Proposed changes to BLM site fees, public input open

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is seeking public input on five draft Recreation Business Plans that would modernize the way recreation fee sites are managed in the Lake Havasu Field Office among others, which manages sites in the Parker area.

BLM says it conducted a market analysis of current recreation fees statewide which revealed that its fee rates were below local market prices.

“The BLM has not updated business plans for our recreation sites to reflect market conditions in decades,” said Gerald Davis, BLM Arizona Deputy State Director for Resources and Planning. “The updated plans would enable the BLM to improve services and add amenities in order to ensure these sites provide the exceptional experiences that visitors to public lands deserve.”

The draft Business Plans outline information related to the existing and proposed recreation fee sites, proposed fee changes, operation and maintenance costs and planned expenditures. The department says that one hundred percent of recreation fees collected at sites are reinvested directly back into the local recreation program to expand and improve recreational opportunities, as authorized by the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) of 2004.

In the Lake Havasu Field Office, the proposed changes are to Shoreline Sites, Bullfrog Day Use Area, Crossroads Campground and the proposed Quail Hollow Campground. According to a report released by the office proposing changes, the sites are largely losing money at the current rates.

If adopted, the 73 shoreline sites would increase from $10 to $20 per watercraft for day use and from $10 to $20 per watercraft for overnight use. The Lake Havasu Shoreline Sites annual pass would increase from $100 to $200. The Crossroads Campground individual site would increase from $5 to $20 per night per vehicle ((up to 8 adults) for sites without electrical hookups. Sites with electrical hookups would go from $5 to $40 per night per vehicle. The Bullfrog Day Use area fee would increase from $5 to $10 per vehicle. At the proposed Quail Hollow Campground, individual site fees would be $20 per night per vehicle for sites without electrical hookups, and with electrical hookups, the fee would be $40 per night per vehicle.

Takeoff Point, Cable Car, Cooper Basin and Rock House would continue to be free to use.

Over the past five years, visitation to public lands in Arizona has increased from 4.9 million to 6.8 million. However, BLM’s budget per visitor has fallen despite increasing use and visitation.

“Those increases have caused wear and tear,” Davis said. “With rising costs and increased visitation, the BLM is seeking public input on proposed increases that would keep pace with the cost of operations and maintenance that are comparative to other public agency and private sector facilities.”

Outdoor recreation is an $11.7 billion industry in Arizona. Recreation opportunities on BLM-administered lands contribute more than $276.2 million to Arizona’s economy. The BLM’s “Blueprint for 21st Century Outdoor Recreation” provides guidance to proactively respond to increasing visitation by diversifying recreation funding sources and carefully considering recreation demand, program needs, and investment opportunities for current and future needs and enjoyment.

BLM manages more than 245 million acres of federal 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 proposed changes are to areas within the Kingman Field Office, Lake Havasu Field Office, the Arizona Strip Field Office’s Virgin River Canyon Recreation Area, the Phoenix District’s Recreational Shooting Sites, and the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument’s Paria Canyon/Coyote Buttes Special Management Area and White Pocket.

A Zoom meeting will be held by BLM tonight (May 30th) at 6 p.m. (LINK) and another on June 5th at 6 p.m. (LINK) in order to provide information about the proposals. Comments from the public can then be submitted or emailed by June 12th. Read more about the proposals HERE.

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