Fee free day for BLM public lands, U.S. Forest Service in honor - Tucson News Now

Fee free day for BLM public lands, U.S. Forest Service in honor of Martin Luther King Jr Day

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

In order to increase recreational access to public land, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service including Coronado National Forest are waiving recreation-related fees for visitors on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, January 15, 2018. 

“On Monday, to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the BLM invites families to spend the day together enjoying America’s rich public lands heritage,” said Brain Steed, BLM Deputy Director said in a recent news release.  “Most of these lands are just a short drive from your community. Our fee-free days are a way to encourage our neighbors to enjoy a family outing while reflecting on the American values that have made America great.”

Site-specific standard amenity and individual day-use fees at BLM-managed recreation sites and areas will be waived for the day.  Other fees, such as overnight camping, cabin rentals, group day use and use of special areas, will remain in effect.

BLM-managed public lands offer more recreational opportunities than any other federal agency, including camping, hunting, fishing and horseback riding, to boating, whitewater rafting, off-highway vehicle driving and many more activities.  About 67 million visits are made annually to BLM-managed lands and waters, supporting more than 48,000 jobs nationwide and contributing almost $7 billion to the country’s economy.

The U.S. Forest Service, including the Coronado National Forest is also waiving fees at most day-use recreation sites on Jan. 15, 2018, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The fee waiver day is the first of four such “fee free” opportunities offered by the agency during the 2018 calendar year.

Coronado National Offices will be closed Jan. 15 for the federal holiday, resuming normal business hours on January 16.  The Sabino Canyon Visitor Center will remain open for business.

In addition to waiving fees, many Forest Service units participate in a variety of public events on agency lands and in nearby cities and towns. National Get Outdoors Days features events to raise awareness that nature encourages healthy, active outdoor fun. National Public Lands Day is the nation's largest, single-day volunteer effort in support of public lands. Agency units plan their own events, which range from educational programs to picking up litter to invasive plant removal to building trails, and much more.

The program is offered in cooperation with other federal land management agencies under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act. Fees are waived generally for day-use areas, such as picnic grounds and developed trailheads.
Concessionaire-operated sites may be included in the waiver if the permit holder wishes to participate.

Visitors to the Coronado National Forest are encouraged to contact the appropriate ranger district office to determine which recreation sites will have fees waived, and at which sites concessionaires will charge fees.

  • Douglas Ranger District - (520) 364-3468 
  • Nogales Ranger District - (520) 281-2296  
  • Sierra Vista Ranger District - (520) 378-0311 
  • Safford Ranger District - (928) 428-4150 
  • Santa Catalina Ranger District - (520) 749-8700 

Recreationists are advised to plan their trips in advance, check weather forecasts and pack appropriate gear for expected weather conditions. 
Fire safety is emphasized year-round, a key message being “Never leave a campfire unattended for any reason, for any length of time.  Always make sure a campfire is cold to the touch before leaving it.”  One gust of wind can lift embers from a seemingly dead campfire to nearby plant material and ignite a wildfire in a matter of seconds.

Cleanliness is encouraged to preserve aesthetic beauty and to avoid attracting wildlife and potential conflicts which could result.  Visitors should use trash receptacles when provided.  Carrying trash bags in vehicles is recommended should trash receptacles be full or unavailable.  Littering is unlawful and unsightly, and all visitors are responsible for proper disposal of their trash.

The BLM and the U.S. Forest Service are also waiving recreation-related fees for visitors on four additional occasions this year: 

  1. Presidents Day (February 19)
  2. National Get Outdoors Day (June 9) 
  3. National Public Lands Day (September 22) 
  4. Veterans Day (November 11)

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