The unique and diverse natural landscapes and world-class visitor facilities of the Bureau of Land Management are among America's greatest treasures — and most are open to recreational use. As more and more people call the West home, more people are recreating on BLM-managed lands. Expectations have risen along with the number of visitors.
Ensuring that the public lands offer recreational facilities and services that meet or exceed visitor expectations requires an investment of financial resources. Tax revenues pay part of these costs, but recreation fee revenues supplement general appropriations to facilitate access to public lands, and protect natural resources and public health and safety at the recreation sites where they are collected. Nearly all recreation fees are kept at the site where they are collected.
The Recreation Enhancement Act authorizes the BLM and other Federal agencies to collect user fees for certain recreational activities in the interest of maintaining and improving the quality of visitor services and amenities.
Rather than requiring taxpayers who never use the amenities to assume the entire cost, the Act allows management agencies and visitors who enjoy the amenities to partner in sharing costs.
What do BLM visitors say about fees?
The BLM surveyed users at over 100 recreation areas across the country, including about 60 fee sites. Data from approximately 11,000 respondents – 8,700 of whom visited fee sites – indicate a high customer satisfaction level, with over 80% of those responding indicating that the value of their recreation experience equaled the fee charged.
"The truth is, I would pay whatever amount to get into the recreation site as long as I know the money goes back to the site."
"The entrance fee was reasonable and not prohibitive so a wide range of economic groups can enjoy the priviledge of experiencing the recreation site."