Reply To: Adventure Passes

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I get the reasoning for improving trailheads and charging a fee. But my experience shows that, counterintuitively perhaps, improvements can make trailhead conditions worse. If there are not bathrooms or pavement, etc. people tend to actually be a little cleaner. Once the improvements go in, people act like there is going to be maid service and things can get disgusting fast–toilet and overflowing garbage and parking lot litter.

I know in Idaho this was heavily disputed and many argued that it was just a scam. The Government would find a lot at a trailhead or river put-in/take-out, throw some pavement and a blue room on it and start charging to park. Suddenly these places became disgusting and expensive. One spot in particular still rankles. For years there was a take-out on a river for kayakers only, as it was a steep, narrow trail up and too difficult to drag rafts up. So the evenings at this take-out included just “the heads,” reflecting on their day and having a cold one. No trash, no problem. Then the lot got “improved.” No place to chill after the run, and it became a roadside dumping ground. The lot was just a wide dirt turnout that served no purpose other than allowing kayakers up to avoid the two miles of flat water below. There was really no reason for anyone else to stop there–until the government realized a source of money.  The money spent on so called improvements was so minimal and it really wrecked something cool.

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