Public invited to comment on Grand Island fee update
July 6, 2017
MUNISING — Hiawatha National Forest is currently seeking public comments on a proposal that would change the recreation fees at Grand Island National Recreation Area in order to operate and maintain recreation facilities on the island. The comment period will be from July 6 through Sept. 6. The proposal includes new fees for overnight camping and an increase to the current fees for day use areas across the island.
Interested public can comment by filling out one of the special comment forms available at Grand Island National Recreation Area or by entering comments online (https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public/CommentInput?project=NP-1683). Comments can also be mailed to Munising Ranger District; attn.: FLREA; 400 East Munising Avenue, Munising, MI 49862. Additionally, in the near future the Forest Service will announce a public open house to answer questions and collect comment forms.
Public comments on the proposal will become part of the proposal package, which the Eastern Region Recreation Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) is scheduled to review in November 2017. Once the RAC provides its review, the Regional Forester will make a decision on the proposal.
In 2004, Congress passed the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA), which allows the Forest Service to retain funds collected at certain recreation sites and use these funds to operate, maintain and improve these sites. Before the Forest Service received the authority to retain funds locally, all fees collected by the Forest Service went to the national treasury.
The current recreation fees on Grand Island NRA, established in 1999 include:
Day use fee: $2/person
Annual boater day use sticker: $20/boat
The proposal would change the fees on Grand Island NRA as follows:
Day use fee: $5/person
Annual boat sticker: $40
Individual campsite (1-6 people) (1-4): $8-$10
Group campsite (1-25 people): $30
Since the original fees were established in 1999, many improvements have been made to Grand Island NRA facilities and services. More significantly, use has increased from about 7000 people visiting the island in 2013 to nearly 11,500 in 2016. At the current visitation rate, the new fees would increase revenue collected from about $19,000 to $66,000 per year. These funds would allow the Forest to hire additional seasonal staff to support recreation services on the island, to further maintain infrastructure within the campsites and day use areas on the island, and provide better public service.
The majority (about 95%) of recreation fees collected on Grand Island remain on the Forest for operation, maintenance, and improvement of facilities and programs on the island. As a supplement to appropriated funds, these funds are critical for safe, efficient operation of Grand Island NRA such as critical equipment maintenance and the dredging necessary for water access to the Island. For more information about this project, view the project details online (https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public/CommentInput?project=NP-1683) or contact:
Brian Hinch (Grand Island/Developed Sites Recreation Technician), Munising Ranger District, 906-387-2512, firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul Holeva (Program Manager, Recreation and Lands), Forest Headquarters, 906-428-5889, email@example.com