Congress recognized the responsibility of visitors to contribute a greater portion of this funding when it first established broad fee authority over forty years ago. Today, recreation fee authority is authorized by the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (REA; Public Law 108-447) of 2004 . The rationale behind the authority is that those who use specific services and facilities should pay for a larger portion of the costs, rather than require taxpayers who never use the amenities to assume the entire cost.
REA grants recreation fee authority to the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to maintain and improve the quality of visitor amenities and services. REA authorizes the following fee categories:
Standard Amenity Fees
Examples/Short Description : Picnic areas, developed trailheads, and destination visitor or interpretation centers. Each standard amenity fee site must contain at least the following six "amenities" -- picnic tables, trash receptacle, toilet facility, parking, interpretive signing, and security services.
Expanded Amenity Fees
Examples/Short Description : Campgrounds, highly developed boat launches and swimming areas, cabin or lookout rentals. Services like hookups, dump stations, special tours, transportation systems and reservation services. Expanded amenity fees provide direct benefits to individuals or groups from specific or specialized facilities, equipment or services.
Special Recreation Permits
Examples/Short Description : Certain special areas, such as off-highway vehicle areas, shooting ranges, and specialized trail systems. Authorizations for commercial use, competitive events, group activities, and recreation events. These permits are issued when extra measures are required for natural and cultural resource protection, or to provide for the health and safety of visitors. They may also be used to disperse recreation use or help ensure that the number of visitors does not exceed the capacity of the land. Do I need a pemit?
The collection of recreation fees also supports the Department of the Interior’s 2007-2012 Strategic Plan Performance Goal “to provide for and receive fair value in recreation”and conforms with the BLM's “Priorities for Recreation and Visitor Services” strategic plan. BLM recreation fee programs support the protection of natural resources, provide for public health and safety, facilitate access to the public lands, and enhance visitor amenities and services.
Click on the following links to access additional BLM recreation permit and fee information:
Recreation Fee Program Manager