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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New plan for summer recreation for ski resorts on forest service land

Legislation signed into law this week will allow the forest service to accept summer recreational activities at ski resorts that had previously been limited to downhill and cross-country skiing.

This meant that the ski resorts were essentially dormant or very limited in activities during the summer months.

Now, with the proper approval and permits, operators will be able to host outdoor activities such as zip lines, mountain bike terrain parks and trails, and disc golf courses, in addition to being access points for mountain biking, horseback riding, and hiking which are already permitted. Activities such as swimming pools, water slide parks, amusement parks, or golf courses will not be considered since they are more destructive to the environment.

Adding these additional activities it is hoped would bring needed revenue and jobs into nearby communities acting as stimulus plans for the local areas.

I have another suggestion. What about also creating dispersed campsites among the trees in these picturesque locations? The cost to create sites for RV camping would be minimal, roads to the area already exist, there would be little impact to the environment, and it would bring RVers into the scenic mountain areas spending money in restaurants and shops in the local area.

With the addition of trash containers, dump and water fill stations, and a host to oversee and collect fees, opoerational costs would remain low. Charges for thse dispersed campsites could cost $8 or $10 a night or $45 a week, similar to the Long Term Visitor Areas (LTVA) the BLM operates in the deserts of Southern California and Arizona. They could even allow stays of longer than two weeks, which are not now permitted.

The questions are: Could the forest service do such a project without it costing millions of dollars, would they be tempted to put in hookups and other amenities so they could raise the fees to $30 or more a night, would a simple concept--such as this one--be understandable to the bureaucratic minds that make the decisions, and would they understand that the more primitive and less impacted the campsites the more most boondockers would like them?


  1. It sure would be nice if at least the huge parking lots of NF ski areas were open to overnight parking in the off season. I had a heck of a time finding a suitable and open and free site in the Lake Tahoe area last May.

  2. "With the addition of trash containers, dump and water fill stations, and a host to oversee and collect fees, opoerational costs would remain low."
    The costs of "creating" dispersed campsites and re-negotiating the currently seasonal trash pickup agreements aside, anything which has to do designing, "permitting", installing, and maintaining water and/or sewage disposal facilities is very expensive, and you can bet that any and all subsequent "operational costs" would reflect paying off that investment.

    Even if water and sewage disposal systems ("pipes" to a waste treatment plant or septic systems) are in place for the *existing* facilities, these would need to be modified and/or expanded to accommodate campers and RVers.