angelesnfBIG NEWS for Southern California Forests – the Adventure Pass may be on its way out … at least, for most of the Forest Areas.

In a press release sent out by the Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Region just a few moments ago, the Forest Service is asking for public comments on proposed changes that would result in more than 160,000 acres of National Forest land becoming fee-free for the public.

In addition to nixing the fees in the majority of the Forest, the Forest Service is proposing to “substantially reduce” the size of the Big Pines, Mount Baldy, Big Tujunga, and San Gabriel Canyon fee areas, eliminate six existing fee areas, and establish fees in three new locations.

In the summer of 2011, the Forest Service reviewed the 97 fee areas on National Forest System lands and has decided to eliminate fees in 73 areas and reduce the size of 24 others across the entire system.

If you would like to offer a public comment on the proposed changes, it must be submitted by January 6th, 2014. You may submit via mail to Tamara Wilton at, or go old school and send a letter to her attention at:
1323 Club Drive
Vallejo, CA 94592

But don’t get too excited … there are a lot of places where you’ll still need an Adventure Pass.

The Adventure Pass and the America the Beautiful ? the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass ARE STILL REQUIRED at the following sites and areas:

San Gabriel Canyon SAF Area
Mt. Baldy SAF Area
Big Tujunga SAF Area
Big Pines SAF Area
Icehouse Canyon Trailhead
Switzers Picnic Area
Mt. Baldy Wayside
San Antonio Falls Trailhead
Delta Flats Day Use Site
Stonyvale Picnic Area
Vogel Flats Picnic Area
Wildwood Picnic Area
Table Mountain Picnic Area
Mescal Picnic Area
Big Pines Clubhouse Day Use Area
Arch Picnic Area
Grassy Hollow Picnic Area
Westgate Picnic Area
three Rowher Flat OHV Staging Areas
Buckhorn Station Day Use Area
Buckhardt Day Use Area
Charlton Flat Day Use Area
Chilao Day Use Site
Devil’s Canyon Day Use Site
Eagle Roost Picnic Area
Islip Saddle Day use Area
Jarvi Vista Memorial Day Use Site
Shortcut Saddle Day Use Site
Three Points Day Use Site
Vista Picnic Area
6000 Foot Day Use Site
Littlerock OHV Trailhead
Chantry Flats Day Use Area
Millard Day Use Area
Red Box Day use Area
Skyline Park Picnic Area
Frenchman’s Flat Day Use Area
Vincent Gap Trailhead
Piru Ponds Interpretive Site
Elizabeth Lake Day Use Area
Big Rock Campground
Blue Ridge Campground
Guffy Campground
Lupine Campground
South Fork Group Campground
Sycamore Flat Campground
Appletree Campground
Peavine Campground
Streamside Campground
Zuni Campground
Winter recreation SRP locations (Mt. Baldy, Big Pines, and Angeles Crest).

Manker, Coldbrook, Crystal Lake, Bandido, Buckhorn, Meadow Group, Coulter Group, Horse Flat, Chilao-Little Pine, and Chilao-Manzanita campgrounds will continue to charge an expanded use fee.

And the following sites are now FREE:

West Fork Trail Camp
Trail Canyon Trailhead
Cabin Flat Trailhead
South Fork Trailhead
Bouquet Crossing Trailhead
Los Cantilles Picnic Area
Drinkwater OHV Staging Area
Cooper Canyon Trail Camp
Little Jimmy Trail Camp
Sulphur Springs Trail Camp
Cascade Picnic Area
Eaton Saddle Trailhead
Echo Mountain Picnic Area
Georges Gap Trailhead
Inspiration Point
Sunset Ridge Trailhead
The Pines Picnic Area
Bear Canyon Trail Camp
Devore Trail Camp
Hoegees Trail Camp
Idlehour Trail Camp
Mt. Lowe Trail Camp
Spruce Grove Trail Camp
Valley Forge Trail Camp
and San Gabriel Canyon OHV Overlook.

For the time being, the Angeles National Forest will not be enforcing fees in the FREE areas listed above. From their press release:

Consistent with direction on implementation of the national fee area review, the Angeles National Forest has not been issuing notices of required fees or enforcing recreation fees outside of the sites and reduced areas listed below.

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Casey Schreiner

Founder and Editor-in-Chief at Modern Hiker
Since founding Modern Hiker in 2006, Casey's work on the site has appeared in regional and national publications, including the Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, the Associated Press, CNN, New York Magazine, High Country News, and others. He has broken several national news stories about outdoor vandalism and policies and his first book "Day Hiking Los Angeles" is available for pre-order.
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This post was written by Casey Schreiner on December 5, 2013


  • T.J. says:

    Just ran across this, obviously, well after the fact.
    Not sure I got the line, “Don’t get too excited.”
    Excited about what? Less money coming in to an already strapped department? More people with even less reason to respect the environment?
    Naaah….they’ll get my 30 bucks a year even if the fees are banned altogether. I’ll just make my own hangtag.

  • jacquieline saldaña says:

    I am hoping that maybe some of the first peoples land that was suppose to go to them by way of Patent Land Grants would come out in bigger news, just so they can be made aware.

  • David says:

    I don’t mind helping to finance the forest, but some research tells me that Adventure Pass money disappears into the colfers of Washington rather than directly impacting ANF. I have to admit, I’m a bit confused about this issue. I thought the Ninth Circuit had ruled out all use of the Adventure Pass?

    From my perspective as a local hiker, I see a lot of sites closed down, unmaintained, roads that used to be open are now gated, and I’m talking outside of the official Station Fire burn area, sites that should be open. The last time I spoke to an ANF ranger about the Adventure Pass, I got an impolite earful. I have to say, I’m generally not very impressed with how things are managed, and the Station Fire is a prime example, both in how the NF helped fight the fire and with recovery efforts-tree planting comes to mind.

    Now, obviously a forest surrounded by urban sprawl has unique challenges, but seriously folks, NF improvements look, well, tired in ANF, and I can’t say that I see that same level of degradation in Los Padres or San Bernardino. So I have to wonder, is throwing money at the issue by way of Adventure Pass really going to help preserve our forest? The proof is in the pudding: Adventure Pass fees have been collected and yet things are still in disrepair. A lot of worthwhile improvements I see seem to come from volunteer groups and individuals. Am I glossing over the good that the NF actually does? For the sake of this argument, yes I am. Forgive me. I’m sure there are a million things the NF does right.

    I have bought an annual pass each year since I moved here 4 years ago. I’m not freeloading on the NF and I’m happy to play by the rules. But, those opposed to the Adventure Pass have some really good points to consider. Hopefully this debate helps us better our forest by allocating dollars to where they are needed most.

  • Kristin Sabo says:

    I like the pass. I don’t mind helping to finance our forest lands and it gives law enforcement probable cause to initiate contact.

  • Noel Smith says:

    I’ll kind of miss it, I never minded the Adventure Pass. As much as the parks tend to get passed by in budget considerations I always thought it was kind of a good thing.

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