BISHOP, Calif. – The Bureau of Land Management Bishop Field Office is seeking public comment on proposed fee increases at campgrounds in the eastern Sierra.
The BLM is proposing to change the fee strategy and initially increase fees for the Tuttle Creek, Goodale Creek, Horton Creek and Pleasant Valley Pit campgrounds in Inyo County and the Crowley Lake campground in Mono County.
The proposed changes would take effect in 2016 and initially increase fees from $5/night to $8/night at the Tuttle Creek, Horton Creek and Crowley Lake campgrounds, all of which now have drinking water.
The fee at the Pleasant Valley Pit campground would initially increase from $2/vehicle to $5/site per night. This would bring the permit cost at PV Pit into alignment with the fee currently charged at the Goodale Creek campground, both of which do not have drinking water.
The proposal would also change the duration and fees for long-term camping permits. The current fee structure allows for up to an eight-month permit, which far exceeds other long-term camping options offered in the eastern Sierra.
Under the proposed structure, long-term camping permits would be offered for a maximum of three months at the Tuttle Creek, Horton Creek, Goodale Creek and Crowley Lake campgrounds. The fee for this three-month permit would remain at the current rate of $300.
The existing 30-day permit option would be expanded to include use of the PV Pit campground at a rate of $120/month. PV Pit is not eligible for the three-month permit because it is such a popular campground during the winter months and is often at full occupancy, especially during weekends and holidays.
"Fee revenue will be used to maintain the quality of our campgrounds, which now include new amenities such as drinking water that were part of recent campground upgrades" said Steve Nelson, Bishop Field Manager. "Between 2010 and 2012 we invested approximately $3.6 million in campground upgrades to improve the quality of our campgrounds here in the eastern Sierra. The fee structure we have proposed will help us provide a quality camping experience for visitors to our area. Our proposal also allows us the flexibility to either increase or decrease fees as needed to address occupancy, operating costs or resource management challenges."
A market assessment of fees charged at other area campgrounds found that all five BLM campgrounds in the eastern Sierra are priced well below other area campgrounds. The current campground fees were established in 2005 and have not changed in ten years.
After the initial change in fees in 2016, campground fees at all five campgrounds would be set by the field manager at a rate between $5 and $10 per campsite. The field manager would make fee adjustments based on the occupancy rate at each campground, the cost of maintaining or improving the campgrounds, and/or the impacts that dispersed camping outside of the campgrounds is having on the area's natural and cultural resources.
To ensure that comments will be considered, the BLM must receive written comments on the proposal to change the fee structure at campgrounds managed by the Bishop Field Office by Jan. 22. Effective 6 months after the publication of this notice, the Bishop Field Office would initiate changes in fee collection at these five developed campgrounds unless the BLM publishes a Federal Register notice to the contrary.
You may submit comments on this fee collection proposal by any of the following methods:
Copies of the fee proposal are available in the Bishop Field Office at the above address and online at http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/bishop.html
For further information contact the Bishop Field Office at (760) 872-5032 or at the address above.