David McNew/Getty Images
Night falls in the mountains of Angeles National Forest on October 2, 2013 in the San Gabriel Mountains, northeast of Los Angeles, California.
Until a recent ruling in late April, in order to enter the Angeles, Cleveland, Los Padres and San Bernardino national forests, nature lovers had to purchase an Adventure Pass, no matter if they parked in a paved parking lot, or near a trailhead.
This pass costs $5 a day, and $30 annually and is purchased online or in a sporting goods store. Now, that pass is no longer required for visitors who park near a trailhead.
US District Court Judge Terry Hatter Jr. said that, “the Forest Service is prohibited from charging a fee solely for parking.”
In other words, the ruling ensures that people who do not use the park facilities have free access to federal land. This is great for nature lovers, annoyed by having to buy the pass.
But, the pass generated millions of dollars to help maintain the public land and facilities for the public to enjoy. Without this flow of income, how will the US Forest Service be able to maintain facilities like bathrooms, picnic tables, and paved parking lots?
How can it be assured that people who enter the park for free, don’t use the facilities? On the other hand, might more people now visit the forests, inspiring more appreciation of the open space?
John Karevoll, Co-Plaintiff against “Adventure Pass” fee
Char Miller, Director of the Environmental Analysis Program at Pomona College; Author "Public Lands, Public Debates: A Century of Controversy"