Mt. Hood National Forest is proposing to charge new and increased fees at 26 developed recreation sites. Included in the proposed changes will be a climbing permit for those traveling above 9,500 feet April through July. Fee changes are being considered to allow the forest to continue to provide services, such as clean restrooms and trash collection, and to provide for the health and public safety expected by visitors at recreation sites. These fees will also be used for larger scale maintenance and improvement projects at sites where fees are collected.
“We recognize how important these sites are to people. The fees collected will help offset the increased costs of maintenance at these sites,” said Mt. Hood Forest Supervisor Meta Loftsgaarden. “During this public input period, we want to hear feedback and other ideas to help improve services for our visitors.”
As part of the proposal, the Forest is considering a climbing permit that will be required for anyone climbing above 9,500 ft. on Mt. Hood. The permit will fund additional climbing rangers to provide adequate climbing patrols and resource protection within the Mt. Hood Wilderness.
Additionally, the permit will allow the Forest to provide better climbing education, improve sanitary conditions while reducing human waste, enable infrastructure improvements, and provide support for search and rescue groups on the mountain. Information gathered, including permit numbers will also help inform future management options.
“Every year around 10,000 people climb Mt. Hood,” said Loftsgaarden. “The climbing permit will help both the Forest and our search and rescue partners improve safety for climbers while protecting the natural resources of this iconic place.”
The climbing permit proposal does not include a limit or cap on the number of climbing permits issued per day. The climbing permit would be required starting in January 2024.
A list of all proposed fee changes is found at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/mthood/fees
Provide Your Feedback
To ensure that your comments are considered, please email comments no later than Sept. 30 to SM.FS.MtHoodFees@usda.gov or, mail to: Mt Hood National Forest, Attention: Recreation Fees, 16400 Champion Way, Sandy, OR 97055.
Find more details about the proposal on the Mt. Hood National Forest website at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/mthood/fees
Recreation Fees on National Forests
In 2004, Congress passed the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (REA) which allows the Forest Service to collect and retain funds at certain recreation sites to operate, maintain, and improve these sites. 95% percent of the revenue from recreation fees remains on the forests to operate, maintain, and improve facilities. Recreation fees help the forests improve infrastructure at campsites and day-use sites and hire additional recreation staff during the season of operation. They also help provide quality recreation opportunities that meet the modern expectations of visitors and create a more financially sustainable recreation program for the benefit of future generations.
Under REA, all new and changing fees must be 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. If approved, recreation fee changes would take effect beginning in 2023. The climbing permit would be required starting January 2024.