Recreation Fee/Permit Program
Frequently Asked Questions


What are visitors’ responsibilities to recreation sites on America’s public lands?
 
Managing public lands requires a major financial investment. While most funds come from general tax revenues, people who use our nation’s public lands for recreation derive a greater benefit from, and place a greater burden on, resources and facilities than the public at large. When users pay nominal fees for the use of developed recreation sites, they are ensuring that those fees are directed to the maintenance and enhancement of that site. Visitors also are asked to minimize their impact to resources and facilities so that others may enjoy them as well.

What is the BLM authorized to do under the terms of the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act?
 
 Under the Recreation Enhancement Act, the BLM:-- Collects fees at designated recreational sites, and uses those funds for the maintenance and enhancement of those sites;
  • Installs interpretive signs explaining the use of recreation use fees so the public is more aware of how the fees are being spent;
  • Ensures the public is notified through the media, flyers, newspaper ads, and the Internet when the BLM is considering a change to the fees of a site;
  • Conducts training for BLM staff, community volunteers, and cooperating groups on how the Recreation Enhancement Act affects the recreation program;
  • Pays all recreation site administration costs over 15% of total fee revenues in each state;
  • Sells the National Interagency Pass;
  • Considers and responds to county proposals to provide services; and
  • Enters into collection agreements with the Forest Service, other federal agencies, and state, county and local governments.
 
What are recreation fees used for?
 
Nearly all recreation fees are kept at the site where they were collected. They pay a minimal amount of the administrative costs of the site, but most of the money is spent on the maintenance and repair of signs and interpretive exhibits, toilet facilities, campgrounds and associated trails and roads, boat launch facilities, and a variety of other projects or visitor services that ensure the public enjoys safe and memorable visits to our public lands.
 
 
I pay federal taxes that should cover the costs of federally-managed recreation sites. Why are fees charged? 
 
The federal land-managing agencies recognize that there is legitimate debate about the extent to which recreation fees should cover the cost of recreation activities. Tax revenues pay part of the cost of maintaining facilities and visitors services on federal lands.
 
Many taxpayers and government officials think those who use the developed recreational services and facilities should pay for a larger portion of the costs.
 
Congress recognized the responsibility of visitors to bear a greater portion of the cost when it established broad recreation fee authority in 1965 under the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act and again in 2004 under the Feral Lands Recreation Enhancement Act.
 
 
Where can I find information on recreation sites and whether or not a fee is attached?
 
Individual federal agency websites and other recreation destination websites provide this information. Visit www.recreation.gov for information about state and all federal lands recreational opportunities and for links to other recreation site websites. Local BLM offices can provide additional information.
 
 
I enjoy recreating in undeveloped areas managed by the BLM. Will the Recreation Enhancement Act encourage unwanted development of these areas?
 
Visitors seek a broad range of experiences when they choose to visit federal lands, including primitive back-country adventures. For this reason, the vast majority of BLM sites will continue to remain fee-free under the Act. Even under the broad authority of the Recreation Enhancement Act, 89 percent of BLM sites do not charge fees.