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Mt. Evans Road Fiasco GETS WORSE?

Colorado 14ers access and fee issues only, please
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Mt. Evans Road Fiasco GETS WORSE?

Postby BillMiddlebrook » Sun May 27, 2007 3:46 pm

Figured I would go up today and test out the USFS fee collection process after the recent news got out that they shouldn't be charging everyone...

So, I stop at the gate and the conversation goes like this:

Me: Hi
USFS Employee: <Long Pause, waiting for me to say something> Morning. Where you headed?
Me: To the end of the road to take some pictures.
USFS Employee: Ok, it's $10 and did you know the road is not open to the summit?
Me: $10? I'm just driving up the road to take some pictures.
USFS Employee: Will you be parking?
Me: Nope, just stopping to take photos.
USFS Employee: Um.
Me: <Cutting to the chase> I'll just take the free pass, please.
USFS Employee: Ok, hold on.
USFS Employee #2: You will need to pay the fee if you stop along the road.
Me: Wait, even if I stop on the shoulder to take some pictures.
USFS Employee #2: Yes, uh huh.
Me: I'm not sure I understand. Does the USFS own and operate the shoulder of the road or is that owned by the state and managed by CDOT?
USFS Employee #2: <Aggravated at this point> Free access only allows you to use the road non-stop.
Me: Then how do I turn around at Summit Lake?
USFS Employee #2: <Growing more frustrated> You may turn around at the gate or at the summit when it opens next month.
Me: <Holding up traffic> Ok, I'd like the free pass for a non-stop trip up the road, and a turnaround at the end.
USFS Employee #2: Sir, if you're going to stop, you need to pay the fee.
Me: I'm not stopping. <But they knew I was>
USFS Employee #2: Hands me the white pass

I'm off! But it gets better. Knowing that I pissed some folks off, I was sure they would send out an APB for the big blue truck with "14ers.com" across the back glass. I cruise up to Summit Lake and bang a right into the parking area to turn around. I stop for a few seconds because it's packed and people are walking all over the place. Within no time a swarm of green shirts surrounds my truck. Well, 2 USFS employees come to my window and tell me this is a fee area and must have a blue ticket to use the parking area. I tell them I'm turning around and I have the "free pass" and not to worry. I pull ahead another 100' to the west end of the lot where there's room to turn around. Another USFS employee scoots up to my window and tells me this is a fee area. I say "no problem, I'm just turning around" and he lets me off the hook with a warning. Now I know the folks at the bottom must have radioed ahead so I figured I'd have some fun with the feds. So, I stopped and started shooting pictures for an upcoming ski visit to the Summit Bowl! The trusty USFS agents were on the case. This time a 4th (no kidding) employee approaches my truck as I act like I don't see him. He informs me that this is a fee area and asks if I paid the fee. "Nope," I said. Proudly showing my crumpled sheet of white paper. He asks me to leave. "Sure," I said, "as soon as I take a few more pictures, I'm outta here." He walks away and starts chatting with 2 other feds. Then I roll out like I just stole a pack of gum.

Bottom line: I counted over 70 other cars and every one I saw had a blue (paid) pass in the windshield. Not one other white, free pass to be found. The USFS has stepped up their collection and they want your $10. Staff is out in full force to make sure they don't lose any of their valuable Mt. Evans revenue. I'm sure the money covers a lot of other USFS projects in the district, plus they would probably have to lay off some of the employees if they didn't get the Evans money. Also, the old CDOT sign that said you don't have to pay to drive the road is GONE. Yes, gone. So it seems the USFS has won for now. Amazing. The white pass is more of a "Hey, I didn't pay" thing and 10 times the size of the little blue coupon that every other paying customer sticks (with provided scotch tape) to the inside of the windshield. Here it is (with my yellow highlighting):
Image

My quest was simply to get a couple of photos:
Image
Last edited by BillMiddlebrook on Wed Jun 06, 2007 10:18 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Postby Andy » Sun May 27, 2007 3:50 pm

:lol: :lol: :lol:

Thanks for an awesome TR Bill. Good beta to know!
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Postby XkyleX » Sun May 27, 2007 3:52 pm

Ha ha ha! Nice work, Bill!!!!
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Postby Cruiser » Sun May 27, 2007 4:08 pm

Here's some backstory about this foolishness:
http://www.14ers.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=2814
http://www.14ers.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=5736

Sounds like the USFS is going to get theirs though. I'm sorry to hear that yet another "public" area is, for all intensive purposes, off limits to the non-fee-paying public.
Last edited by Cruiser on Sun May 27, 2007 5:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby roozers42 » Sun May 27, 2007 4:57 pm

OH man, Scott is going to want to try this. Thanks for the update, Bill!

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Postby ajkagy » Sun May 27, 2007 6:49 pm

haha thats good, ive got to try that...

So let me get this straight, you can't stop to get the free pass? So what is the point of going up there if you can't stop?

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Postby skier25 » Sun May 27, 2007 6:56 pm

Good Job, Bill! I am going up there tomorrow to scope out the summit bowl also. I think I'll demand a free pass as well! :D
Last edited by skier25 on Sun May 27, 2007 7:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby USAKeller » Sun May 27, 2007 7:00 pm

Damn, that's crazy Bill. You know David would have said the exact same thing and carried out the same actions! That's funny. But, thanks for the info- I'd like to take one myself! I, too, am curious about CDOT's removal of that sign.

And, I definitely agree with this:
Cruiser wrote:Sounds like the USFS is going to get theirs though. I'm sorry to hear that yet another "public" area is, for all intensive purposes, off limits to the non-fee-paying public.
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Postby cftbq » Sun May 27, 2007 8:20 pm

My hat's off to you, Bill, for doing your bit for civil disobedience. The real shame is that you were the only one--what we need is lots of people doing this, every day! They can harass one person at a time; it's a lot harder to harass a constant stream of people.
Actually (cynic that I am), I'm not surprised at the FS's actions. My $.02: I don't think the money going into the FS coffers is really important or likely to determine anything. OTOH, the fact of the money coming out of the pockets of the public is important, because it comes under the category of showing you who's boss.
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Postby ajkagy » Sun May 27, 2007 8:40 pm

how funny would it be to line up about 50 cars and just stream through there all with free passes...hehe

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Postby Piker » Sun May 27, 2007 9:06 pm

ajkagy wrote:how funny would it be to line up about 50 cars and just stream through there all with free passes...hehe


I was thinking the exact same thing.
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Postby Mountainman18 » Sun May 27, 2007 9:29 pm

Bill, have you considered getting in touch with the media outlets in Denver? or has this already been done? Maybe a news story might get the issue some more attention and possibly a result to the favor of the people who don't want to be illegally charged to park.

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