WASHINGTON, NOVEMBER 3, 2011 AT 3:00 PM EDT - The U.S. Forest Service is waiving fees at most of its day-use recreation sites over Veterans Day weekend.
The fee waivers – the third this year -- are offered in cooperation with other federal agencies under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act. Day-use fees will be waived at all standard amenity fee sites operated by the Forest Service. Concessionaire operated day-use sites may be included in the waiver if the permit holder wishes to participate.
“We’re honoring our country’s brave men and women veterans by waiving fees over the long weekend,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “We encourage people who might not normally enjoy our beautiful public lands to get out of the house and enjoy a forest or grassland near you. Our lands offer a wide range of recreation and educational benefits such as improved physical and mental health, emotional well being, a concern for nature, and a conservation ethic.”
The Forest Service will waive fees four times in 2012: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Weekend – Jan. 14-16; National Get Outdoors Day – June 9; National Public Lands Day – Sept. 29; and Veterans Day Weekend – Nov. 10-12. The fee waiver days support the goals of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative and First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move Outside.”
Traditionally, fees are not charged on 98 percent of national forests and grasslands and over two-thirds of developed recreation sites in national forests and grasslands can be used for free. Many recreation opportunities such as camping, sightseeing and hiking can be enjoyed throughout the year at no cost.
The Forest Service operates approximately 17,000 recreation sites nationwide. Of those, approximately 6,000 require recreation fees, which are used to provide visitor services, repairs and replacements, and facilities maintenance.