Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Mirror Lake Highway Recreation Pass 101

The Mirror Lake Scenic Byway, upon which our campground is located, is designated as a High Impact Recreation Area and has been established as a Recreation Fee Area.  This fee can be confusing when you’re coming to our campground – or any other improved campground on the Mirror Lake Highway.

Driving east from Kamas, Utah (or West from Evanston, Wyoming) you’ll see a number of stations where you can pay this fee.  The fee is $6.00 for a 3-day pass, $12.00 for a 7-day pass, and $45.00 for an annual pass.  All Federal Passports (Senior Pass, Access Pass and Annual Pass) are accepted in lieu of the recreation fee.
The fees are used to operate and maintain the following facilities along the Mirror Lake Highway:

Standard Amenity Sites
Beaver Creek Picnic Site                                                Mirror Lake Picnic Site
Shingle Creek Picnic Site                                               Pass Lake Fishing Site
Upper Provo River Bridge Picnic Site                          Pass Lake/Lofty Lake Trailhead
Crystal Lake Trailhead                                                   Butterfly Lake Fishing Site
Trial Lake Fishing Site                                                    Highline Trailhead
Bald Mountain Picnic Site & Trailhead                       Ruth Lake Trailhead/Rock Climbing Area
Fehr Lake Trailhead                                                       Christmas Meadows Trailhead
Moosehorn Fishing Site                                                East Fork of the Bear Trailhead
Mirror Lake Fishing Site                                                North Slope Trailhead

Expanded Amenity Sites
Yellow Pine Camp                                            Murdoch Basin/Broadhead Meadows Camp
Pine Valley Camp                                             Lost Creek Water Station
Horsemen Camp                                              Whitney Reservoir Camp
Soapstone Comfort Station Camp                Lily Lake Comfort Station
Duchesne Tunnel Camp                                 North Slope Camp
Spring Canyon Camp

Special Recreation Permit Sites
Beaver Creek Groomed X-Country Ski Trail
Soapstone Basin Groomed Snowmobile Trail
North Slope Groomed Snowmobile Trail

Notice any omissions?  Shady Dell Campground and Cobblerest Campground didn’t make the list – nor did any of the improved campgrounds operated by American Land and Leisure.  But because our campground is on the Mirror Lake Highway, we get a number of people thinking that they have already paid the fee for day use – and even to camp.  And since they’ve already paid “at the bottom of the hill,” we get to be the bad guys and tell them our fees are separate.
So here’s the scoop.  There are several ‘camps’ that are covered by the Mirror Lake Highway Recreation Pass that are great for self-contained campers.  These camps have no picnic tables,  improved fire pits, or restrooms.  There are several picnic areas that are covered by the Mirror Lake Highway Recreation Pass.  They all have picnic tables, fire pits, and restrooms. 

If you’re coming to a campground such as ours, pay the recreation fee only if you plan to use any of the fishing sites or trailheads along the Mirror Lake Highway.  If you’re just coming to camp, you don’t need to pay the Mirror Lake Highway Recreation Fee.
This could be made a whole lot less confusing.  In my perfect world, the Mirror Lake Highway Recreation Pass and the Campground Day Use Fee would be the same price and would be interchangeable.   In my perfect world, you could pay either place and your payment would really be valid for day use anywhere along the highway.  But there are a lot of really smart people in the Forest Service, so the reason this is not so is clearly outside my pay grade.

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