Possible Fees for Bikes in Pisgah?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Possible Fees for Bikes in Pisgah?

    I saw this article today. Apparently Brevard isn't quite as happy to have all the mountain bikers coming to town as we thought.

    Thoughts?

    Mountain Bikers Could Face User Fees - Pisgah Forest, NC - The Transylvania Times
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    If you are local and want to show up to hear about it, the meeting for Dec is Dec 1st @ 830a. It's a different schedule due to the holidays.

    There are a lot of questions still and not a lot of details, except that it's being put in the plan moving forward. The folks I follow locally are not necessarily opposed, but they do want some more info before making a judgement, which is fair considering basically no info has been published on how the funds will be used, how they'll be put into place, and what they'll be.

    I was surprised to see equestrians in there too. Is horseback riding in Pisgah that popular? I rarely see horses there, mostly in DuPont, but maybe it's because I don't ride a lot of trails that horses can go on (aside from Clawhammer).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adodero View Post
    If you are local and want to show up to hear about it, the meeting for Dec is Dec 1st @ 830a. It's a different schedule due to the holidays.

    There are a lot of questions still and not a lot of details, except that it's being put in the plan moving forward. The folks I follow locally are not necessarily opposed, but they do want some more info before making a judgement, which is fair considering basically no info has been published on how the funds will be used, how they'll be put into place, and what they'll be.

    I was surprised to see equestrians in there too. Is horseback riding in Pisgah that popular? I rarely see horses there, mostly in DuPont, but maybe it's because I don't ride a lot of trails that horses can go on (aside from Clawhammer).
    I think horses are probably more common in the Turkey Pen area at Pisgah. I really don't have a problem with a fee, as long as the money is used wisely. I thought some of the comments on the article were interesting though. There are some people who absolutely despise bikes. While that wouldn't surprise me when talking about road cyclist, I would think that Brevard would embrace the Mountain Bikers, since there seems to have been quite a lot of income produced for people in that area related to visitors to the forest.

    So if we pay a fee, and the hikers get to use the trails for free, does that mean we get to change the right of way to favor those who pay :-)
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlowMTBer View Post
    ...I would think that Brevard would embrace the Mountain Bikers, since there seems to have been quite a lot of income produced for people in that area related to visitors to the forest.
    I doubt this is some effort to slow down riding in the area, rather tap into the resources from outsiders coming in to ride. I suspect the large influx of people coming here in recent years has caused management difficulties that need to be resolved and/or funded.

    As for people not liking mountain bikers, there will always be people opposed to riding in the forest, regardless of what it does for the community and business in the area. Just like there will always be mountain bikers opposed to any sort of change, even if it's needed. We can make our case, encourage each other to hear things out and think critically about pros/cons, then make a judgement call, but not everyone will be willing to do that regardless of whether they ride or not.

  5. #5
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    Open more the trails to bikes, including all the trails in the Grandfather District. I'll pay a fee then. Develop the 100,000 acres at South Mountain State Park that barely have any trails on them and sh*t mountain bike trails. Fees....fine. But I want all the trails and new trails.

  6. #6
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    Id happily pay to play but you gotta make everyone pay... Hikers, campers, horses, fisherman, etc. Also locals (living in WNC) would need to pay less and out of state folks should pay more... just like a fishing license.

    Bikes arent the only group using the forest. Ever go to Black Balsam or Looking Glass on a Saturday?

    The problem is..

    A. Its not enforceable unless you gate every road and put up pay booths
    B. I would bet my paycheck that those dollars generated go to DC and arent put back in the forest
    C. Everyone would raise a stink about double taxation, etc.

    Great idea but hopelessly achievable.

    Also... Look at the other districts of the Pisgah forest. Some are very underused. Would they be asked to pay?

    Too many questions and not enough answers on this...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Banjopickin View Post
    Id happily pay to play but you gotta make everyone pay... Hikers, campers, horses, fisherman, etc. Also locals (living in WNC) would need to pay less and out of state folks should pay more... just like a fishing license.

    Bikes arent the only group using the forest. Ever go to Black Balsam or Looking Glass on a Saturday?

    The problem is..

