Fees for non-commercial float trips on the San Juan River might increase in 2014.
The Bureau of Land Management is seeking public comment on a draft business plan that would raise fees and institute a $6 permit application fee for all private launches. The deadline to comment is Jan. 25.
Under the proposal, individual permits would increase from $6 to $10 for trips from Sand Island to Mexican Hat, from $12 to $20 between Mexican Hat and Clay Hills, and from $18 to $30 for trips from Clay Hills to Sand Island.
Fees on the river have not changed since 2001. However, the BLM says in its draft business plan that operational costs have risen “substantially” since that time.
Brian Quigley, acting Monticello field office manager, wrote in the plan that additional funding is needed “to protect the natural resource and maintain a quality outdoor experience.”
He noted the BLM offers river users boat ramps, parking lots, drinking water, trash removal services, toilet facilities, backcountry campsite maintenance, picnic facilities, interpretive services, a staffed ranger station, and regular safety and resource protection ranger patrols.
One goal is to build a $20,000 double vault toilet at Sand Island by 2016, according to the plan. That’s needed because the current single vault toilet can’t accommodate all the visitors there, the BLM said.
The Monticello field office recorded 167,514 recreational visits in 2007. That increased to 202,943 visits in 2011 – a 21 percent jump, according to the agency.
“This long-term growth trend is expected to continue and increasing recreation visits are anticipated,” the draft plan states.
Commercial river trips have decreased from 298 in 2007 to 264 in 2011, the plan indicates. However, a big increase in non-commercial trips made up for that and boosted the total number of trips from 1,159 in 2007 to 1,448 in 2011.
There were a total of 10,129 visitors on the river in 2007 and 11,794 in 2011, according to the BLM.
The agency anticipates that the new fees would produce almost $110,00 in revenue annually. In addition, the river permit application fee would produce another $22,500, according to BLM projections.
Comments on the fee proposal may be sent to Bureau of Land Management; Monticello Field Office; Attn: Todd Parker, outdoor recreation planner; P.O. Box 7; Monticello, UT 84535. They can be emailed to BLM_UT_MT_Comments@blm.gov. The BLM asks that those filing comments reference “San Juan River” on written material or put “San Juan Business Plan” in the subject line of emails.
More information is available from Parker at 435-587-1505.