The BLM welcomes input on fee increases within Sand Flats Recreation Area
MOAB, Utah – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Grand County, Utah, cooperatively manage the Sand Flats Recreation Area and are seeking input on a proposal to implement changes to recreation fees. Located just two miles from Moab, Utah, the Sand Flats Recreation Area is home to many iconic mountain biking and off-highway vehicle trails, as well as to nine popular campgrounds. Well-known trails include the Slickrock Trail, Hell’s Revenge, and Fins and Things.
“We appreciate the partnership between the BLM and Grand County at Sand Flats Recreation Area,” said Moab Field Manager Dave Pals. “Through this partnership, we are able to provide excellent amenities and services for the 250,000 annual visitors. The proposed fee increases are designed to ensure we can continue to provide world-class recreation opportunities and experiences in the recreation area.”
“Each member of our team helps ensure the responsible stewardship of the Sand Flats Recreation Area,” said Sand Flats Recreation Area Director Andrea Brand. “Each dollar paid by visitors goes toward staffing the contact station; maintaining 45 miles of trails, facilities, and 146 campsites; completing backcountry patrols; developing educational displays, brochures, and maps; and administration of the 9,000-acre recreation area.”
The publicly available draft Sand Flats Recreation Area Business Plan outlines information related to the recreation fee sites, proposed fee changes, operation and maintenance costs, planned expenditures, financial analyses and potential impacts of fee changes.
Fees in the recreation area were first implemented in 1996 and were last modified in 2016. The BLM and the Grand County Sand Flats Recreation Area team propose the fee changes to be implemented over a period of three years.
The business plan includes the following modifications:
- Changing the fee for day use to $10 for four-wheeled vehicles and $5 for bicycles or motorcycles. The day-use pass would be valid for seven days. This would remove the single-day option to pay $5 for four-wheeled vehicles and $2 for bicycles or motorcycles.
- Eliminate the $5 per-vehicle-towed vehicle fee.
- Increasing the fee for a day-use annual pass from $25 to $50.
- Increasing the fee for camping in developed campsites within Sand Flats Recreation Area from $15 per vehicle to $30 per vehicle.
- Increasing the fee for camping in group sites from $60 to $100.
The cost of providing recreational services has increased steadily since the current rates were established. From 2017 through 2021, visitation has increased by 46 percent. During that time, roads, trails, and facilities within Sand Flats Recreation Area deteriorated in part because of increased use. As required by the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act of 2004, the proposed fee increases were determined through a comparative-cost analysis of similar recreation sites throughout the region. Sand Flats is a self-supporting entity and all fees collected are utilized by the Grand County Sand Flats Management Team for services, maintenance and improvements to the recreation area.
The proposal and detailed business plan are available at: www.blm.gov/programs/recreation/permits-and-fees/business-plans. Comments should be addressed to Katie Stevens at the BLM Moab Field Office, 82 East Dogwood Moab, UT 84532, or BLM_UT_MB_Comments@blm.gov. Comments on the proposal must be submitted or emailed by April 16, 2023. The fee proposal will be reviewed by the BLM Utah Resource Advisory Council on May 17, 2023. More information about the upcoming public meeting can be found in the Federal Register.
Those who provide comments are advised that before including personal identifying information (address, email, phone number) be aware that the entire comment – including personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. While those commenting can ask in their comments to withhold this information from public review, the BLM cannot guarantee that the agency will be able to do so.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.