Wrangell Sentinel -

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By Dan Rudy 

Forest Service cabin rates to increase


In a media release last month, the United States Forest Service Alaska Region announced it is proposing a system-wide cabin rental fee adjustment for the Chugach and Tongass national forests. The two forests are

managed by 13 ranger districts, which together maintain

184 cabins year-round for public use.

For visitors and residents alike, public cabins become the hub for a variety of recreational trips, from nature walks, family gatherings, hunting and sport fishing to subsistence use. Cabins are most regularly booked during the summer and fall, often every night. Just how often can vary, even within regions: In the Tongass, cabins reachable by local road systems may be rented for more than 200 days each year, while those more remotely located can tend to see comparatively little use.

Rental rates have largely remained static over the past two decades, despite changes in operations and maintenance costs. USFS explained the increases being proposed are meant to catch up with these costs, and will be phased in over the next few years.

Rates will not increase uniformly, and will vary site by site based on demand and available amenities. Price changes will be higher for the Chugach National Forest, for example, which sees a higher average occupancy each year than does the Tongass. Upkeep at each cabin can vary depending on its amenities, which can include sleeping bunks, wood or propane heat sources, restrooms, picnic sites, docks and even skiffs.

The Forest Service expects to phase in


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