Forum
Buying gear? Please use these links to help 14ers.com:

More info...

Other ways to help...

14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Colorado 14ers access and fee issues only, please

Are you okay with paying a user fee to access Colorado 14'ers?

Yes, for all 14'ers.
16
7%
Maybe, for certain areas.
32
14%
Maybe, but only if the fees were small.
21
9%
No, fees should generally not be charged to access these areas.
159
70%
 
Total votes : 228
User avatar
Posts: 469
Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2010 12:10 pm
Location: Burton, OH

Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby edhaman » Mon Aug 20, 2012 5:17 pm

The poll on this thread shows that an overwhelming majority of us are opposed to a fee. Maybe we should be discussing what can be done to organize ourselves to fight it, which I suspect was more along the lines of what coloradokevin had in mind in his OP. Is there even a specific proposal to oppose at this point? It does not appear that the September meeting in Estes Park is open to the public.

User avatar
Posts: 722
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2008 10:12 am

Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby Hungry Jack » Mon Aug 20, 2012 5:36 pm

Agree with the post above, especially in light of the recent comments about corporate interests plotting to co-opt recreation on public land.

Folks like me willing to fund additional work should send contributions to CFI (and enjoy the writeoff)

User avatar
Posts: 153
Joined: Thu May 10, 2007 11:59 pm
Location: Denver

Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby Mtn Geek » Mon Aug 20, 2012 5:39 pm

SilverLynx wrote:For the love of God, if the complaint is crowds, the solution is 13ers, not fees at trailheads.


It's been my solution since I moved to Denver. I've hiked 18 13ers, and 13 12ers and only 6 14ers since moving here. After braving the crowds on Bierstadt I haven't been up a 14er on a busy weekend since. Sherman was manageable, not as busy as I thot it would be.

User avatar
Posts: 1534
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 7:33 pm
Location: Arvada, CO

Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby coloradokevin » Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:03 pm

Hungry Jack wrote:Agree with the post above, especially in light of the recent comments about corporate interests plotting to co-opt recreation on public land.

Folks like me willing to fund additional work should send contributions to CFI (and enjoy the writeoff)


Exactly.

I'm glad that Kitty chimed in here with her post, because the Recreational Fee Demo Program from the '90's was where a lot of this stuff got kick-started to begin with, and it has been a bit of downward spiral from that time. This issue impacts areas well beyond just the 14'ers were are discussing, and also concerns places like Brainard Lake here in Colorado (I started a different thread on that issue a few weeks ago).

At Brainard Lake a fee system had been in place for years. This never really concerned me, since I buy the $80/year annual pass that covers entrance to federal recreation areas that have these fees (such passes should, in theory, also cover any proposed 14'ers fees).

But, the USFS hasn't really run Brainard Lake for a while now, despite being the agency that "owns" this property. The old concessionaire that the USFS allowed to run this place has been ousted, and the new concessionaire is no longer honoring the annual passes that many of us have paid for (passes that purportedly covered entrance to areas like these). In essence, we now pay a fee to a private for-profit company that runs this area, and then pockets the difference. We aren't paying to maintain trails, improve the area, or improve the user experience. We're paying for a minimal amount of service, and profit for a company.

The best solution (in my mind) is for us to stop accepting the implementation of fees in the future. That experiment has run its course, and it isn't working well for the citizens who collectively own this land.

User avatar
Posts: 5043
Joined: Wed May 04, 2005 11:46 am
Location: Craig

Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby Scott P » Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:09 pm

1) The amount of money that the forest service already receives, and the extra amount they'd need to receive to cover additional costs on trails, would be a tiny drop in a HUGE bucket. $5 Billion is the entire budget for the USFS, whereas our government currently brings in approximately $2.3 Billion in annual tax revenue. As such, if my math is correct on this, the ENTIRE budget for the USFS is approximately 0.2% of our nation's budget.

2) It is unlikely that a politician is going to make or break their career on this issue alone.

3) Whether we collect fees or not, we're talking about a tiny amount of money in the grand scheme of things (nationally), but we're talking about an issue that also irritates a lot of Americans who hike on a regular basis. The representatives and senators that we have elected in this state may be willing to listen to our gripe on this issue, simply because they can gain our support with little political cost (in other words, they don't have to make someone else mad to make us happy -- they only stand to gain votes by taking a firm stance in favor of a no-fee position).


