Hikers on fourteeners may have to pay fees

DENVER — Hikers who tackle some of Colorado’s highest peaks could soon face a toll beyond the physical. The federal government is considering charging hikers up to $20 to access popular mountaintops.

The U.S. Forest Service said it will consider charging permit fees to cover trail improvements at some of Colorado “fourteeners” — or mountains above 14,000 feet.

The Service proposes charging hikers $10 to $20 to access trails in South Colony Basin, a popular launching point for four fourteeners in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

“It’s just a proposal at this point,” said Mike Smith, forester with the San Isabel National Forest. “We are running it up the flagpole to see who salutes and who shoots at it.”

Forest officials say half a million hikers a year climb one of Colorado’s “fourteeners.” They concede most hikers would oppose the fees.


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