BLM proposes fee for desert campground
The Bureau of Land Management is proposing to begin charging people to camp near a popular mountain biking spot in the desert north of Fruita.
The agency is seeking public comment on its recommendation for a $10 per campsite, per night fee for the 37-site North Fruita Desert campground at the end of 18 Road. Officials are asking for feedback by Nov. 18. They will then present the fee hike to the Northwest Resource Advisory Council on Dec. 1, who will make a recommendation on it.
If approved by the BLM state director, the new fee is expected to go into effect sometime next year.
“We are at a point where we can’t continue to meet the needs of the public who use this area without charging a basic overnight fee,” said Catherine Robertson, manager of the BLM Grand Junction Field Office.
Officials proposed instituting a fee in 2008 but had trouble getting onto the Northwest Resource Advisory Council’s meeting agenda.
The BLM built the campground in 2005 to accommodate the tens of thousands of people who visit the 72,000-acre North Fruita Desert every year. The campground hosts about 1,600 people annually, BLM spokesman David Boyd said.
He said it costs about $42,000 annually to maintain the campground.
The $10 fee would bring in about $23,000 in revenue each year.
Fee money would be used to maintain the campground, distribute visitor information and support an on-site campground host.