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San Gabriel Valley Recreation: Say Goodbye To The “Adventure Pass”

San Gabriel Valley Recreation: Say Goodbye To The “Adventure Pass”
San Gabriel Valley Recreation - A federal judge has ruled that the U.S. Forest Service can no longer charge fees to visitors who hike, walk and bike in the undeveloped regions of the Cleveland, Los Padres, Angeles and San Bernardino national forests." ...

San Gabriel Valley Recreation:
Say Goodbye To The "Adventure Pass"

San Gabriel Valley Recreation |Adventure Pass | Brion Costa
Deb Burgess, owner of Adams Pack Station for eight years at Chantry Flat, in Big Santa Anita Canyon in the San Gabriel Mountains is the largest seller of the Adventure Pass Program in the United States.
(Photo by Walt Mancini/Pasadena Star-News)
Controversial Fee Program Appears On Way Out 

Oneof the great recreational opportunities here in the San Gabriel Valley is afforded to us by the proximity of the San Gabriel Mountains and the Angeles National Forest. Many of us who grew up here ... some for multiple generations ... can site a long list of favorite sites for camping, hiking, and biking. Many of us have created some of our best memories with family and friends in our nearby Angeles and San Bernardino National Forests.

One of the nicest things about the forest was was free. It didn't cost anything to take a drive up Angeles Crest Highway or to the end of Santa Anita Ave and up to Chantry Flats where you could simply park anywhere ... and then hike on some great trails right off into the woods. Well, that all changed about 17 years ago when the National Forest Service instituted the "Adventure Pass" program in National Forests across the nation.

The AP program levied fees on "users" of the National forest areas. Now those "users" were not restricted to people who "used" camp sites, rest room facilities, or amenities like that. Different areas applied the rules in different ways, but in many areas "Users" were considered to be anyone in the forest. In those areas that meant you could no longer hike or bike into an area for an excursion and then leave ... without paying the AP fee.

For many years now, the Adventure Pass program has been challenged in various courts all over the nation. Now a federal judge has ruled that in our local National Forests ... the Cleveland, Los Padres, Angeles, and San Bernardino forests ... the US Forest Service can no longer charge the AP fees unless someone is actually using provided facilities. People who are merely hiking, biking, or driving through the National Forest areas cannot be charged.

Here's a comprehensive article by Steve Scauzillo in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune:.

Adventure Pass Nixed For Visitors Who Hike, Bike Into Southern California Forests ... - San Gabriel Valley Tribune Fri, 09 May 2014 17:38:34 GMT
“The Forest Service is prohibited from charging a fee solely for parking,” Hatter wrote. ... The Forest Service is reviewing last week’s ruling. In the meantime, visitors can park for free unless they use amenities like toilets or picnic tables. ... “They can’t charge a person who doesn’t use the facilities,” said Matt Kenna, attorney for the hikers. “Just because there is a picnic table next to a trail head, they still can’t charge that person.” ...
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Enjoy Our Local Forest - Support The Work Of The US Forest Service

Our local National Forest is one of the "jewels" of the area's recreational opportunities. Over the last 17 years the funding from the Adventure Pass program has provided for much of the maintenance and development of facilities we've seen in the forest areas. This loss of AP funding could potentailly be a "hard knock" for the forest service to absorb. While we appreciate the idea of not having to pay the Adventure Pass fee every year, let's keep in mind that our forest recreational areas do need maintenance. Trails, parking areas, rest room facilities, campgrounds ... all of these things cost money to build and to maintain. If we're going to eliminate the Adventure Pass funding, let's keep in mind the needs of the Forest Service when it comes to allocating tax funding in the future.

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