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Discussion Starter #1
So I recently heard from a pretty informed source that Colorado is considering implementing a "pay to play" fee structure that could affect nearly every outdoor rec sport in Colorado. It would include mountain biking, kayaking, rafting, climbing, etc and might be set up like fishing licenses where you pay to access any lands that aren't BLM. So Clear Creek, Arkansas, Colorado, and many other rivers might be affected.

Does anyone else know about this already? What are your thoughts and opinions?

Anyone live in a state where this is already the case...Wyoming seemed to kind of have this in place with the boating stickers/invasive species?

Thanks!
 

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Depending on how it's implemented, it could be a good thing. Currently hunters and fishermen provide a huge chunk of the funding for conservation in this country through license sales and a tax (I think it's 10-11%) on hunting and fishing supplies. Aside from the question of whether or not it's fair that two user groups provide a majority of funding that benefits all other outdoor recreation users, having the other user groups start providing funding as well would provide two major benefits:
1- A larger seat at the funding table- a pretty good percentage of current funding goes to fish and game conservation (seems fair since those are the users kicking in the most money at this point), with funding from more diverse sources more money would go towards other priorities
2- More clout at the decision/political table when how public land should be managed comes up- money=power in this country and a little more power in the hands of people that love the outdoors wouldn't be a bad thing

With the ever growing user base someone's going to have to pay for the management of our public lands. If it's the recreational users themselves, it could end up being beneficial.
 

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That's a great outlook on it. Part of me worries that like a lot of things in Colorado, our outdoor recreation is in danger of becoming a luxury that only the wealthy can afford. This leads into all sorts of class/racial issues which I have concerns about as well, but I'll leave that aside for another discussion.

When I'm boating or biking, I definitely see the need for improvements. Trail restoration, parking, and cleanups can overwhelm volunteer groups that really aren't able to accomplish all this work with the limited resources they have. These needs stress already underfunded government organizations and can result in less than ideal conditions due to erosion from parking on roads, poorly built trails and putins, and just the general wear and tear that happens to our rivers, trails, and climbing areas when thousands of people use these resources each year.

Thanks for the feedback. I'm interested to see where this leads.
 

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look at OHV fees! I pay 25 bucks a year to ride/race my dirt bike in CO. I would like to think these funds go to trail preservation/construction
 

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Most places are already pay to play if you choose certain sports, follow the rules and don't cheap out/ circumvent. Everything I do is pay to play. The state parks pass to use the put ins and takeouts on the Ark. Some don't pay by using the put ins and then parking on the hwy or using stealth putins. There are only a few rivers where you don't have to pay to play. I spend hundred+ a year in permit applications alone, hundreds more when I get them.
Anyone that uses a motor for anything also has to pay to play. I buy the $30 motor reg almost every year to use the motor on my raft for one Cat trip a year.

I pay the above mentioned hunting and fishing fees. At least $60 a year to fish and apply for big game tags and sometimes hundreds when I actually get them. Most people that buy a fishing license fish a handfull of days a year. The state success rate for hunters is about 10% so 90% of all that hunting money is for people to pay to take the gun or bow for a walk on public land that other people hike and bike on the rest of the year for free. If you are figuring out how not to pay to play, you're welcome.

What are the new pay to play rules you are talking about? Honestly, I wouldn't mind seeing road bikers pay some sort of a road tax fee or have to license their bikes like a car if its on the road and I'm gonna share it. I wouldn't mind seeing some of the other sports that skate on fees only to use services/facilities provided by the fees/permits/taxes that I pay have to ante up a few bucks. I just hope if new fees are imposed it is directed at groups that aren't paying their share and that the money ends up in the right places.

Im not big on fees but in most cases I'm not to pissy about paying them because I like what the fees provide. Concrete ramps that I can back a trailer down are real nice and they aren't cheap. I like that there is someone out there speaking for the animals and trying to prevent udder stupidity in the woods during hunting season. Volunteers can only do so much to keep the place up when idiots abound, ante up!!
 

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Honestly, I wouldn't mind seeing road bikers pay some sort of a road tax fee or have to license their bikes like a car if its on the road and I'm gonna share it.

They already do pay, when they license/register their cars, pay gas taxes, etc...

It's high time we implemented pay to play for trails in Colorado. This state is so crowded with trail users, the trails are underfunded, and as such they're getting beat to death.
 

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They already do pay, when they license/register their cars, pay gas taxes, etc...
Miksee I feel logic this is flawed.....

I don't feel that should exempt them from paying to use their bicycles on the road. Motorcyclists which I'm sure also use a car/truck register both vehicles and pay tax on the gas that goes in said vehicles. I register my truck, that doesn't mean I don't have to register my trailer?


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This a great opportunity for a civilized and open-minded discussion. I'm not necessarily opposed to a pay to play fee structure but think there would be a huge challenges to plan, implement, manage, and enforce. Some of the questions and concerns I have are:

- What lands? Federal? State? Private? Here in the Grand Valley we have a great, public, pedestrian/bike trail along the river. It is being built using COGO lottery money, grants, donations, and taxes. Do we charge kids for riding their bikes or an elderly lady walking her wiener dog? You are required to have a fishing or hunting license even if you're using a rancher's private land.
- Who and which sport? Rafters? Hikers and climbers? Cyclists, both road and mountain? We boaters already pay fees on many stretches of our rivers. Would more fees be added on to our sport of choice? There have been a lot of discussions about a permit requirement for Ruby/Horsethief.
- How much? How would you decide what to charge for a per use or a per year fee. I think there are also opportunities to pursue donations. I would probably throw some cash towards areas I use regularly.
- Where? I think that reasonable fees could be charged for areas that get heavily impacted. Mt. Evans is hammered on a summer weekend climb but the Wilson - El Diente traverse can go untouched for a week or more.
- Who and how are the fees managed? The moneys should absolutely go right back into specific maintenance, conservation, and education of the resources. I fear that funds would go into a "general fund" black hole.

