Pay as you Go: Investigating MTB Trail Use Fees

FORT COLLINS, CO – Bike trail use fees could become more common as land managers and volunteer groups struggle to fund maintenance. Singletracks has investigated several payment options implemented to get revenue from trail users to maintain soft-surface trails.  This follows a decision by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to propose various fee increases in several districts around the country, including new trail use fees targeting mountain bikers at popular trailheads in Pisgah, Nantahala, and Uwharrie National Forests in North Carolina.

The Trailcare App.

Riders currently pay nothing to use the trails at the Pisgah Trail complex in Brevard, the Jackrabbit trail system on Lake Chatuge, and the Wood Run trails east of Charlotte near Troy, NC. The USFS proposes charging $5 per rider, per day at these locations, or $30 per year with an annual pass.

While trailhead parking and entry fees are not unusual on lands managed at the federal, state, and municipal levels, individual trail use fees for bike riders remain relatively uncommon. Privately managed resorts and bike parks, on the other hand, typically charge a per-rider entry fee to cover the costs of building and maintaining trails, facilities, and insurance.

With major trail maintenance backlogs and limited funding for building new trails, MTB trail use fees like the ones proposed by the USFS could become an increasingly common, though not necessarily popular, avenue for raising funds.

LuvTrails-Trailcare has submitted a proposal to USFS Pisgah Ranger District for consideration as an alternative or additional method to supplement trail user revenue. CEO Arrie Rossouw wrote, “we believe that there is a better, ‘softer’ (semi-voluntary) approach to getting help from trail users.” He tells Singletracks that Pisgah area riders who currently use the Trailcare service donate much more than $30 per year on average. (We’ll publish that proposal here soon).

For the complete Singletracks article click here.

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About the Author

Arrie Rossouw

Arrie is the CEO of LuvTrails, Inc, and is passionate about giving back to the many wonderful trails out there. He is also a journalist, marketer, product developer, and amateur cyclist.