from $12 to $16 and a site with water and electric will go from $15 to $21.

At the Iron Ridge campground, the sites with water and no electric will go from $10 to $13 and sites with electric and water will go from $13 to $18.

Rental on the picnic shelters will also go up. The roadside shelter will go from $27 to $50, the shelter by the furnace will go from $37 to $60, the Two Points shelter will go from $27 to $35 and the picnic site with the shelter will go from $17 to $30.

This is the first time that Wayne National Forest has raised its prices since 1999.

Permits to use the trails throughout the forest will also be rising.

Seasonal trail use permits will go from $25 to $45 per year and daily passes will increase to $12 from $5, while WNF’s two-day trail pass has been replaced with a three-day pass priced at $24.

“It’s expensive to keep the trails up,” Chrismer said, adding that they want to expand and increase the length of the ATV trails.

“This money comes back to the forest,” she said. “Which is the great thing about it so we can continue to make improvements.”

Over the next few years, there are other improvement projects in the works including renovating the Iron Ridge site.

“We are trying to improve it but it’s a slow process, an expensive process especially when budgets are going down,” Chrismer said.

Carleen Yocum, group leader for the Forests Recreation program, said that the revenue from the fee increases go for specific things.

“Fee revenue remains on the forest to maintain and improve sites, and can be used with other funds, including grants, for construction and maintenance of trails, campground operation, creation and purchase of maps and brochures for visitor use, user education, and provide patrol and security at recreation sites,” she said.

Yocum and Chrismer both said public feedback was used to determine what level of increase would be acceptable to forest visitors.

Results were that a moderate increase would be acceptable to more than 80% of visitors, as long as there was a reasonable expectation of an increase in services or amenities for the recreation areas and trails.

For further information on the specific camping area increases, check the forest’s Web site at www.fs.fed.us/r9/wayne, or call (740) 753-0101. To contact the Ironton Ranger District, call (740) 534-6500.