Adventure Pass Free Day

The controversial Adventure Pass, which for nearly a decade has triggered theories both rational and conspiratorial from opponents, will not be required in the Los Padres National Forest this Saturday, November 11, in honor of Veterans Day.

The $5 per day, $30 per year pass is opposed by those who believe that federal taxes should cover the cost of maintaining national forests. Some of those opponents also cite evidence that the fee is an open door to more development of the forest, mainly because private concessionaires are brought in to administer the charge and coordinate maintenance, security, and general supervision. Representatives from the Los Padres, however, assert that the fees, which are required in the Los Padres’ most popular day use areas and campgrounds, are simply necessary to pay for routine maintenance. Such maintenance is not covered by the tight budgets approved by the federal government, the forest officials explain.

Saturday is one of the three annual “fee-free” days, and the only one that’s tied to an actual government holiday; the others are National Trails Day in June and National Public Lands Day in September. There is one glaring exception to the free day, however: the Lower Santa Ynez Recreation Area, located off of Paradise Road and including the popular Red Rock swimming spot, will still be requiring Adventure Passes. Since that area is maintained by Rocky Mountain Recreation Company, the company will still need to offset it’s costs by charging for the pass.

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