Via The Loveland Reporter Herald 

https://goo.gl/JgYXnU

The Larimer County commissioners on Thursday rejected a proposal to add a day-use fee at the Devil's Backbone, instead asking staff to look for partnerships to help cover operations costs.

But they did approve other requested fee increases for the Department of Natural Resources, upped the cost of an annual pass for seniors and added a discount for veterans.

The three commissioners held a public hearing on the issue on Tuesday — two days before their vote — capping off several months of gathering input on the proposed fee increases through public hearings and open houses, a survey and citizen advisory boards.

The only point of contention, throughout the process, was the proposal to add a fee to the Devil's Backbone, which has been free for 18 years.

While some members of the public said they see the need, others balked at the idea of paying even $6 for a daily access fee for the open space and trails west of Loveland.

They said many people could not afford that and that citizens already paid for the open space through the county's open space sales tax.

However, county staff presented a fee study that supported the increased fees and the fee at the Backbone to cover costs. All county parks charge entrance fees, as do county open spaces that are more popular and need more intensive management, such as Hermit Park and Horsetooth Mountain Open Space.

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