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October 21, 2014

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Red Rock floats plan to raise fees; public comment sought

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  • To read the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Draft Business Plan, go to www.nv.blm.gov/vegas and click on the link to the plan.

Red Rock Canyon officials are seeking comments on plans to raise fees at the national conservation area.

The fees for a day pass on the scenic drive would rise from $5 for a car to $7. Motorcycles would see an increase from $2 to $3. Bicyclists and hikers would be asked to pay $3, where they now are admitted for free.

An annual pass would cost $30, up from $20, and tour buses would be charged $5 per person, compared with the current $2.

In addition, the charge for individual campsites would rise from $10 to $15 and from $25 to $40 for group campsites. Group picnics at Red Spring, which are now free, would cost $40.

Public meetings to accept comments will be scheduled, BLM spokeswoman Kirsten Cannon said, and comments also are being collected by e-mail ([email protected]), fax (702-515-5023) or mail (BLM Southern Nevada District Office, Attn: Mark Tanaka-Sanders, 4701 N. Torrey Pines, Las Vegas, NV 89130). Comments may also be delivered to the Red Rock Visitor Center or the Red Rock Campground. The deadline for comments is Nov. 16.

The soonest new fees would go into effect would be March, Cannon said.

A business plan produced by the Bureau of Land Management, which operates the conservation area, notes that fees have not increased on the 13-mile scenic drive for more than 10 years, but amenities along the route have been added. In addition, it says, maintenance on the area’s 18 buildings, three historic structures, 127 miles of roads, 28 parking lots, 77 campsites, 39 restrooms and more than 100 miles of trails could suffer without the fee increase.

The added revenue would go directly to Red Rock Canyon, the plan says. It would help fill an annual funding gap of $985,000 between its current federal funding and fee collection and its expenses identified in a 10-year plan.

The plan notes three goals:

• Work to maintain public enjoyment of the park, including basic maintenance, road signs informational kiosks, law enforcement and expanded visitor center hours, at an annual cost of $599,000.

• Rehabilitate high-use recreational areas, including Oliver Ranch, add RV dumping stations to the campground, develop Ash Springs and complete a comprehensive trail plan, at an annual cost of $178,000.

• Remove graffiti, restore plants, eradicate non-native species and protect and rehabilitate the Garland area, at an annual cost of $209,000.

“We would like the public to comment not only on the fees, but also on the overall goals that have been set for the national conservation area,” Cannon said.

Visitor volume to Red Rock Canyon has increased by more than 100,000 annually since 2001 to 873,000 in 2008, the report says. The area collected $1.9 million in fees in 2008.

The business plan forecasts the increase in fees would ring in an added $987,000. It assumes sales of day passes will decrease while annual pass sales would increase.

Jean Reid Norman can be reached at 948-2073 or [email protected].

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