With these facts in mind, I actually think we're in a good position to convince our politicians to NOT support a fee system. First of all, they probably won't lose any elections by standing up for an issue like this one. More importantly, they'll get a chance to gain a few political points by showing how much they are standing up for the rights of hard-working Americans, and supporting our ability to enjoy our national forests. In short, a simple issue like this one can span political parties, and we can potentially gain the support of our elected officials simply by letting them know that this is an important issue to a lot of us that live near national forests.

If Senators Udall or Bennet (or any candidates who might be running against them) were called to task on this issue, they could easily support our position without worrying about losing votes in other areas. As such, they'd gain votes for free. In other words, we don't have a strong group of voters who are angrily supporting fees, just a group that angrily opposes fees. This is a rare "gimme" in politics.

If a politician takes a stance on abortion (any stance), they naturally anger the other side of the issue. If they take a stance on guns (any stance), they'll make one group happy while making the other group angry. Because of this trend many politicians are forced to carefully weigh their support for any group, for fear of losing too many votes on the other side of the line. But, that's not what we have here. What we have is a group of hikers/climbers who are opposing usage fees, and on the other side of the line are a whole bunch of Americans who were unaware of the issue, and just don't care to begin with.

But, I can tell you that my support for a politician is easy to get on this issue (as I mentioned, it's free), but it is also easy to lose (because this is important to me). I do believe that those of us who feel strongly on this issue would be well served by communicating this information to our current elected officials, as well as candidates who may be seeking office this fall. After all, many elections are won by narrow margins, and grabbing the low hanging fruit for a few votes is sometimes enough to push a candidate over the edge.


Nice post coloradokevin.

My own thought is that if I knew my money was going to some kind of protection/improvement of the peak, I wouldn't mind paying something.

On the other hand, I'd like to see more of our tax money go to wilderness/outdoor recreation/bikepaths/anything that promotes outdoor excersize, rather than only paying fees. To me, it's an investment. Lack of excersize is costing this country trillions of dollars and places to recreate help with the problem, IMHO. By spending a small amount of money (and the National Forest is a drop in the bucket) and providing public lands/places to recreate in a healthy manner, money could actually be saved in things like health cost. At least that's my take on it. IMHO, this is a better way to spend tax money than some other schemes (such as the Iraq War).

As far as crowds go, I like remote areas too and have been to many. I think people should be encouraged to spend time in the outdoors though, as long as they tread lightly, and if so I don't mind sharing the mountain. The more that visit the mountains, the more that will want to protect them.

but i want to climb 14ers. would be worth the $10 upgrade imo


If you don't like crowds, but still like 14ers, it's easy to find solitude. Just go outside the June through September season. Some peaks, such as Bierstadt and Quandary get a fair amount of off season traffic, but most mountains are pretty empty for most of the year. Even my 8 and 10 year old kids climb mountains year round, so there really is no excuse for complaining about crowds and then only going in summer.
I'm slow and fat. Unfortunately, those are my good qualities.

User avatar
Posts: 594
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2011 5:31 pm

Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby ChrisRoberts » Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:33 pm

coloradokevin wrote:
SilverLynx wrote:For the love of God, if the complaint is crowds, the solution is 13ers, not fees at trailheads.


Spot on.


Yes, 13ers are the answer. Not 12ers...leave them alone they suck.
Some rise, some fall, some climb to get to terrapin
Read all about my schemes and adventuring at NoCo Chris Latest TR: Kansas City for the summer

User avatar
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2009 9:15 am

Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby Boulderlaw » Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:38 pm

I donate $20 to the Colorado Fourteeners Initative, 14ers.ORG, every time I climb a 14er. I like that arrangement. I would not feel good about paying the USFS $20 per hike; I would have far less confidence that the money was being used wisely.

How about a CFI tip jar at every 14er trailhead?

User avatar
Posts: 1534
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 7:33 pm
Location: Arvada, CO

Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby coloradokevin » Mon Aug 20, 2012 10:38 pm

ChrisRoberts wrote:
coloradokevin wrote:
SilverLynx wrote:For the love of God, if the complaint is crowds, the solution is 13ers, not fees at trailheads.


Spot on.


Yes, 13ers are the answer. Not 12ers...leave them alone they suck.



I get your humor with that post, but it might bring up a point that is worth mentioning (either that, or I just talk too much -- which is entirely possible).

If you're looking for solitude, going anywhere other than the most popular climbs/hikes in this state is probably a good idea. The fee issue doesn't seem to correlate with the crowd reduction issue to me. You can add fees, but the crowds will still come to popular peaks/destinations (they already do in most well-known fee areas). I know some folks have mentioned that adding user fees would improve the climber experience, ostensibly by eliminating the crowds. I imagine the situation won't change to a noticeable level, even if we're paying.

