The previous Recreation Fee Demonstration program was enacted by Congress in 1996. In December 2004, Congress enacted the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act, which gave federal agencies a long-term, multi-agency recreation fee program. Recreation fees provide crucial resources that allow federal agencies to respond to increased recreation demand on federal lands. The goal is to provide visitors with a quality recreation experience through enhanced facilities and services.
The Act enables federal agencies to have three types of fees called Standard, Expanded, and Special Recreation Permits.
Standard fees are typical day use fees. Sites or areas must have specific features and amenities in order to qualify as a fee site.
Expanded fees are fees that provide direct benefits to individuals or groups. They include things like developed campgrounds, cabin rentals, highly developed boat docks and swimming areas. They may also include services like hookups, dump stations, special tours and reservations services.
Individual Special Recreation Permits are for areas where natural and cultural resources need protection or where extra measures are required for the health and safety of visitors. Permits may be required for places like wilderness areas, shooting ranges and specialized trail systems.