    A. Its not enforceable unless you gate every road and put up pay booths
    B. I would bet my paycheck that those dollars generated go to DC and arent put back in the forest
    C. Everyone would raise a stink about double taxation, etc.

    Great idea but hopelessly achievable.

    Also... Look at the other districts of the Pisgah forest. Some are very underused. Would they be asked to pay?

    Too many questions and not enough answers on this...
    Not that I am disagreeing yet, but I am seeking insight into why you feel that out of state riders should pay more? Pisgah is a National Forest, and as such is paid for by people from all States. What am I missing?
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    Well. Mostly because locals are going to use the forest significantly more than those living hours or days away. If you're traveling to a destination it's arguable that it's a vacation or alike. You see the same at the beach. Hotels, etc are more expensive during peak times when the majority of folks in the area are from somewhere else.

    Maybe instead of out of towners paying more, locals should pay less. That would fine too.

    I'd actually rather see a portion of hotels, bike rentals, campsite fees, fishing guide fees, etc be put into a fund for forest health but no way that would happen.

  9. #9
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    To me it reads like the Transylvania county visitors bureau wants some of the fees for advertising. Not that it could happen. But hell no would I be for funding advertising.

    What do the fees at tsali go towards? Trail maintenance, bike wash.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Banjopickin View Post
    Well. Mostly because locals are going to use the forest significantly more than those living hours or days away. If you're traveling to a destination it's arguable that it's a vacation or alike. You see the same at the beach. Hotels, etc are more expensive during peak times when the majority of folks in the area are from somewhere else.

    Maybe instead of out of towners paying more, locals should pay less. That would fine too.

    I'd actually rather see a portion of hotels, bike rentals, campsite fees, fishing guide fees, etc be put into a fund for forest health but no way that would happen.
    I got ya now Banjo. I wasn't thinking of a per use fee, but I see your point. In my mind, I was thinking of maybe some type of annual fee, or permit fee.

    At Paris Mountain here in the Upstate, it costs everyone the same 5.00 per person to get in the gate. The thing that helps locals is that we can buy a State Park Pass for 60/yr.

    That may not work there though since the forest is so large, and you can ride in from anywhere, not to mention that hikers wouldn't need it under their system, so it would be impossible to do at the trailheads through a pay box.
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    Quote Originally Posted by b-roken View Post
    To me it reads like the Transylvania county visitors bureau wants some of the fees for advertising. Not that it could happen. But hell no would I be for funding advertising.

    What do the fees at tsali go towards? Trail maintenance, bike wash.

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    I don't think USFS user fees are legally allowed to go to other entities, I could be mistaken though.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adodero View Post
    I don't think USFS user fees are legally allowed to go to other entities, I could be mistaken though.
    I don't think so either, but the beginning of the article sounded like a plea for funds from forest users.

    I'm sure PNF users spend money in Transylvania county. I know I usually buy beer and sometimes food and gas there.

    I'm sure there's a market there for private campgrounds and hotels that could add to the tax revenue without affecting locals.

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    For comparison purposes, the Hoosier National Forest requires horses and mtb riders to buy a trail pass. It can be single day or annual. You buy it at a retailer that buys them from the forest and you carry it on your person. Enforcement is lax and spotty, but it does happen at times.

    It sounds like this kind of system is what has been proposed.

    MTB riders in Indiana are charged fees for almost everything, and it sucks. I would not like a similar system to be implemented here if it happened like Indiana, where the money goes into a general fund and usually doesn't go towards anything related to the trails.

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    Charging people to recreate is not the direction America needs. Ridiculous
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    Quote Originally Posted by whalenard View Post
    charging people to recreate is not the direction america needs. Ridiculous
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    Quote Originally Posted by WHALENARD View Post
    Charging people to recreate is not the direction America needs. Ridiculous
    They already charge us to recreate... in the form of taxation.

    The problem is that the funds being sent to the USFS and Nat'l Parks aren't enough to keep up with the work. I was blown away by the dollars spent toward fire fighting in our Nat'l Parks and Forests... That takes a TON of resources.

    If paying extra fees or buying a pass or whatever means our forests are healthier I'm happy to do it.