Lets say that Grays Peak suddenly started getting half of the people that it currently does on a mid-summer weekend (I'm guessing maybe 100 climbers instead of perhaps 200 climbers). Such a change would do little to increase a person's sense of wilderness, and even less to address their desire for solitude. Adding fees merely adds red tape and bureaucracy to the climbing experience, in addition to some as of yet undetermined amount of money.

Solitude is still available in this state, you just need to know where to look (hint: it's often where no one else is looking). It's a wee bit selfish when people visit popular trails and then complain that other people are also enjoying the same area; it's more selfish still when people advocate fees to keep other climbers off of the climbs that they want to enjoy.

We were hiking the Indian Peaks area last week, just going up to some of the well-known lakes. We didn't complain about the crowds on those hikes, because we expected crowds on those hikes -- summer weekend from the 4th of July trailhead. Similarly, I don't expect to be alone on Mt. Evans in July, though I've had very nice climbs of that peak almost every year in mid-September, once the road closes the tourists off of the peak, and the fair-weather climbers put their boots away for the year. Honestly, September is one of my favorite months for climbing 14'ers. Even during the peak of tourist season I've found solitude in desert areas of western Colorado, often in places that are still as magnificent as any other well-known destination. This year we went out to Rattlesnake Canyon (near Fruita) and didn't see a soul for approximately 24 hours, despite being in an area that the ranger described as "very popular". Destination popularity is a relative term.

So, before anyone advocates fees on the basis of crowd control, I'd give some serious consideration to whether or not such a fee will really change the user experience to a level that is significant enough to justify the cost. Though quotas and fees are sometimes looked at as one in the same, they really are not.

Online
User avatar
Posts: 407
Joined: Wed Jul 14, 2010 1:20 pm
Location: Land of Fruits and Nuts

Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby painless4u2 » Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:40 am

Another option for more solitude is to try less popular routes up our beloved 14ers. When we hiked Tour d' Abyss for Bierstadt/Evans, we saw no one for most of the trip, until the summit of Evans. Pikes? We did Crags and saw very few along the way. We're getting ready for a climb up Longs. Keyhole? Nah. Keplinger's: No crowds, until the Homestretch. You may share the summit with the multitudes, but the hike along the way can be done without a lot of company.
This whole discussion is really more about revenue enhancement for local communities and the Forest Service, rather than crowd control on 14ers. The notion that we want to discourage people from climbing 14ers (to limit crowds) seems counterintuitive to the 14er.com purpose. Isn't this all about informing people on how best to experience the mountains we love? Crowds just mean we're doing a pretty good job getting the word out.
In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. Proverbs 16:9

Bad decisions often make good stories.

User avatar
Posts: 722
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2008 10:12 am

Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby Hungry Jack » Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:38 am

Complaints about crowds on 14ers reflect poorly on the plaintiff.

I don't like throngs of tourists in Chicago, but they are a big reason why this city has great eateries, watering holes, music, museums, etc.

Is it that hard to avoid them in CO? You can climb Democrat in solitude via its north ridge.

Economic growth helps build better communities.

User avatar
Posts: 69
Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2008 12:57 pm
Location: Lakewood, CO

Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby PeteDunnewald » Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:05 am

SilverLynx wrote:For the love of God, if the complaint is crowds, the solution is 13ers, not fees at trailheads.

I don't think the fees are being proposed as a means of crowd control. This is just some bureaucrats and politicians that see something gaining popularity, and want to try to make a buck off of it.
Pete

User avatar
Posts: 1534
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 7:33 pm
Location: Arvada, CO

Re: 14'er Climbing Fees Might Be Considered

Postby coloradokevin » Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:50 am

4Lo wrote:
SilverLynx wrote:For the love of God, if the complaint is crowds, the solution is 13ers, not fees at trailheads.

I don't think the fees are being proposed as a means of crowd control. This is just some bureaucrats and politicians that see something gaining popularity, and want to try to make a buck off of it.
Pete


No, it doesn't appear that the intention of that study, or proposing fees, was to control crowds. However, quite a few of the people who responded to this thread on the "in-favor" side of the fee debate did state that they felt a fee-for-use system would help to control the crowds in popular areas like Grays and Torreys. I sincerely doubt that's the case, as I spoke about in my previous post.

But, there are definitely plenty of places to hike where crowds are far less of a concern. Generally, I've found that the best bet for crowd avoidance is finding those trails/mountains where getting to the trailhead is half of the epic experience.

PreviousNext

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests