Forest Service proposes fee increase at sites including Crabtree Falls, Sherando Lake
Environment, Virginia

Forest Service proposes fee increase at sites including Crabtree Falls, Sherando Lake

Crystal Graham
waterfall bridge at crabtree falls
(© Jeffery Edwards –

The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests are seeking public comment on proposed fee increases at multiple recreation sites including Crabtree Falls and Sherando Lake.

If the fee proposals are approved, the increase would go into effect as early as spring 2025.

As part of this effort, the forest is proposing some changes to the forest recreation pass including adding additional locations and increasing the annual cost from $30 to $50.

The Forest Service proposes to increase the following fees:

  • Crabtree Falls Observation Site – from $3 to $5 per day
  • North Creek Cabin – new site, $100 per night
  • Oronoco Campground – new fee, $14 per site
  • Sherando Lake – from $7 to $10 per electric hookups

The fee increases would bring recreation site fees into better alignment across forest locations and with prices of other nearby private and public recreation facilities.

Revenues from increased fees would help improve and maintain Forest Service recreation sites for years to come.

The national forest will continue to offer numerous free outdoor recreation opportunities such as dispersed camping, interpretive sites, observation towers, a number of developed, stocked fishing lakes, river and creek access for canoeing and kayaking, forest roads for scenic driving, numerous trailhead accesses for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, hunting, fishing, birding, wildlife photography and more.

“We recognize how important these sites are to visitors and our local communities. These fee changes will help us keep the care and maintenance of these sites sustainable and improve the visitor experience across the forest,” said Glenwood-Pedlar District Ranger Lauren Stull.

This proposal will be presented before a citizen’s advisory committee which helps ensure the Forest Service addresses public issues and concerns about recreation fees.

A decision has not been made on this proposal.

The public comment period will be open until Oct. 31, 2023.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.