    Better yet we need to put folks in Congress who value our natural resources and will allocate more funds to them but we all know that aint happening anytime soon...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Banjopickin View Post

    The problem is that the funds being sent to the USFS and Nat'l Parks aren't enough to keep up with the work.
    Considering your mock of my argument in the management thread, even in the face of all the evidence and pleas for help FROM THE USFS, I find this highly, highly ironic.

    Carry on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WHALENARD View Post
    Charging people to recreate is not the direction America needs. Ridiculous
    So how do you propose the USFS keep up with maintenance with their ever shrinking budgets?

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    Quote Originally Posted by b-roken View Post
    So how do you propose the USFS keep up with maintenance with their ever shrinking budgets?
    You should start here. People will say I have an agenda but if posting budget concerns from the USFS's own website and budget presentations is an agenda, then so be it. Read post #132.

    http://forums.mtbr.com/north-south-c...l#post12480851

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    Quote Originally Posted by WNCmtnman View Post
    Considering your mock of my argument in the management thread, even in the face of all the evidence and pleas for help FROM THE USFS, I find this highly, highly ironic.

    Carry on.
    LOL. Touche dude.

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    The minute we start paying fees for access into Pisgah is the minute we buy ourself a seat at the table for decision making and future planning in PNF. Bring it on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lithified View Post
    The minute we start paying fees for access into Pisgah is the minute we buy ourself a seat at the table for decision making and future planning in PNF. Bring it on.
    Is that really guaranteed though? What about hikers, are they going to have to "buy a seat at the table" or are they just implied a part of the discussion?

    Legitimately asking, not being rhetorical. If we can put ourselves into a position where we can have more say and open more trails, then it may be worth it provided the fee system is reasonably structured.

    I think, for starters, I'd like to see some progress on opening the seasonal trails year round.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lithified View Post
    LOL. Touche dude.
    I knew my argument wouldn't be well received but the moment it was labeled as half truths when much of it was directly derived from the USFS themselves, I knew it was denial.

    Now it's about to hit home and we're at a crossroads. Either we pay them or allow them manage the forests in way that lowers their firefighting costs and earns a profit but with a budget that is subsuming itself in firefighting costs, the forest will not last.

    Their 2016 budget analysis was a plea for help. The fires last year were a plea for help. These proposed fees are a plea for help.

    But yea, agenda and half truths. They'll be here to rebut me. Zero doubt about that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adodero View Post
    Is that really guaranteed though? What about hikers, are they going to have to "buy a seat at the table" or are they just implied a part of the discussion?

    Legitimately asking, not being rhetorical. If we can put ourselves into a position where we can have more say and open more trails, then it may be worth it provided the fee system is reasonably structured.

    I think, for starters, I'd like to see some progress on opening the seasonal trails year round.
    I completely agree on the seasonal trails discussion here. Just like these proposed fees, hikers always get the pass. They get all trails, all year and I am not sure why. You want a trail to be seasonal? Ok, but at least cut the hikers out during bike season. I'm looking at you Cat Gap!!!

    To the seat at the table thing, this is assuming the funds are earmarked for MTB trails or amenities related to riding. Right now we are asking for things. Can you fund a re-work on this trail? Can we have money to add a bring. etc etc. Now all of a sudden bikers are bringing in cash. That's yuge.

    Just to reiterate - meeting Friday 0830 in Brevard. I know most of us are hoping that is where we'll hear some more details on use of the funds, fee schedule, enforcement, etc etc.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by WNCmtnman View Post
    Considering your mock of my argument in the management thread, even in the face of all the evidence and pleas for help FROM THE USFS, I find this highly, highly ironic.

    Carry on.
    I never read much of anything you wrote since it was way too many words and I aint got time for that so I dont know what this means.
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by WNCmtnman View Post
    You should start here. People will say I have an agenda but if posting budget concerns from the USFS's own website and budget presentations is an agenda, then so be it. Read post #132.
    You aren't going to fix budgetary problems in a management plan meeting. You fix budgetary problems in congress. The problem is not with the USFS, the problem is with the legislature.

