The Costs of Managing Recreation Sites

A little insight on the costs of managing recreation sites…. Helps people understand why the USFS and other agencies charge day-use fees.It’s not just human waste, but dog-doo, too, and the doo-bags provided at trailheads. (Why do so many dog walkers dutifully bag their pet’s poop and then leave the bags by the side of the trail?)

Excerpt from Greenwire, “Jump in visitors creates smelly problem in Mont. forest

Published: Monday, August 13, 2018

Rising numbers of visitors to Custer Gallatin National Forest in Montana are creating a poop problem, as officials look for cost-effective ways to deal with more and more human waste.

The forest has spent more than twice as much this year on pumping out toilets and having the waste taken away as it did in 2013. The total costs for this year are expected to reach $85,000, said Beartooth Ranger District outdoor recreation planner Jeff Gildehaus.

“It’s something really unanticipated how fast the costs have gone up,” Gildehaus said. “It cuts into other things, like hiring people or buying supplies.”

The forest might increase campground fees to make up for the added expense, Gildehaus said.

6 thoughts on “The Costs of Managing Recreation Sites”

  1. Yes to increased fees. I’m not interested in paying for other people’s recreational outings. My tax dollars can go for maintaining healthy sustainable forests – but that is it.

    • I suspect that if you support subsidized private logging while opposing subsidized public recreation, you are among a rather tiny minority of the American public, who own the lands in question.

        • There’s no need to be obtuse; literally every activity performed by the Forest Service is to a greater or lesser degree subsidized by taxpayer dollars, from pumping toilets to managing special use permits to fire suppression to laying out timber sales. That is, indeed, what a public agency does — provide public benefits using public dollars.

          Unless you’re claiming that the agency’s timber sales recover their entire costs; in which case someone should notify Congress so that the NFTM appropriation can be abolished. We both know that’s not the case, and has never been the case.

          • I’m familiar with “subsidized” logging on USFS lands, but I read “subsidized private logging” as being on private land.

  2. I think sometimes dogwalkers leave the poop as they go along the trail, planning to pick it up on their return and then forget exactly where it is. Or of course, don’t want to pick up smelly old bags of dog poop that have sat in the sun for hours, so perhaps conveniently forget them. And many trail heads where I live don’t have trash cans so folks have to put it in their car and drive home.

    There are technological solutions to this problem.

    For people whose inclination is to be responsible.


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