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INF implementing Reds Meadow fee changes

September 14, 2010

A shuttle transports visitors to Reds Meadow Valley. The Inyo National Forest says it is increasing its transportation fee in order to most efficiently make improvements to the visitor amenities available in the valley. Photo courtesy U.S. Forest Service

As of Sept. 9, the Inyo National Forest will be implementing a change in the fee program for Reds Meadow Valley.
This fee change is the result of a proposal that received public comment in 2009 and was approved by the California Recreation Resource Advisory Committee and the U.S. Forest Service over the summer of 2010.
The “expanded amenity” fee that has been in place as a way to pay for costs of operating the mandatory shuttle bus will now be replaced with a “standard amenity” fee that will be used to make improvements to visitor facilities and services in the Valley. This is a significant change that will result in improved public services and enable the Forest Service to address critical maintenance needs in the valley.
Per-person fees for occupants of vehicles entering the valley will be eliminated as a result of this change and fees will now be collected on a per vehicle basis. Interagency Recreation Annual, Senior, and Access Passes will now be accepted for “exception vehicles” during the operation of the mandatory shuttle bus and for vehicles traveling to the valley when the shuttle bus is not in operation.
In 2004, Congress passed the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act which allows the Forest Service to keep 95 percent of the fees collected at certain recreation sites and to use these funds locally to operate, maintain, and improve facilities and programs at the sites where the fees are collected.
For 30 years, the Inyo National Forest has charged Reds Meadow recreationists a transportation fee to help pay for the costs of the mandatory shuttle system. Since 2009, Eastern Sierra Transit has operated the shuttle system, allowing the Forest Service the opportunity to look at how to use recreation fees to enhance facilities and visitor services in the Reds Meadow Valley. The Forest Service is now changing the fee in order to most efficiently make improvements to the visitor amenities available in the valley.
It is important to note that the Reds Meadow/Devils Postpile Shuttle will remain mandatory for most visitors and the fee change will not affect the transportation fare visitors pay to ride the shuttle. The fee change will only apply to the “exception vehicles” that are allowed to drive into Reds Meadow during shuttle operation, and will apply to all visitors during the times of the season when the shuttle is not in operation (early June and after Labor Day). Information and a listing of “exception vehicles” can be found on the Inyo National Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/inyo.
The expanded amenity fee of $7/adult and $4/child has now changed to a standard amenity fee of $10 per vehicle for a day pass. In addition to the day pass, the proposal includes a three-day pass for $20 per vehicle and a season pass for $35 per vehicle. All three passes will also be accepted at the other Inyo National Forest day use fee sites: South Tufa in the Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area and Schulman Grove in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. The national Interagency Recreation Annual, Senior and Access Passes will also be accepted.
“We recognize how important the Reds Meadow Valley is to our local community and to those who recreate in the Valley. This fee change will help us return the day use sites to the level and quality people have come to expect, and to make new additions that will improve the visitor experience,” said Mike Schlafmann, deputy district ranger for the Mammoth and Mono Lake Ranger Districts.
For further questions regarding the fee change, contact Jon Kazmierski, recreation officer for the Mammoth Lakes and Mono Lake Ranger Districts, at (760) 924-5503 or jkazmierski@fs.fed.us

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