    This happened in Indiana at the state level a few years ago (yes, I keep bringing up Indiana, but it's where I came from and where I'm most familiar for comparison). The state legislature killed the budget for the state's DNR. The DNR HAD to make up a budget shortfall somewhere. They raised fees across the board and even created new fees. MTB riders were hit with a totally new trails pass fee on top of the gate fee increase. Going to the DNR about it did nothing except tweak the timing of implementation and a couple other minor things. The problem occurred because of the legislators that people had been voting in for decades prior and took budget money away from the state parks in nearly every budget cycle.

    Same damn thing at the federal level. Don't want to get charged fees to access public lands? Vote for people who are going to fund public lands more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    You aren't going to fix budgetary problems in a management plan meeting. You fix budgetary problems in congress. The problem is not with the USFS, the problem is with the legislature.
    The budget amount is not the issue. It's the budget management that is the issue. That is not a congressional issue. The stalwart of management plans begins locally, not federally. Again, read these words very carefully. These are the USFS words, not mine. Not an agenda's words. Not any special interest group. Theirs:

    'The cost of fire management has grown from 13 percent of the agency’s budget in the 1990s to over 50 percent in 2014. It is subsuming the agency’s budget and jeopardizing our ability to successfully implement our full mission'

    That right there tells us that how the money is forced into needs not customary in the past, is the issue. Not the overall budget. We know firefighting costs are jeopardizing the agencies budget now let's look at what they say about why firefighting costs are ever increasing:

    'Federal mismanagement of U.S. forests has increased the number, size and cost of wildfires over the past decade. Historically, the national forests have been logged to provide lumber for commercial activities, to promote forest recreation, species protection and management, and to prevent wildfires.

    In recent decades this has changed. Pressure and lawsuits from environmental lobbyists have prevented or delayed both commercial and salvage logging, turning many of our national forests into tinderboxes.'


    Now fast forward to November 2016. USFS assessments totaled the costs to fight forest fires in the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests at $32.5m.

    North Carolina wildfires cost more than $55 million | WLOS

    And we wonder why their drowning in their own budget. Why there is no funding. Why there are proposed fees.

  28. #28
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    I went to the meeting this morning, basically the article was horseshit and meant to get people agitated. The user fee proposal would apply to all users of the forest and TDA had no role in it whatsoever, their funding and budget also have nothing to do with it, all funds would go to the forest service to maintain the forest.

    I don't know much more than that. About a dozen mountain bikers showed up to hear more, but they were the wrong people to ask. I can't imagine why this article mentioned the meeting at all, aside from it being some elaborate troll by the author. They had nothing to do with it, but at least we showed that we care and are involved.

    I don't normally expect dishonest and misleading journalism from small county papers, but this was definitely one case where the article was meant to lead you one way when the truth was another.

  29. #29
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    Thanks for going and representing. If I was closer and had a more flexible schedule I would have gone also.

    I was pretty sure the TDA could not collect fund from any USFS fees. I really hate to see journalists putting a slant on an article and misrepresenting the facts.

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    Really? Meant to get people agitated? The user fee would not apply to all users, it would apply to mountain bikers and equestrians. The article doesn't read that the TDA would have any role in it, at all.

    The article mentioned the meeting times because they are public meetings where decisions are made using public dollars.

    I wrote that article, here I am, using my own name as my handle. Your reading comprehension isn't the best my friend.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by park baker View Post
    Really? Meant to get people agitated? The user fee would not apply to all users, it would apply to mountain bikers and equestrians. The article doesn't read that the TDA would have any role in it, at all.

    The article mentioned the meeting times because they are public meetings where decisions are made using public dollars.

    I wrote that article, here I am, using my own name as my handle. Your reading comprehension isn't the best my friend.
    Appreciate the response.

    The article wove together a story about user fees specifically for mountain bikers and equestrians among discussions of TDA meetings and budgets. I'm not the only one that interpreted it as being written in such a way that TDA was involved and this meeting was a place to discuss it. Many people, even those that didn't show up, felt this to be the case.

