Fee increases of nearly 300 percent may be in the future for many campsites, trailheads, and recreational facilities in Los Padres National Forest. Several outdoor recreation organizations are raising concerns over the sites in the forest being handed over to a private organization, which is why the fees are increasing.
Jeff Kuyper from Los Padres ForestWatch said that this could affect 52 campsites and trailheads in Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Luis Obispo, and Monterey counties.
"Right now the fees for a lot of those locations are $5, either for day use or overnight camping," Kuyper said. "That would increase to $20 at many sites."
Kuyper said that Los Padres National Forest didn't do enough to inform the public about this change--which was proposed in early September.
Jeff Benson with Los Padres National Forest said that Parks Management Company already manages 34 campsites, trailheads, and recreational facilities in the forest.
"It's something we're concerned about," Benson said. "But we're also concerned about being able to maintain and keep these campgrounds safe and open to the public. And we were just not at the point where we could do that."
Benson said that you'll no longer be able to use Adventure Passes at these sites. The operations permit will be handed off to Parks Management following approval on November 1.