Coronado National Forest officials are seeking comment in the coming months about proposed increases in recreation fees at developed picnic areas, campgrounds and group sites.

It costs about $3.8 million a year to maintain developed sites, not including trails and remote camping areas, said Heidi Schewel, a spokeswoman for the forest service, in a news release.

Currently, the revenue to operate and maintain developed sites is about $1.3 million a year, which is a $2.5 million shortage, Schewel said. She said about 50 percent of the funding comes from tax dollars allocated by Congress, with the rest from fees.

Under the proposal:

  • Fees for day-use sites would go to $8 from $5 per day.
  • Campground fees would increase to $20 from $10 per night.
  • A $50 flat fee, plus a $10 vehicle charge per day, is suggested for group sites with both picnic and camping.

The fee proposal would apply to the current 78 developed recreation sites, and an additional 23 day-use sites, five campgrounds and seven group sites where users currently do not pay fees, Schewel said.

The additional day-use sites that would be affected include Windy Point Vista area, Bigelow Trailhead, Parker Canyon Lake fishing and boating, Peña Blanca Lake fishing and boating, Riggs Lake fishing and boating, and Butterfly Trailhead.

Under the proposal, the additional campgrounds that would be affected are Clark Peak Corrals, Herb Martyr, Round-the-Mountain, Stockton Pass and Sycamore.

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And the additional group sites affected would be Columbine Visitor Center Ramada, Gordon Hirabayashi Horse Camp, Stockton Pass, Treasure Park, Twilight, Upper Arcadia and Upper Hospital Flat.

Recreation fee sites provide amenities such as picnic tables, restrooms, trash receptacles, designated parking, visitor security and interpretive signs, and exhibits or kiosks, said Schewel.

She said the fees would be used for operations, maintenance and replacement costs.

Comments can be emailed through March 2018 to

Public meetings to discuss the fee proposals are planned but are yet to be announced. The dates will be posted at

Contact reporter Carmen Duarte at or 573-4104. On Twitter: @cduartestar


Carmen started at the Star in 1981 and covers the aging population. She wrote “Mama’s Santos: An Arizona Life”, a book about the Mexican and Mexican-American experience in the Southwest through stories about her family. It won 11 awards.