Forest Service proposes new fees, price hikes at some Sawtooth campgrounds, hot springs

S Frost/

Several Sawtooth-area campsites and day-use areas, including a popular hot springs spot, could see price increases or fees imposed, U.S. Forest Service officials said Monday.

According to a news release from the Sawtooth National Forest, officials are proposing fee changes at 14 agency-managed sites in the Fairfield Ranger District. The district covers the southwest portion of the forest and shares a border with the Boise National Forest’s Mountain Home and Idaho City districts.

“We recognize how important these sites are to our local communities and those who use the sites,” Fairfield District Ranger Marty Gmelin said in the release. “These fee increases will help us maintain the sites to the level and quality people have come to expect as well as make the fees more consistent throughout the state.”

The public can offer feedback on the fee proposals by emailing, visiting or sending mail to Sawtooth National Forest, Attention: Marty Gmelin, 102 First Street East, Fairfield, ID 83327. The public comment period ends Jan. 6.

The proposal includes implementing fees at six sites that are currently free to use. If those proposals are approved, visitors to Baumgartner Hot Springs will pay $5 per day, and campers will pay $10 for a single site and $20 for a double site at Bear Creek Transfer Camp, Five Points Campground and Pioneer Campground. The Pioneer Group Campground will cost $100 per night for up to 50 people.

The agency is also proposing fee increases at eight campsites. If approved, prices at Abbott, Bird Creek, Bowns, Chaparral and Willow Creek campgrounds and Canyon Transfer Camp will increase from $6 for a single site to $10, and from $10 for a double site to $20. At Baumgartner Campground, campers could see increases from $10 for a single site to $15 and from $20 for a double site to $30. Group campsites at Baumgartner could increase from $40 per group of up to 32 people to $60, and from $100 for the entire site to $180.