The fee to camp at Coleman Lake has been $12 per night since 1996, according to a news release issued last week by the Talladega National Forest, Shoal Creek District. The money helps to fund maintenance and upgrades on the sites where they are collected, said Karen McKenzie, district ranger.
At Coleman Lake, the fees have helped fund work such as a new picnic pavilion, sod, gravel on the camping pads, an upgraded water system and plumbing fixtures, according to the news release.
“The fee increase would be consistent with inflationary costs as well as ensure that fees are comparable to similar public and private sites,” the release states.
According to the press release, forestry officials publicized the possible change through advertisements in The Cleburne News and The Anniston Star in October 2008 and flyers at the park from October through December 2008.
McKenzie said the five-year delay in reviewing the comments was because the Southern Region Recreation Resource Advisory Committee, a citizen’s advisory committee whose job is to ensure the U.S. Forest Service addresses public concerns about recreation fees, went inactive for a few years.
She is unsure why.
“The team that meets in our region, for a while were not meeting for fee increases,” McKenzie said.
The former responses are still valid, though, she said. In addition, the public is invited to once again comment on the increase by calling McKenzie at 256-463-2272 extension 102. When the comments were originally requested, they were generally favorable, McKenzie said.
The next committee meeting is expected to be in 2013. The meeting will be announced on the website at www.fs.usda.gov/main/r8/recreation/racs.
Staff writer Laura Camper 463-2872. On Twitter @LCamper_Star.