Forest Service approves Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area fee increase

Colorado News

SILVERTHORNE, Colo. — The White River National Forest, Dillon Ranger District, in partnership with the Vail Pass Task Force, will implement a fee increase that was proposed earlier this year for the Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area (VPWRA).

Fees will change from $6 to $10 for a day pass and $40 to $65 for a season pass. Public outreach for this proposal first took place in early 2015; the proposal was revised based on public comments and a second pubic outreach period took place from February to April 2019.

A total of 258 comments were received with the wide majority either in support or neutral on the proposal.  In approving the fee increase the Regional and National offices of the Forest Service determined that the new fee structure was reasonable based on increased operating costs, increasing visitation and the public outreach responses.

Fees have not increased at VPWRA since 2005 and since that time visitation has more than doubled with approximately 38,000 visitors last year. As visitation and operating costs have increased, expenses have outpaced revenue and the area has been operating at a deficit with funding being drawn away from other Forest Service programs.

The fee increase will allow the winter recreation area to be operated more sustainably. The increase will also allow the Ranger District and Vail Pass Task Force to provide improved visitor services such as more consistent parking lot plowing and trail grooming, and additional Forest Service ranger patrols.

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