Pay per play could become a huge mess. Implementation would have to be very well thought out and implemented with a lot of input from us, not just the RACs. We're the ultimate users and payers.
 

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Does anyone else know about this already? What are your thoughts and opinions?

It's hard for me to have an opinion on a rumor with almost zero information and no sources.



nyone live in a state where this is already the case...Wyoming seemed to kind of have this in place with the boating stickers/invasive species?

I happily pay that. I think it was $15? Great cause.
 

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Miksee I feel logic this is flawed.....

I don't feel that should exempt them from paying to use their bicycles on the road. Motorcyclists which I'm sure also use a car/truck register both vehicles and pay tax on the gas that goes in said vehicles. I register my truck, that doesn't mean I don't have to register my trailer?

Since you brought the word 'logic' into it...

One of the main reasons for a pay to play system is so that user fees can go to offset maintenance costs. On dirt trails that suffer from erosion due to use this makes good sense.

Tell me how, exactly, a road bike is causing damage to a road?
 

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I don't think road bikes really have an impact on the roads but they use the bike trails, which need maintenance. Just throwing the idea out for discussion. Where is the line drawn? I think charging for road riding is ludicrous.
 

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I don't think road bikes really have an impact on the roads but they use the bike trails, which need maintenance. Just throwing the idea out for discussion. Where is the line drawn? I think charging for road riding is ludicrous.

I'll start by pointing out that I think pay to play to use trails makes good sense. I support it.

That said, the only maintenance I've seen the local (Grand Valley) trails receiving in the ~20 years I've lived here is when the river floods and undercuts them and they collapse, or when cottonwood roots cause them to heave and buckle. They don't tend to notice the effect of road tires (or mountain, or E, or rollerblades, or dog pads...) moving across them.
 

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I think that's a good point Mike- roads and trails need maintenance just from existing and being subjected to the forces of nature. Bikes obviously do a lot less damage than heavier vehicles, but maybe they should help a bit with some of the routine maintenance due to the effects of sun/rain/snow/ice/water?

There's a big movement around here to "Share the Road", which I'm pretty much in favor of and I make a point to wait until I can give a road biker a half to full lane before I pass them in a vehicle. Bikes might do a bit better with some of the backlash in certain circles against "Share the Road" if they shared a bit of the cost associated with the road too. Maybe not, but food for thought.
 

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Bikes might do a bit better with some of the backlash in certain circles against "Share the Road" if they shared a bit of the cost associated with the road too. Maybe not, but food for thought.

My original post here addressed your (valid) point: that in buying gas for their vehicles, as well as license plates/registrations -- all of which are taxed, the proceeds from which go to maintain roads -- people whom ride bikes on the road *are* paying for road maintenance. I'm sure there are a handful of homeless people out there whom don't have cars and whom are, thusly, not paying for the roads they use. But that's a pretty small fraction of a % of the people whom ride road.

Conversely, erosion on dirt trails happens even if they aren't used. But (around here anyway) they are heavily used, and I think it makes sense to pay to play on them, so long as the monies collected go right back into the trails. If someone could show me verifiable data on how a road bike does any sort of damage or causes erosion to a road, I'd probably be in favor of a pay to play scenario there, too.
 

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Just some random thoughts.

Pay-to-play is on the horizon. Most of us seem to thing is's OK.
Just when and where?

We know that all the commercial operations pay some fee to operate on our rivers or trails. I wonder how much of that money goes back into maintenance and conservation. Probably not as much as it should be.

I still think that before we have to start paying fees, donations could be solicited right at the trail heads? Would it amount to anything?

Volunteerism is awesome but can't keep up with demand - we picked up over a ton of trash Saturday in Grand Junction but could go back and get that much again.
 

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I think that's a good point Mike- roads and trails need maintenance just from existing and being subjected to the forces of nature. Bikes obviously do a lot less damage than heavier vehicles, but maybe they should help a bit with some of the routine maintenance due to the effects of sun/rain/snow/ice/water?

There's a big movement around here to "Share the Road", which I'm pretty much in favor of and I make a point to wait until I can give a road biker a half to full lane before I pass them in a vehicle. Bikes might do a bit better with some of the backlash in certain circles against "Share the Road" if they shared a bit of the cost associated with the road too. Maybe not, but food for thought.
The thing to remember is that cyclist are taxpayers and almost always own automobiles and therefore pay gas taxes, reg fees, etc. So the people using roads and trails with bikes almost certainly have paid. And bike trails are constructed to relieve traffic congestion and segregate uses as well as provide a healthy recreational activity. I think it is wrong to envision cyclist sand motorists as separate publics.
 

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As TD said in the second post... Fisherman and hunters are saddled with the burden of an extra tax. Cyclist are not and neither are many of the other activities.
 
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