    Maybe you didn't intend it, maybe you did, but the context of the discussion of user fees is woven in with a story about TDA, the TDA budget, and the meeting. I fail to understand how anyone can read that article and not imply that they were involved and the meeting was the right place for discussion. The article jumps from user fees, to TDA meetings, to TDA budget, back to user fees, then to the meeting date, all in the same context. To me, that reads as though they are involved. If the user fees are a USFS issue, why is the discussion of the TDA budget/details something to be discussed in the same context?

    According to the people at the meeting, it was made clear that the fees were for all users, not specifically those two user groups. They were not a part of the decision, but were apparently aware of it.

  32. #32
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    I just don't even know what to say to you. Happy trails.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by park baker View Post
    Really? Meant to get people agitated? The user fee would not apply to all users, it would apply to mountain bikers and equestrians. The article doesn't read that the TDA would have any role in it, at all.

    The article mentioned the meeting times because they are public meetings where decisions are made using public dollars.

    I wrote that article, here I am, using my own name as my handle. Your reading comprehension isn't the best my friend.
    OK, so how were we supposed to interpret these paragraphs cut directly from the article:
    "During the meeting, Casey announced the proposals in response to Lori Roberts, chair of the Transylvania County Tourism Development Authority (TDA), who gave a presentation to the council concerning the tasks of the TDA, the effects of advertising Brevard and Transylvania County as an outdoor destination, and how her budget paled in comparison to Asheville’s monster marketing budget.

    TNRC member Kent Wilcox said that user fees were a real need and the time for discussion is now.

    “They implemented user fees at Sliding Rock and they didn’t stop going there,” said Wilcox."

    Sorry, but I feel my comprehension is pretty good for only receiving a public school education. I'm not telling you how to do your job since I really don't have any writing skills. Just maybe try to add something that separates the discussions going on in the article.

  34. #34
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    This is the first line of the article:
    "Pisgah National Forest head ranger Dave Casey announced proposals for user fees for both mountain bikers and equestrians during the most recent Transylvania Natural Resources Council (TNRC) meeting." I could not find any reference to hikers having to pay a fee. I understand how a person could read this and interpret it to mean that fees would be applied just to mountain bikers and equestrians.

    I read the T-Times and Mr Baker's pieces are usually well written and concise, but this one could have used a little editorial help, the segue from fees to the Tourism Development Authority's concern over it's advertising budget is muddled somewhat. But it never states that the TDA would be receiving any of the USFS fees.

    I am happy to hear that the fees would apply to all user groups, I will gladly pay a fee to use the forest as long as ever other user group has to pay as well.

    And a thanks to Adodero for keeping us informed.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by pisgahrider View Post
    This is the first line of the article:
    "Pisgah National Forest head ranger Dave Casey announced proposals for user fees for both mountain bikers and equestrians during the most recent Transylvania Natural Resources Council (TNRC) meeting." I could not find any reference to hikers having to pay a fee. I understand how a person could read this and interpret it to mean that fees would be applied just to mountain bikers and equestrians.
    This wasn't the fault of the article or the author, there is clearly a miscommunication somewhere. Either we were told incorrectly or he was, his earlier response seems to indicate he believed it was just for mountain bikers and equestrians. What we were told is that it would essentially be an entry fee for all users.

    Again, the group we met with today was not the responsible group and so it's possible they were misinformed as well, although she seemed pretty sure that was the case. I'm sure clarification will be coming soon.

    But it never states that the TDA would be receiving any of the USFS fees
    I can see how thinking that would be reading between the lines of the article a bit, but still feel that the context of the discussion lead us to believe that TDA was involved and the meeting was the correct place to be to figure more out.

    It's clear from Park's response that was not his intention and I responded hastily, so I do apologize for that and the accusation of ill intent, but still feel the article was confusing given the context of two unrelated groups and budgets. There were plenty of people that read it and believed the issue would be discussed, we can't all have poor reading comprehension.

    In any case, we don't have much in terms of next steps. Since it's a part of a proposal, I expect it'll be published for comments and hopefully we'll get more clarification from it then. Worst case, we showed the local tourism board that we are involved, aware of what is going on, and interested. We also ruled out one responsible group and know who is NOT involved, so that's one less group we need to engage.

  36. #36
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    The USFS runs an Adventure Pass thing in Cali. Maybe you guys will get something similar.

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