Interagency partners propose fee change at South Fork of the Snake River access sites

IDAHO FALLS — The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Upper Snake Field Office, U.S. Forest Service, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and Bonneville, Jefferson and Madison counties are seeking public comment on an interagency proposal to change usage fees at 10 developed boat access sites on the South Fork of the Snake River and Main Snake River in southeast Idaho. The proposed fees will enable the agencies and partners to improve services and amenities at the sites, ensuring they remain operational for years to come. Although maintenance costs have increased, fees at the boater access sites have not changed in more than 20 years. 

“This fee partnership between federal and state agencies and local governments has a long, successful history of putting funding directly on the ground at the sites the public uses,” said Jeremy Casterson, BLM Upper Snake Field Manager. “As use and costs increase, our partnership cannot keep up with the required maintenance and facility upgrades based on the current fees, which have stayed at the same level since we started the program in 1997.” 

Current fees for use of the 10 developed boat access sites, unchanged in 24 years, have been $3 per vehicle/per day, $30 for a single season pass, or $45 for a double season pass. The rising cost of materials and labor, combined with increasing demand, has made it difficult to keep up routine maintenance and improvements. The current proposal would change the vehicle day fee from $3 to $5, and the season passes would increase to $40 for a single season pass and $55 for a double season pass.

“The South Fork of the Snake River is a popular destination for our constituency,” said James White, Regional Supervisor for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game Upper Snake Region. “We believe the proposed fee change would ultimately lead to increased satisfaction by users of these sites and additional funding to utilize in efforts to continue to enhance and maintain these popular public access sites.”

Fees are collected from May 24 through Sept. 30 each season. The South Fork of the Snake River Fee Program includes 10 developed boat access sites, with management spread between the BLM, U.S. Forest Service, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and Bonneville, Jefferson and Madison Counties. One hundred percent of fees generated through this program fund on-the-ground projects and maintenance at any of the 10 sites, regardless of where the fees were paid. In 2021, funds generated by collected fees will pay for asphalt paving of the gravel access roads and parking lots at both the Palisades Dam and Palisades Creek boat access locations.

Beginning in 2015, interagency partners started obtaining comments from the public on whether to change the fees. Over 50 public comments were received, with 66% of respondents favoring a change.

“Use of these sites increases every year, which creates a need for more maintenance and a desire for better improvements” said Tracy Hollingshead, District Ranger for the U.S. Forest Service Palisades Ranger District. “Many users of these sites have documented their support for a fee change on their fee envelopes.”

A Draft Business Plan for the South Fork of the Snake River Program is available for 30 days for the public to review the proposed fee changes and comment on them. The Draft Business Plan is available online at https://www.blm.gov/programs/recreation/permits-and-fees/business-plans or a hard copy can be obtained by calling the BLM Upper Snake Field Office at 208-524-7500. Comments may be emailed to BLM_ID_South_Fork@blm.gov (please put “South Fork Fee Program Business Plan” in subject line) or mailed to BLM, Upper Snake Field Office, 1405 Hollipark Drive, Idaho Falls, Idaho, 83401. Comments are due by June 7, 2021.

Before including your address, phone number, email address or other personal identifying information in your comment, be aware that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

-BLM-

This year, we invite everyone to reimagine your public lands as we celebrate 75 years of the BLM’s stewardship and service to the American people. The BLM manages approximately 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. 

Release Date

Organization

Bureau of Land Management

Office

Upper Snake Field Office

Contacts

Name:
Jeremy Casterson