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Shelf Road Camping Fee Increase


Original Post
Kitty Benzar · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2010 · Points: 0

Shelf Road and Penitente Canyon campgrounds are both about to see substantial increases in the camping fees. Comments can still be submitted to BLM
See full information under the Penitente Canyon thread at
THIS LINK

Kitty Benzar · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2010 · Points: 0

The fee increases for Penitente Canyon and Shelf Road campgrounds were approved by the BLM advisory committee, despite a majority of climber comments in opposition. According to the Pueblo Chieftain article pasted below the Shelf Road increases will take effect March 1, presumably the same for Penitente.

BLM campsites fees to increase
Posted: Thursday, February 16, 2012 12:00 am

CANON CITY — The U.S. Bureau of Land Management will increase use fees for the three area campgrounds to help fund improvements.

Beginning March 1, fees at The Bank and Sand Gulch campgrounds in the Shelf Road area will increase. Fees will go from $4 to $7 for individual sites and from $8 to $14 for group sites.

Tim Stich · · Colorado Springs, Colorado · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 1,470

Whatever. Glad I can day trip it now.

"H" Lampasso · · Manitou Springs · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 95

Damn. That's really small beans. I hate to see the increases though. Try camping at Independence Pass at Lincol Gulch CG. I think last year it was $20 a night!! For what? a table and a toilet?

Tim Stich · · Colorado Springs, Colorado · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 1,470

Wow. I have yet to camp there. Them's RMNP day prices.

Wally · · Denver · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 0

Kitty - thanks for keeping us in the loop!

$7 is pretty reasonable for a well kept campground.

Brent Apgar · · Out of the Loop · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 75

Yeah, all in all $7 for Shelf isn't too bad. Inde Pass is ridiculous by comparison.
Thanks for the heads up, curious to see if this changes the crowd situation at Shelf.

Kitty Benzar · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2010 · Points: 0

Glad to oblige. But am I the only one who sees the irony that climbers are getting more information from me than from the BLM, which has a legal obligation to keep the public informed and engaged?

Not quibbling about the idea of paying to use a developed campground. But this one was already turning a profit at the old, lower rate, and they plan to use the extra money to add a bunch of "amenities" that the the climbers who commented overwhelmingly said they don't need or want. Once those are in, the price will probably go up again. A vicious cycle, seen in many places nationwide.

Ike Rushmoore · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 0

Thanks Kitty for keeping the climbers informed. I remember 11 years ago when the sand gultch campground was free. Nothing has changed since then (one more site, tables, fire rings, single crapper) just more signs and more fees.
I've sent my letters to the BLM, but apparently they don't listen to their users; just $.
sad indeed

Brent Apgar · · Out of the Loop · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 75

Doesn't seem to matter to the BLM what the climbing user group wants.

j.mayo · · Colorado Springs, CO · Joined Oct 2008 · Points: 10

what ever keeps TP in the outhouses. with more users of the area come more maintenance for the BLM, emptying fire rings, trail work, road work, cleaning outhouses, pumping outhouses, etc

I don't really want to pay more either but i do remember when the bathrooms were locked up or when there was never any TP when they were unlocked.

Dave Meyers · · Evergreen, CO · Joined May 2006 · Points: 10
j.mayo wrote:what ever keeps TP in the outhouses. with more users of the area come more maintenance for the BLM, emptying fire rings, trail work, road work, cleaning outhouses, pumping outhouses, etc I don't really want to pay more either but i do remember when the bathrooms were locked up or when there was never any TP when they were unlocked.
Kitty did the research on another post (which she had to use some freedom of information act to get), but the BLM is turning PROFIT from Shelf @ $4 / night. Campground fees should cover cost of maintenance and that's it. It's not the job of the government to make money off of a public resource, nor is it their job to make money off of a popular campground to keep other unused/unpopular campgrounds open. Shelf is in dire need of more campsites, not more fees.
Tim Stich · · Colorado Springs, Colorado · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 1,470

Trail work at Shelf is done by organizations like the Rocky Mountain Field Institute, not BLM. I put in an 8 hour day on the trail to the Gallery from Sand Gulch, for instance.

Dave Meyers · · Evergreen, CO · Joined May 2006 · Points: 10
Stich wrote:Trail work at Shelf is done by organizations like the Rocky Mountain Field Institute, not BLM. I put in an 8 hour day on the trail to the Gallery from Sand Gulch, for instance.
+1
The access fund has contributed more to Shelf than the BLM. If the campground fees went to them instead, then I'd pay $20/night.
Kitty Benzar · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2010 · Points: 0

Before 1996, BLM kept 15% of campground revenue for collection and administration. The remainder was sent to the Treasury. Operating money was appropriated to them by Congress (out of those same Treasury funds) and the campgrounds seemed to get along ok except that major repairs sometimes had to be deferred. BLM complained constantly that Congress was not giving them enough money to take care of this deferred maintenance backlog.
In 1996 Congress responded by enacting Fee Demo, followed in 2004 by the FLREA, which allow BLM to keep 100% of their campground revenue. The explicit justification was so that they would have the funds to address their deferred maintenance. Funding for day to day operations continued to be appropriated by Congress, and BLM promised that fee revenue would not offset or displace appropriated funding, but would instead be supplemental and used for deferred maintenance and improvements.
Fast forward to 2012. After nearly 16 years of fee retention, BLM claims a bigger maintenance backlog than ever. And now, without fee retention and ever-increasing fees they claim they won't even be able to keep toilet paper in the toilets.
Fee retention provides a perverse incentive to federal land managers, who now largely follow a "build it and they will pay" policy and look to recreation to be self-supporting. They've adopted what they think of as a business-like approach but without any of the risks of really being in business. BLM's responsibility for providing a public good to all citizens is being lost in the rush to revenue.

Brent Apgar · · Out of the Loop · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 75
Dave Meyers wrote: The access fund has contributed more to Shelf than the BLM. If the campground fees went to them instead, then I'd pay $20/night.
Now that's true.
Tzilla Rapdrilla · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 840
Dave Meyers wrote: +1 The access fund has contributed more to Shelf than the BLM. If the campground fees went to them instead, then I'd pay $20/night.
+1 and the Access Fund contributed at least a net of $25,000 over what the BLM could afford to pay for Cactus Cliff and may have actually paid for the campground construction too. It would be nice if the extra camping fee $$ went to build more campsites & toilets in this heavily used campground.
Peter Stokes · · Them Thar Hills · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 150
Kitty Benzar wrote:They've adopted what they think of as a business-like approach but without any of the risks of really being in business.
I think you've identified a key aspect here, and one that exists in a number of other places in government- federal, state and local.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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