Shawnee National Forest and the Friends of the Shawnee will be hosting the final open house meeting to discuss the forest recreation fee proposal. The open house will take place at the Rose Clare Community Room in the Rose Clare Craft and Antique Mall at 10 Main Street, Rosiclare, Illinois, on Monday, November 25, 2019 from 5:00 p.m.– 7:00 p.m.
“This is the fourth and last of our planned open houses about the fee proposal – though we’ll continue accepting comments through December 6. We’ve talked to a lot of people about the proposal and the reasons we think fees will help us take better care of the Shawnee National Forest, and we hope to hear from more folks who are interested or have concerns about it. Everyone’s input will help us improve the proposal before it is submitted for regional approval,” said Laura Lecher, Recreation Staff Officer for the Shawnee National Forest.
Forest Service personnel will be available to discuss the recreation fee proposal and recreation facilities on the forest, answer questions the public may have, and receive comments on the proposal. This is the final public meeting planned; however, questions can still be directed to the Shawnee National Forest Harrisburg office at 618-253-7114 or through the comment submission process.
The fee proposal was announced August 15, 2019, and public comments will be taken until December 6, 2019. The forest has proposed to implement new day-use-fees of $5 per vehicle at six popular recreation sites: Garden of the Gods Observation Trail, Pounds Hollow Beach, Johnson Creek Boat Launch, Pomona Boat Launch, Bell Smith Springs Interpretive Site, and Little Grand Canyon Trailhead. A $30 annual pass option is also proposed which would cover all day use fee sites on the forest for a calendar year. In addition, the proposal includes increasing the overnight camping fee for the electric sites at Pine Ridge Campground in Pounds Hollow Recreation Area to $15 per campsite.
Information about the proposal and the comment form can be found on the forest website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/shawnee. Comments can be submitted through the website, via email, mail, or hand delivery to a Shawnee National Forest office.
Save the date for the open houses by going to our Facebook events page: www.facebook.com/shawneenatlforest/events.
The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 30 percent of the nation’s surface drinking water to cities and rural communities and approximately 66 million Americans rely on drinking water that originated from the National Forest System. The agency also has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 900 million forested acres within the U.S., of which over 130 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.)