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National Forest Adventure Passes

Thanks to Rob, Evan Rosenbaum, Kathy LaShure and Charmoon Richardson for sending me information about the Adventure Pass. I also discovered a website that contains information about it as well. That site is http://r05s001.pswfs.gov/visitorcenter/html/adventure_pass.html.

The National Forest Adventure Pass is a recreation pass for visitors using the Angeles, Cleveland, Los Padres and San Bernardino National Forests. You can purchase either a daily $5 pass or purchase an annual $30 pass, good for one year from the month of purchase. (Janet Cupples writes, "If the $30 pass seems expensive for some of the retired, handicapped folks, one can buy a handicapped pass at any Forest Service Headquarters for $5 a year. A California handicapped pass and the registration are needed at the time of purchase. These passes are NOT available at the retail stores that sell the regular passes.")

This is a recreation fee to use the local National Forests. All Forest visitors must display the pass in their vehicles when parked in the Forest for recreation purposes.

You do not need a pass if you are traveling through the Forest but not stopping, when you are parked at your residence or at an organization camp in its permitted area, or are in an area covered under a special use permit.

To obtain a National Forest Adventure Pass, contact any of the below-listed Forest Service offices.

Angeles National Forest
Supervisor’s Office, Arcadia; 818/574-5200
Arroyo Seco Ranger District, Flintridge; 818/790-1151
Mount Baldy Ranger District, Glendora; 818/335-1251
Saugus Ranger District, Saugus; 805/296-9710
Tujunga Ranger District, San Fernando; 818/899-1900
Valyermo Ranger District, Valyermo; 805/944-2187

Cleveland National Forest
Supervisor’s Office, Rancho Bernardo/San Diego; 619/673-6180 Descanso Ranger Distict, Alpine; 619/445-6235
Palomar Ranger District, Ramona; 619/788-0250
Trabuco Ranger District, Corona; 909/736-1811

Los Padres National Forest
Supervisor’s Office, Santa Barbara/Goleta; 805/683-6711
Monterey Ranger District, King City; 408/385-5434
Ojai Ranger District, Ojai; 805/646-4348
Mount Pinos Ranger District, Frazier Park; 805/245-3731
Santa Barbara Ranger District, Santa Barbara; 805/967-3481
Santa Lucia Ranger District, Santa Maria; 805/925-9538

San Bernardino National Forest
Supervisor’s Office, San Bernardino; 909/383-5588
Arrowhead Ranger District, Skyforest; 909/337-2444
Big Bear Ranger District, Fawnskin; 909/866-3437
Cajon Ranger District, Lytle Creek; 909/887-2576
San Gorgonio Ranger District, Mentone; 909/794-1123
San Jacinto Ranger District, Idyllwild; 909/659-2117

Comments from photographers regarding the Adventure Pass

Evan Rosenbaum writes: I'd like to let you know a little about these passes because in a few months when I visit the Laguna Mountains near San Diego, I will need one. Last year when I went there I found out that only certain outfits offer these passes. In the case of the Laguna Mountains, the only place that offered the pass in the local vicinity was the general store a few miles south of the main campground on the highway. If the store is closed and you don't have a pass, then the only place you can park your car without getting a ticket is either in a picnic area or the campground. Not good for all the one time visitors who have to park in overflow or who just want to pull over to get a good view of the desert.

While I was rambling about Laguna Lake, I talked to the campground host about the new system. He said that the rangers were ready to give out tickets. I don't know how rigourously the policy is enforced in the northern forests like Angeles or Los Padres (I was surprised to find out that the northern portion close to me is now implementing the pass). As far as the Sierra forests are concerned, I haven't heard of the pass being used yet (thank goodness!), but knowing how things go, I wouldn't be surprised if they start being used soon.

Kathy LaShure e-mails me: The Adventure Pass is a recreation pass for visitors using the Angeles, Cleveland, Los Padres & San Bernardino National Forests. The is to be displayed on your vehicle when parked on any road in these Forests. One Pass is good for all four Forests. You can get a daily pass for $5.00 or an annual pass good for one year from the month of purchase for $30.00. It is claimed that 80% of the funds collected will be returned to the local forest to be used for maintaining & improving recreation sites and to protect forest resources and habitat.

Passes can be purchased at some outdoor recreation stores (REI, Sport Chalet, etc.), some Forest Service ranger stations and offices.

For more information, call one of the following:
Angeles NF - 626-574-5200
Cleveland NF - 619-673-6180
Los Padres NF - 619-683-6711
San Bernardino NF - 909-383-5588

As often as my husband & I hike throughout the year (2 or more times a month), the $30.00 investment in a Pass is far cheaper than nearly any other form of entertainment.

And Rob says: As far as I know, the adventure pass is a pilot project for the National Forests. It is running for 3 years in the Southern California National Forests. It is used to increase revenues for improvements in the forests. I picked one up last July for $30.00. It is an annual pass and good for a year. I know it is needed in the San Bernardino, San Gabriel, San Jancito and Santa Ana Mts. It is only needed if you are parking in areas without fee parking, such as parking on the side of road. If you pay for a campsite I don't believe the adventure pass is required. It is more of a day pass. I picked my adventure pass up at a visitors center. I believe you can also pick them up at certain merchants in the forests and probably at certain sporting good stores. As far as I know you can pick up a day adventure pass for $5.00. When I picked up the pass the Ranger said the fine was $100, but that was last summer. I hope this information helps. There are signs posted when entering a forest about the adventure pass.

Charmoon adds: Regarding the Adventure Pass phenomena - you may be interested to know that if you are with an educational group such as a school, (or perhaps other types of study-oriented groups), the group can be issued an 'Administratrive Permit' that will function as an Adventure Pass for the entire group, as long as they are more or less staying together. The good news is that the Administrative Permits are free - you just need to arrange for it in advance by contacting the Forest Service district office for the area you wish to visit. I just did this for a private school group I'm associated with (Cal. School of Herbal Studies), and the ranger office was very cooperative. The ranger also told me that the Adv. Pass is an experimental program that is being tried for 3 years in the 4 So. Cal. Nat. Forests. If it is a success, it may be expanded to other Nat. Forests. Not a good sign, as far as I'm concerned.

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