In an increasingly urbanized West, outdoor recreation opportunities are vital to the quality of life enjoyed by residents, as well as national and international visitors, BLM officials say. “These recreation business plans will allow the BLM to respond to the changing needs of public land users and show how the BLM is reinvesting fee dollars back into local recreation programs and communities.”
The recreation business plans include campgrounds, rental cabins, day-use sites and specialized off-highway vehicle areas. The Utah Resource Advisory Council reviewed public comments, which were submitted during the 30-day public comment period, and recommended approval of the recreation business plans at their meeting in May.
“These business plans will help rebuild aging infrastructure, improve recreation access to the public lands, and enhance the BLM’s ability to support local economies,” said Ed Roberson, BLM Utah state director. “The revenue from the associated fees will help the BLM better serve the American public and visitors to public lands.”
Fee modifications at existing fee sites will be implemented this fall, and new fees will be implemented through the Federal Register six months after public notification. Increased fees in the Moab, Monticello, Cedar City, Salt Lake and Vernal Field Offices will begin Oct. 1. A simplification of group site fees in the Monticello Field Office will support needs for local families, school trips, and scout outings that may result in lower overnight costs for large groups, BLM officials say.
The BLM manages more than 23 million acres of public lands across the Utah and currently maintains 77 fee sites, including campgrounds. Most BLM-managed lands are available for public use free of charge. Recreation fees are reinvested locally and used to provide services and amenities, such as fire rings, trails, picnic tables, and restroom facilities at the site where the fees are collected. Recreation activities on public lands contributed $577 million to the state’s economy in 2017.
The plans can be viewed online at: https://www.blm.gov/programs/recreation/permits-and-fees/business-plans.