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Forest Service Proposes Fee To Hike Big, Little Cottonwood Canyons

Don Sharaf
American Avalanche Institute
Patsy Marley near Alta Resort in Little Cottonwood Canyon

The U.S. Forest Service has proposed a plan to begin charging people to access some trails in Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons. 

The proposed fee would cost trail users $6 for a 3-day pass or $45 for a year-long pass.

Matthew Lane is the Trails, Wilderness and Dispersed Recreation Manager for the Salt Lake Ranger District. He says most of the money would go right back into park maintenance.

“These canyons are used by millions of people a year, they get more visitation than some of our national parks down south," he says. "Being able to really provide the recreation experience we want to provide for users of the canyon is the ultimate goal behind these fees.” 

Lane says the money would be used for maintaining trails, cleaning bathrooms, and providing park information. He also says the Forest Service may use the funds in partnership with the Utah Department of Transportation, the County Sheriff, and the Unified Police Department to improve safety.

The Cottonwood Canyon pass would be interchangeable with the American Fork Canyon and Mirror Lake Scenic Byway pass without additional charge. The National Park’s “America the Beautiful” Interagency passes would also be accepted at the Canyons.

The Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest service is accepting comments to the proposal through September 9th. If approved, the fees will go into effect in June of 2017.

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