Terwilliger / Cougar Hot Springs Fee & Management Change

Forest Service Hands Over Management of Terwilliger Hot Springs in Oregon to a Private Company

Terwilliger / Cougar Hot Springs

As of May 2005, Hoodoo Recreation Services now operates Terwilliger Hot Springs. As such, Northwest Forest Passes are no longer accepted at this location. Soakers now have to purchase a $5 parking pass and pay an additional $5/person usage fee. The only other option is to purchase a $50 annual pass.

While I see the need for new management methodology at Cougar, I don't see any good reasons to hand it over to a private company that by nature, has to make a profit.

Parking passes, per person fees and annual passes can be purchased directly from Hoodoo Recreation Services, on-site from the attendants, at Patio RV Park in McKenzie Bridge, the Campstore at Hoodoo Ski Lodge and at Umbrella Properties in Coburg.

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Wonko the Sane said...

I couldn't agree more with your assessment of privatization. Between 1989 and 1994 I worked as a Backcountry Wilderness Guard for the USFS on the Flat Tops Wilderness in Colorado. During that time frame I watched as career rangers were pressured to privatize assets and services that were formerly managed by government employees or volunteers on the forest. Camp Ground volunteers, usually retired snow birds who lived out of their trailers, were capable, courteous, and kind folks who had an operating budget near zero. These folks were interested in their neck of the woods and that was apparent to anyone lucky enough to visit their camp ground. There was a sense of ownership and accountability that was taken seriously and resulted in a quality of service that couldn't carry a price tag.

The last season I was at that forest there was a pilot program that was started to manage a percentage of all the campgrounds. They privatized a large number of them by turning the management of these high-use campgrounds over to a company based roughly 100 miles away. Functionally this meant that one or two people had to drive from their homes 100 miles, up and down and around windy forest service roads, and through some of the worst deer migration areas in the nation, to spend a brief moment or two changing rolls of TP and cleaning fire pits when they were lucky, then drive back another 100 miles again in the evening. No one was on-site at these locations, no one had a radio in case of an emergency, no one cared for the camp grounds anymore. But someone was getting paid. In a short space of time the difference was incredible and none of it ever had to change. The forest ended up paying more, and thus it had to charge more for a service that was far less on balance.

Government isn't a business, its a stewardship of the things we all share.

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