A proposal to increase user and camping fees across Larimer County and to add a fee to the Devil’s Backbone open space drew mixed feelings from the Larimer County Commissioners on Monday.
All three, at a public meeting, said they understand the need for increased fees to cover increasing costs, but they also expressed hesitance at adding a fee to use an open space that has traditionally been free.
The proposal being considered is to raise the daily vehicle entrance fee for parks and open spaces to $9 per vehicle in 2019, up from $7 for parks and $6 for the few open spaces that charged. Most of the county’s open spaces, purchased with tax money and grants, have traditionally been without fees.
The Devil’s Backbone opened 18 years ago and has always had free entrance.
However, with the number of visitors soaring to more than 100,000 this year and a constantly packed parking lot despite doubling its size in 2015, the open space has reached a point where management is intensive and fees are needed to cover the costs, according to information from the Department of Natural Resources. Officials compared it to other open spaces that require intensive management such as Horsetooth Mountain and Hermit Park.
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