Buffalo Pass fee proposed | SteamboatToday.com

Buffalo Pass fee proposed

Forest Service seeks comments from backcountry users

Allison Plean

— Snowmobilers, cross-country skiers and other winter users of the Buffalo Pass Recreation Area would be required to pay a $5 daily-use fee under a recent proposal by the U.S. Forest Service.

Forest Service officials are now asking for public comment about that proposal, which would take effect for the 2007-08 winter, and a proposal that would require a nightly rental fee of $100 to sleep in the historic Summit Creek Guard Station.

Current users of the Buffalo Pass Recreation Area are required to have free permits to take part in any outdoor activity between Dec. 15 and March 31. This is the second year for which the free permits are required. Forest Service officials said the proposed $5 fee would help fund management of the most popular areas, administer the permit system and provide backcountry patrols.

“The intensity and variety of uses has led to user conflicts, safety issues and avalanche danger,” said Jamie Kingsbury, district ranger for the Hahn’s Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District. “The permit will include information about backcountry etiquette, avalanche danger and sharing groomed trails, which should help to alleviate some of these conflicts.”

The Forest Service is encouraging people to educate themselves about the rules and regulations in the areas they frequent. A map detailing the boundaries, along with permit information, can be viewed at http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/mbr.

The free daily permits are available at trailheads, and a free season-long permit is available at the Steamboat Springs Forest Service office, 925 Weiss Drive.

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The proposed $100 fee is for a nightly rental of the Summit Creek Guard Station in Columbine. The house sleeps as many as eight people and includes indoor plumbing, propane heat and electricity.

The Guard Station is available to rent from mid-May to late October.

Comments regarding either of the proposals are due by May 31, 2007. Comments can be e-mailed to r2_mbr_vis@FSNOTES. Write “recreation fees” in the subject line. Comments also can be mailed to Ray George, Recreation Staff, Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests, 2468 Jackson St., Laramie, WY 82070.

– To reach Allison Plean, call 871-4204

or e-mail aplean@steamboatpilot.com