Changes proposed for Red Rock Pass fee program

Public comment is sought in regard to Coconino National Forest's proposed changes to the Red Rock Pass (RRP) fee program that will enable continued improvements to two new, stand-alone fee sites and reduce public confusion about fee "sites" versus fee "areas."

It's proposed that the two current fee areas along SR-89A and SR-179 be eliminated, while recreation sites within the two current fee areas are retained as stand-alone fee sites.

The proposal also seeks to add two new stand-alone fee sites to the RRP to include Dry Creek Vista/Picnic Site and Fay Canyon Vista/Trailhead. This would result in a total of 20 stand-alone fee sites.

The addition of the two new stand-alone fee sites will enable the Forest to make continued investments in these highly visited sites, such as more frequent servicing of the toilets and trash cans and improved maintenance of the other onsite facilities.

The Forest Service is not proposing any change to the amount of the current RRP fee. There are currently 18 fee sites in the RRP program, which will remain as stand-alone fee sites and include:

Baldwin Trailhead

Banjo Bill Picnic Site

Bell Rock Vista and Picnic Site

Bootlegger Picnic Site

Boynton Trailhead

Cathedral Rock Vista and Trailhead

Courthouse Vista and Picnic Site

Doe/Bear Mountain Trailhead

Encinoso Picnic Site

Halfway Picnic Site

Honanki Heritage Site

Huckaby Trailhead and Picnic Site

Jim Thompson Trailhead

Little Horse Trailhead and Picnic Site

Midgley Bridge Vista and Picnic Site

Palatki Heritage Site

V bar V Heritage Site

Yavapai Trailhead and Vista

All RRP Fee Program sites will have the required amenities prior to a decision on this proposal.

"Currently, visitors are required to pay no matter where they may be parking along Oak Creek Canyon (SR-89A) or Red Rock Scenic Road (SR-179)," says Jennifer Burns, Red Rock Ranger District recreation staff officer. "Restricting the fees to just stand-alone sites brings the Red Rock Pass Program into alignment with the rest of the Red Rock facilities where fees are charged only within sites. This will help visitors better plan their stay and make determinations on whether or not they would like to purchase a Red Rock Pass."

Approximately 90 percent of the revenue generated by fees is used for the care, upkeep and enhancement of the fee sites to improve visitor service and protect the environment.

The Sedona/Red Rock area receives more than 2 million visitors annually, many of whom visit the Coconino National Forest.

The RRP fee program is designed to provide high-quality forest vistas, trailheads and picnic areas to meet the expectations of the area's visitors.

The proposal will also be presented before a citizens group known as the Resource Advisory Council. The proposal then receives a final decision from the Forest Service Southwest Regional Forester.

Submit comments to Jennifer Burns at jmburns@fs.fed.us or mail to Red Rock District, P.O. 20429, Sedona, AZ 86341. Comments are most useful if submitted by Sept. 30. For information, call 928-203-7529 or view the full proposal at http://tinyurl.com/nq67pwa.

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