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Adventure Pass
updated: May 01, 2011, 6:32 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

Okay, edhatters, what's the REAL deal on the Adventure Pass? An hour of searching produces a LOT of conflicting information. Apparently it's a parking permit when you "recreate" in "High Impact Rec Areas".

There's a lot of confusion as to what areas it covers. For example, FS website says that it's not needed when staying on the road to look at a view or take pictures. BUT Edhat post from LPNFS Adventure Pass Officer (on 4/5/11 I think) says you need one for the wildflowers at Figueroa Mountain.

We know some people say that they get ticket after ticket, ignore them, and there is no follow up. Is that true? Is this just a toothless tiger?

SUPPOSEDLY at least 80% of the money stays local but who collects? And what are the references of "corporate forest takeovers" that are on the web and on the hill on Paradise Road?

Would love some Edhat discussion, for and against!

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 169362 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-05-01 06:43 PM

I see it this way, you pay a little in the form of a parking permit, in order to enjoy the maintained parts of the forest. This includes day use of things like redrock and sage hill, or overnight in the campgrounds. If you are really opposed to paying for some upkeep personally, then take your chances, you might get a ticket, and then as with all tickets you choose whether to pay it or not. The first thing you must decide is....can you do you small part to help pay to keep the facillities in good condition?


 COMMENT 169369P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-05-01 07:02 PM

Just don't go up to the AP areas on a weekend. You'll rarely if ever encounter a ranger, and no pass needed. One exception: Snow on Fig on a weekday.


 COMMENT 169370 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-05-01 07:03 PM

If you stay in your car, no problem. Set foot outside and you're subject to being ticketed. But I don't think they come after you if you don't pay up.

If you are age 62 or more, here is the world's best deal: a $10 lifetime senior pass. Good for free parking in the National Forests, free admission to National Parks for you and everyone in your vehicle, discounts on camping in various federally-owned areas, etc. etc. Just post it on your dash and enjoy your public lands. Get it at any National Park or at the Los Padres National Forest office on Hollister. THE best benefit of getting old!


 COMMENT 169375 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-05-01 07:21 PM

The deal is, the taxes you pay for for bailouts, pensions and foreign wars. Everything else requires a user fee. Fortunately the AP is not a real fee but rather a trial program with no enforcement behind it so feel free to paper your birdcage with those "tickets".


 COMMENT 169382 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-05-01 07:40 PM

I bought a year pass once. Otherwise no, I don't any more. Typically when I'm inspired to go up into the mountains it's early in the morning and sure as heck I'm not going to wait for some store to open so I can buy the right to go hiking on public land. I've gotten two tickets in -- what is it, about 15 years? -- but paid them both. I don't mind. I have heard, but not verified, that they don't come after you if you don't pay, but I always pay tickets.

Once on Figueroa Mountain I got back to my car just as a ranger was pulling up. We had a pleasant conversation.


 COMMENT 169430 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-05-02 06:38 AM

Could an AP ticket turn out to be like that parking ticket from Iowa that you do not bother to pay because you never will go back there? Long after you have forgotten it, they turn it over to a collection agency and your FICO score plummets. How about an unpaid obligation to the US Government when you need a background check for a really good job?


 COMMENT 169444 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-05-02 07:13 AM

seriously are you people that frugal. A pass is $5.00 - the cost of a latte schmatte and really much better for you than that $8.00 drink of the week! And if you tend to go "up to the hills" more than 6 times a year - then spring for the year pass. A steal at $30.00 and it gives you unlimited visits to our backbounty! Plus it helps to pay for things likeTP, road repairs, and the occasional ranger.
$30.00 folks - when did you last spend $30 and get a year's worth of fun?


 COMMENT 169454P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-05-02 07:27 AM

Even if you have a pass, the "camp hosts" out at Paradise like to give people grief about paying an additional fee to get out there, which seems completely illegal. That situation needs to get clarified before the water level goes down again.


 COMMENT 169483P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-05-02 08:32 AM

To the best of my knowledge, that Senior pass does not cover this access. Maybe that has changed?


 COMMENT 169488 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-05-02 08:36 AM

Yes, the people at Paradise are a disgrace. I've contacted the Forest about them and was given promises of fixing the situation, but all that talk from Los Padres was just that - nothing was ever done.

By the way, we already pay taxes to use our forest. The "fees" are for those lovely "hosts" and other unneeded "services".


 COMMENT 169491 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-05-02 08:49 AM

I'd like to know what percentage of the $5 at Red Rocks goes to the Forest and what percentage goes to the company that the Forest Service contracts to collect the money. I believe they are called Rocky Mountain.


 COMMENT 169492 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-05-02 08:50 AM

Until every penny of an Adventure Pass goes back into maintenance of the same forest that it was purchased in i will continue to boycott them.


 COMMENT 169494 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-05-02 08:54 AM

OPs here: We can afford to pay the fees and do frequent the back country with some regularity to backpack and hike. That's not the issue.

The issue is trying to understand WHAT the fees are for and WHO is paying for it. Am I, going to limited use areas subsidizing those that frequent the OHV areas? And are we sure that the fees paid here stay here?

In addition, I understand that there is a deficit and that the Forest Service is underfunded by Congress. I understand that this program is a way to gauge the willingness to pay by forest users so that taxpayers that DON'T use the forests aren't paying for it. But the flip side is that there are plenty of things that I don't "use" that my taxes pay for.

Isn't there intrinsic value in having the forests, whether or not you use them? I guess that's part of another discussion.


