Shawnee National Forest proposes recreation fee changes - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Shawnee National Forest proposes recreation fee changes

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HARRISBURG (WSIL) – The Shawnee National Forest is proposing changes to some recreation fees.

The changes include an increase in camping fees at Pine Ridge Campground, the addition of new fees at day-use areas across the forest, and a forest annual pass.

At Pine Ridge Campground in Pounds Hollow, the proposed fee would raise from $10 per night to $15 per night for campsites with electrical hookups. Non-electric campsites would remain $10 per night. The forest service says the camping fee has not been raised since electrical outlets were installed in the campground in 2014.

The forest service is also looking at a $5 per vehicle day-use fee at:

  • Garden of the Gods Recreation Area – Observation trail
  • Pounds Hollow Recreation Area – Swimming beach
  • Johnson Creek Recreation Area – Boat launch
  • Pomona Boat Launch on Cedar Lake
  • Little Grand Canyon Trailhead
  • Bell Smith Springs Interpretive Site

“These popular developed day use sites are highly developed with significant infrastructure. They provide amenities and special opportunities that are beyond those typical of Shawnee National Forest day use sites. Fees will be utilized to maintain and improve the sites, to ensure that people can continue to use and enjoy these sites into the future,” the forest service said in a release Thursday.  

A third proposal would create a Shawnee National Forest annual pass that would give pass holders year-round use of recreation facilities at sites with a day-use fee. The cost for the annual pass is proposed to be $30.

The public can weigh in on the proposed fee changes. The comment period is open until December 6, 2019. Comments can be submitted to the Shawnee National Forest Supervisor’s Office at 50 Highway 145 S, Harrisburg, IL 62946 or emailed to mailroom_r9_shawnee@fs.fed.us with “Recreation Fee Proposal” in the subject line.

The Shawnee National Forest plans to host meetings on the proposals in the coming months. Dates and locations have not yet been announced but will be posted on the forest service’s website and Facebook page.

For more information, call the Shawnee Recreation Program Manager at (618) 253-7114.

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