In 2004, Congress passed the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (REA), which allows the Forest Service to retain funds collected at certain recreation sites and use these funds locally to operate, maintain, and improve the sites. At least 80 percent of the revenue from recreation fees remains on the forests to operate, maintain, and improve facilities.
Raising the revenue collected through recreation fees would help the forests improve infrastructure within the campgrounds and maintain a steady level of staffing during the season of operation. The resources derived through the fee collection helps provide quality recreation opportunities that meet the modern expectations of visitors and creates a more financially sustainable developed recreation program to benefit future generations.
Under REA, any fee changes must be proposed and approved by a citizen's advisory committee. Committee members represent a broad array of recreation interest groups to help ensure that the Forest Service is proposing reasonable and publicly acceptable new fees and fee changes.