Green Mountain Reservoir camping fees increase as short-staffed Forest Service hands over management to private company |

Green Mountain Reservoir camping fees increase as short-staffed Forest Service hands over management to private company

Campgrounds affected

Cow Creek South Campground

Cow Creek North Campground

Elliot Creek Campground

McDonald Flats Campground

Willows Campgrounds

Blue River Campground

Cataract Creek Campground

Camping fees at Green Mountain Reservoir are set to increase as the U.S. Forest Service, short on funding and staff, hands over management of the area to a private company.

Fees at the Blue River Campground will increase to $20 from $14, and prices at the remaining six campgrounds around the reservoir will increase to $18 from $13. White River Recreation, which already runs many of the campgrounds around Dillon Reservoir and the White River National Forest, will take over management of the sites.

The annual camping pass will be offered for one more year, with the price increasing to $90 from $65 to “help cover realistic operating costs for these campgrounds,” the Forest Service said.

“White River Recreation has the staff and the capacity to manage these sites,” district ranger Bill Jackson said in a news release. “By offering this permit to White River Recreation, we are able to keep the Green Mountain Reservoir campgrounds open, managed to standard and available for the public to use while supporting the local recreation and tourism-based economy.”

In the release, the Forest Service said the move would provide a higher-quality camping experience through increased staffing and consistent, timely management.

The White River National Forest is the busiest forest in the nation for recreation, but its budget has consistently shrunk by about 10 percent each year. Soaring fire suppression costs across the Forest Service also force WRNF to borrow from its recreation budget each fire season, adding to the pinch on programming.

The official operating season for the campgrounds will be approximately the third Friday in May through the first Sunday in October. The Forest Service may operate some of the campgrounds outside of the season depending on public demand and Forest Service staffing capacity.

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