The establishment of an entrance fee to enter currently free recreation areas, like the Stanislaus National Forest, is a very real possibility according to Tuolumne County Supervisor Mark Thornton.
Thornton will fly out of Sacramento International Airport on Thursday to Capitol Hill to meet with lawmakers and discuss a variety of issues relevant to the Mother Lode. The fee demonstration program established by the federal government allows areas like the Stanislaus National Forest to charge fees to enter the forest. The Bush Administration and Congress made authorization of the new fees permanent last year.
Thornton says that while he´s not aware of any immediate plans to charge people to enter the Stanislaus, the possibility is very real.
“It means that if the Stanislaus National Forest wants to charge for entry they could levy an annual pass requirement. I think that´s a huge mistake.”
Thornton says he adamantly opposes any effort to charge families to picnic, hike and recreate in the National Forest. He´ll be in Washington , DC to attend the 2-day National Association of Counties meeting the first week of March. He plans on meeting with Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representative George Radanovich while there.