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Forest officials want to bump the fees for a number of cabins and campgrounds in the region, a move that would double the fees at some sites.

The Custer Gallatin National Forest has proposed increasing fees at 14 campgrounds, 27 cabin rentals and at the Rendezvous Nordic Ski Area near West Yellowstone. It would also create new fees at four campgrounds and two new rental cabins.

Fees at cabins and lookouts would take the most drastic leap under the proposal, with prices at 19 sites proposed to at least double. The lowest price for any of the cabins included in the plan would be $45 at three sites — Fox Creek and Deer Creek cabins and the Diamond Butte Lookout.

The highest priced cabin would be the Meyers Creek Cabin, near Nye, at $90.

Most of the campground fees would increase from below $10 to $10, $12, $15 or $20 for single sites.

New $10 nightly fees would be put in place at Battle Ridge, Blackmore Camp, Falls Creek and Hells Canyon campgrounds.

Forest officials announced the proposal last week and are taking public comment on the proposal until Aug. 23. The plan will also be reviewed by a couple of resource advisory committees for parts of the national forest, which stretches from West Yellowstone to South Dakota, before the regional forester makes the final decision.

The agency hopes to put the new fees in place in 2021.

Jane Ruchman, developed recreation program manager for the Forest Service, said the increase is long overdue at a number of places because fees haven’t risen since the early 2000s. She said the money will help the agency maintain the sites and keep things like water lines and vault toilets in working order.

She also said it will make the prices for Forest Service accommodations more comparable to offerings at private campgrounds or hotels.

“We’re trying to be fair in terms of our proposed fees. We’re trying to represent the market value and what people pay in other situations,” Ruchman said.

The proposal also would add two new cabins to the Forest Service’s robust rental program. One of the new cabins would be Sage Creek Cabin, in the Pryor Mountains. The Pryors don’t have any Forest Service-managed rental cabins.

The Sage Creek Cabin has been restored by the Forest Service over the past decade or so, Ruchman said. It’s an old homestead cabin, and it’s been nominated to appear on the national historic register.

The other new cabin would be in the Taylor Fork drainage south of Big Sky. Called Eldridge Cabin, it’s alongside the Taylor Fork Road.

Ruchman said neither cabin will be available for rent until the proposal is accepted. She could not say exactly when that will be.

The Sage Creek Cabin would cost $65 a night. The Eldridge Cabin would cost $75 a night.

Several local cabins would jump to $65 a night under the proposal, including Battle Ridge, Little Bear and Spanish Creek, among others. The Crandall Creek and Ibex cabins in the Crazy Mountains would also increase to $65.

Four cabins in the Absaroka Range would increase to $75 a night — West Bridger, West Boulder, Fourmile, Mill Creek. The Big Creek Cabin, west of the Paradise Valley, would also go to $75.

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Michael Wright can be reached at mwright@dailychronicle.com or at 582-2638.

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