HOT SPRINGS, ARK. – August 22, 2023 – The Ouachita National Forest is proposing to implement recreation fees at Wolf Pen Gap Off-Highway Vehicle Trail Complex, Little Missouri Falls Day Use Site, and the Shady Lake Recreation Area Caretaker’s Cabin. The public is invited to provide input to these proposed fee changes.
The goal of these changes is to establish a consistent fee schedule for all recreation areas in the Ouachita National Forest and to provide extra value for forest visitors through the federal America the Beautiful program.
For over a decade, fees have remained at their current levels with some remaining unchanged since 2004. As a result, the Recreation Resource Advisory Committee has been established to ensure fee proposals are reasonable and publicly acceptable. By law, fee change proposals for National Forest Recreation Areas are presented for public comment and must be approved by the RAC. Members of this committee are citizens representing a broad array of recreational interests.
Proposed fee changes include:
- Wolf Pen Gap OHV Trail Complex: The proposed fees are to be phased in over a period from March 2024 to March 2028, beginning with a fee of $5.00 per OHV/ATV/UTV per day, or $40.00 annual yearly pass; then increasing to the final fee of $10.00 per OHV/ATV/UTV per day, or $60.00 for annual yearly pass in March 2028.
- Little Missouri Falls Day Use Site: Proposed fee of $5.00 per motorized vehicle, per day.
- Shady Lake Recreation Site, Caretaker’s Cabin and area: Proposed use fee is to be $100.00 per night for use of the cabin and $10.00 per tent, per night, set up adjacent to the cabin. A maximum of four tents, no more than 48 inches in height at the center pole, would be allowed.
America the Beautiful Interagency Passes will be honored for applicable discounts.
The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act of 2004 allows the Forest Service to retain 80 percent of fees collected at recreation sites to use locally in the operation, maintenance and improvements of these sites.
The public is invited to comment on the proposed fee changes to the developed recreation program. The comment period is set to end by the close of business on October 31, 2023. To ensure that your comments are considered, please send your comments no later than the above date to Ouachita National Forest, Attention: Bill Jackson, P.O. Box 1270, Hot Springs, Arkansas 71902 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments can also be provided online at: https://usfs.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=72a44f7743c948b69e9b273c6cfc5f60.
Oral comments may be provided in person at the Ouachita National Forest during normal business hours (Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.) or by calling 501-321-5253 and indicating a desire to provide comments on the proposed recreation fee changes. For more information on the proposed project, visit our website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/ouachita.
(Photos courtesy of Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism.)