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Bighorn National Forest is planning to charge $10 to park at West Tensleep Trailhead, the most popular access into the Cloud Peak Wilderness Area.
Following a recommendation given on May 7 by Wyoming's Recreation Action Team (REACT), the Forest has agreed to continue taking public comments.
Please take a moment to send an email opposing this fee proposal to Put "West Tensleep Trailhead Fee" in the subject line.
Your comment need not be lengthy or detailed. Just say that fees should not be used to control or limit access to healthy outdoor recreation in wild undeveloped places. Our public lands are spaces where everyone should have access and feel welcome, not just those who can afford to pay.
You can read the official documents proposing the fee, as well as press coverage and comments submitted by others HERE. If you would like your comment posted please send a copy to

 West Tensleep LakeBACKGROUND: On November 3, 2009 the Bighorn National Forest published a notice in the Federal Register that read,

"The Bighorn National Forest, Powder River Ranger District,  will begin charging a $10.00/vehicle per day use fee for parking at the  existing developed trailhead, West Tensleep Trailhead."

We immediately contacted the District Ranger to remind him that the law prohibits fees for parking on National Forests. In response he cancelled that Federal Register notice and on December 23, 2009 published a revised one. The revised notice said,

"The Bighorn National Forest, Powder River Ranger District, is proposing to charge a $10.00 per vehicle fee (Standard Amenity Recreation Fee) for use of the site amenities at West Tensleep Trailhead."

These revisions do not satisfy our concerns because in addition to prohibiting fees for parking, the law also prohibits fees,

(C) For dispersed areas with low or no investment . . .

(D) For persons who are driving through, walking through, boating through, horseback riding through, or hiking through Federal recreational lands and waters . . .

(E) For camping at undeveloped sites that do not provide a minimum number of facilities and services . .
[16 U.S.C. 6802(d)(1)]

The West Tensleep Trailhead - or any trailhead - is not a place that people visit in order to "use the site amenities." As the most popular trailhead into the Cloud Peak Wilderness, it is used to access a dispersed area. Visitors leave their vehicles there (park) so that they can walk or horseback ride through Federal recreational lands and camp at undeveloped sites. The Bighorn National Forest's proposal ignores these prohibitions in the law, and should not be allowed to proceed. Please add your voice to those of the many individuals and organizations that have submitted official comments objecting to this unauthorized fee for access to dispersed undeveloped federal lands.

Comments should be submitted in writing to Powder River Ranger District, 1415 Fort Street, Buffalo, WY 82834.  Email comments should be submitted to with “West Tensleep Trailhead Fee” in the subject line.

©2008 Western Slope No Fee Coalition
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