PORTLAND, Ore. — In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and to increase recreational access to public land, the Bureau of Land Management is waiving recreation standard amenity and day-use fees for visitors on Jan. 16, 2023. The BLM invites the public to visit the unique and diverse natural landscapes and visitor facilities on BLM-managed lands to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
This marks the first of the BLM’s fee-free days of 2023. Fee-free days refer to the waiver of standard amenity fees and day-use fees, such as visitor centers, picnic/day use areas, and National Conservation Lands units where fees are charged. Expanded amenity fees and other fees, like group day use, overnight camping, cabin rentals, and individual special recreation permits, will remain in effect unless the authorized officer determines it is appropriate to waive them.
Winter recreation on public lands
- Know before you go. Check with local offices for current conditions, including closures and travel restrictions.
- Make sure tires have adequate traction for road conditions.
- Ensure that a friend or family member is aware of your adventure plans.
- Ensure you have the 10 essentials before venturing out: navigation tools (map, GPS, personal locator beacon), headlamp, sun protection (sunglasses and sunscreen, especially against snow glare!), first aid kit, knife/gear repair kit, fire essentials (fire starter, matches, lighter, etc.), shelter (i.e., an emergency blanket that folds up extremely small), extra food, extra water (beyond the minimum expectation), and extra clothes (layer up!).
Recommendations on where to go with snow (NOTE: these locations may or may not have fees):
- Steens Mountain (southeastern Oregon) offers an array of winter recreation opportunities, including snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and skiing. Individual permits must be obtained through the Burns District Office.
- Gerber Recreation Site (near Klamath Falls, OR) is popular for ice fishing and open year-round for camping. The paved roads are not plowed but remain clear of snow most winters. Wood River Wetland offers hiking, dog walking, bird watching, hunting, and (when there’s enough snow) snowshoeing. Be aware that the parking area is not plowed in the winter, so parking is not always available.
- Cascade Siskiyou National Monument and Table Mountain Winter Play Area offer cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
- Split Rock Recreation Site at Palmer Lake (outside of Loomis, WA) offers ice fishing (or regular fishing if there is no ice).
- The Yakima River Canyon Recreation Site (central Washington) is a great location for winter camping.
- If winter is mild, the Juniper Dunes Off-Highway Vehicle Area (north of Pasco, WA) is a good option for recreation.
- If the winter is cold, the Fishtrap Recreation Area (outside of Spokane, WA) offers ice fishing and cross-country skiing.
Recommendations on where to go with little to no snow (NOTE: these locations may or may not have fees):
- The West Eugene Wetlands offer disc golf. The Shotgun Creek Recreation Site is open to off-highway vehicles.
- The Sandy Ridge Trail System (east of Portland) offers mountain biking, and the Wildwood Recreation Site has an accessible underwater salmon viewing chamber.
- Medford sites such as the Upper and Lower Table Rocks, Cathedral Hills, and Mountain of the Rogue offer winter hiking and tend to be free of snow.
In 2023, BLM will waive recreation standard amenity and day use fees for visitors on:
- January 16 (Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.)
- February 20 (Washington’s Birthday)
- June 19 (Juneteenth National Independence Day)
- August 4 (Great American Outdoors Day)
- September 30 (National Public Lands Day)
- November 11 (Veterans Day)
For more information about the BLM’s recreation fee program, please visit https://www.blm.gov/programs/
— Bureau of Land Management