« Return to this article

Know the West

Fee fighters blast the Adventure Pass

  New recreation fees have incensed some Southern Californians who say they don't want to pick up the tab for playing on public lands. A major point of conflict is what the Forest Service calls its "Adventure Pass," which is sold for trailhead parking at $5 a day or $30 a year. In the Los Padres, Angeles, Cleveland and San Bernardino national forests, failure to purchase a pass from a local merchant or Forest Service office can result in a $100 fine.

A nonprofit group, Keep the Sespe Wild Committee, is fighting the Forest Service's fee programs from all sides. The group, which formed 12 years ago to protect the Sespe Watershed in the Los Padres National Forest, changed its focus in 1997 to include stiff opposition to forest fees. "Fees are putting off enormous populations from visiting forests," says Alasdair Coyne of the committee, which is based in Ojai, Calif. "California's Adventure pass is just the tip of the iceberg."

Coyne says the Forest Service has handed out 45,000 parking tickets since 1996, when the pass was created. His nonprofit has helped to mobilize resistance by organizing letter-writing campaigns, gathering signatures for petitions and planning protests and boycotts against paying the forest user fees.

They've also criticized Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) and Disney Enterprises Inc. for participating in the design and implementation of the Adventure Pass.

" Juniper Davis