 COMMENT 169514 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-05-02 09:32 AM

I spoke with a forest ranger recently who dismissed getting the pass except when there are park services in the area, which seems to be the main reason for the fee.

btw: thanks for the senior lifetime pass info. I am turning 62 this August.


 COMMENT 169528 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-05-02 10:10 AM

I sure hope my AP money isn't going to subsidize those who frequent hiking and backpacking trails. Just kidding.........kinda. I don't think anyone will tell you where the money goes or if it stays local. The tickets aren't enforced, but it gets old having to argue with camp hosts and rangers about it. Please don't hate on OHV users, we already pay more than you with our vehicle registrations and we use less than 1% of the forest.


 COMMENT 169538 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-05-02 10:33 AM

To those talking about arguing with camp hosts over APs, what exactly are they saying? I've only been camping in that area twice, once at Paradise, once at Fremont, and the hosts never gave me any issues. We paid for the camp site, and were told the paper they put in our car window served as our AP for our visit. We could visit anywhere in the LPNF & not have to pay for the AP since it was 'included' so to speak in the cost of the camp site reservation. I'm curious what issues others have had (in case I have them in the future!). The hosts were ... interesting ... at both sites, but not rude or pushy (talkative to an extreme, though, which I'm not sure was much better).


 COMMENT 169563 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-05-02 11:05 AM

I think the campsites are free at Paradise and Fremont. So it sounds like you bought the pass thinking it was a camp fee. Try not buying the pass next time and you'll see what I'm talking about. The paradise road area is the worst when it comes to the AP, but you can still be made to feel like a criminal at any of the other free camping areas in LP, without your AP as well.


 COMMENT 169572P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-05-02 11:22 AM

The Rocky Mountain concessionaire at Paradise absolutely needs to go. They are misleading the public about the fee program and they are not good representatives of the agency they're contracted by.


 COMMENT 169579P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-05-02 11:31 AM

This is what happens when you turn inherently governmental functions over to private industry to make a buck.


 COMMENT 169586 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-05-02 11:51 AM

The kiosk workers at the end of Paradise Road two weeks ago did not know that the Aliso trail just above Upper Oso campground had collapsed and was no longer passable. When we reported it to the Forest Service they said THEY knew, and that is was possible it will never be repaired because of a lawsuit. They said Los Padres Forest Watch has a potential lawsuit out with the forest service. So they have their hands tied right now. As a result of this lawsuit slides from this winter's rains are not being cleared off trails and roads, and popular camps are closed indefinitely. Pathetic. If a mule can't get across the trail you gotta know it is in bad shape!


 COMMENT 169600 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-05-02 12:16 PM

483P: re what the Senior Pass covers: mine says Lifetime Pass for U.S. Citizen or permanent resident, 62 years or older. Valid at Federal recreation entrance or standard amenity fee sites for pass holder and occupants of single private, non-commercial vehicle, etc. etc. US Fish & Wildlife Service, Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Bureau of Reclamation. May entitle pass holder to some discounts. May not cover concession facilities or activities, etc.


 COMMENT 169601 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-05-02 12:19 PM

p.s. My husband's "geezer pass" has saved us from getting a Forest Service ticket more than once. From a hillside across the road, we could see the disappointed look on the ranger's face when he noticed the pass on our dashboard.


 COMMENT 169614 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-05-02 01:20 PM

Los Padres Forest Watch is the reason the first water crossing is still closed on Paradise Road as well. Those are the type of do gooders we could do without.


 COMMENT 169637P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-05-02 03:17 PM

The idea behind the AP was that it would help pay for maintenance of roads and amenities in our national forests, due to the budget cuts that congress inflicted on the forest service. The reality is that: (a) People object to paying twice. Forests are one of the only things we almost all enjoy, and citizens were angry about forest service budgets being cut to double-tax the middle class, who use it as their recreation. (b) The AP only generated enough funds to fund enforcement of the AP -- a classic bureaucratic boondoggle. So, (c) most people chose to ignore it or openly defy it. We stopped going, or put a "research" sign in our car window for some years. Now that one of us is 62, we bought the lifetime senior pass and will never deal with it again. That's fine for us, but it still should be abolished, and funding restored to the forest service adequate to maintain the roads and amenities.


 COMMENT 169642 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-05-02 03:25 PM

563: I could be wrong, but I'm fairly certain the campsites are not free. I reserved them to ensure I had a spot on a popular weekend, and paid the camp site reservation fee (reserveamerica, I think). The paper they put in my window looked different that the APs I saw in other windows when we went to another area to hike. Has anyone ever camped at Paradise or Fremont and not had to pay? I'm very curious, I want to know if I could just get there early on a busy weekend & stake my claim before the hoards show up & snag one of the few walk up sites.


 COMMENT 169663 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-05-02 04:49 PM

You're right 642, I was mistaken. But if you want to see a "host" get mad, try using the day area at White Rock without an AP or camping pass. And even better is tell the person running the kiosk you aren't interested in supporting the AP.


 COMMENT 169698P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-05-02 07:06 PM

My husband bought a "lifetime senior pass" and every time we tried to use it they said it was not good at that spot-even though the alternative was buying an adventure pass. It was a total waste of money.


 COMMENT 171126 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-05-07 07:50 PM

I just spoke with the supervisor in the Forest Service dept that handles the non payment issues regarding the passes, and I can confirm that they are NOT enforceable and will not result in any actions being taken. What they will do is take more money from hard working private citizens, and funnel it to the pensions of public employees!


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