RAW: Fees waived at Forest Service locations Sept 29

The U.S. Forest Service is waiving fees at hundreds of recreation sites across the country on Saturday, September 29, in recognition of National Public Lands Day.

Here locally on the Inyo National Forest day-use fees will be waived at South Tufa in the Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area, Reds Meadow and Devils Postpile, and Schulman Grove in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. Fees regularly collected at these sites contribute significantly to improving facilities and vistor services in the specific area where the fees are collected.

“Public Lands Day provides a great opportunity for people from all walks of life to get out and enjoy our beautiful forests and grasslands,” said Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell.

The national forests are America’s playgrounds that provide healthful outdoor recreation opportunities for millions of Americans every year. "We're encouraging people to get outdoors and enjoy their public lands,” said Inyo National Forest Supervisor Ed Armenta. “Our local public lands provide abundant recreational opportunities for people who like to explore, hike, fish, go 4-wheeling, horseback ride, view wildlife, photograph nature, or enjoy a variety of other outdoor activities. At South Tufa and Schulman Grove visitors also have the opportunity to learn about Mono Lake and the Bristlecone Pines, two inspiring treasures of the Inyo National Forest.”

This year visitors are especially encouraged to visit the brand new Bristlecone Pine Forest Visitor Center at Schulman Grove. The visitor center opened its doors to the public on September 1, with 400 people gathering for the grand opening celebration. The new visitor center includes inside and outside interpretive exhibits, a 28 seat theater, a bookstore run by the Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association, and an art gallery. This fall only the spectacular artwork of the finalists in the Bristlecone Art Competion are on display, including the winning watercolor by Mary Ann Thomas.

Fees will remain in effect for overnight camping and wilderness permit reservations.