I’m writing this letter in regard to the recent article about the proposed rise in cabin fees at USFS cabins. There are a couple errors in the article that affect the public’s ability to comment on the price increases. One error is that the article states the comment period ends Nov. 10 but in fact it ends Nov. 30. The other error is that the link in the article is broken. The correct link for information and comments is www.fs.usda.gov/goto/r10/cabinproposals.
I personally do not support doubling of the cabin user fee on the only pedestrian accessible cabins in Juneau. For those of us who don’t own a sea-going boat or float plane, these are the only cabins we have access to. It is all well and good that the USFS maintains hundreds of cabins that are inaccessible, but the ones I really care about are the ones I can actually get to. Raising the price to $150 for the typical two day maximum stay means it is unlikely I will take the chance of signing up for a cabin.
Staying at a USFS cabin has been a family tradition. We make reservations six months in advance because that is the only way we have a chance of weekend or summer availability. I risk losing my $70-$90 fee if I did a bad job of predicting when the trail is clear of snow or if we might be having a massive storm — about a 50/50 proposition. Risking $150 is just crazy.
When renting a cabin, I usually see from 5-20 other users who come to the cabin as well. During the day they use the cabin, outhouse, decks, benches, docks, etc. just like I do – but they don’t pay any fee. I am the only one paying directly for maintenance of the cabin, trail, outhouse, parking lot, etc. even though everyone uses them.
Most Juneau cabins are booked almost every day. That’s because they are accessible and somewhat affordable. I’m not against raising cabin fees from time to time (everything seems to keep going up except personal income) but more than doubling fees and bringing them to $75/night is not affordable and is counter to keeping our national forests accessible to all.
I urge readers concerned with these changes to provide comments to the USFS before Dec. 1.