The Flagstaff District of the Coconino National Forest needs to implement a fee-based system similar to Sedona. I also propose Flagstaff full-time residents be exempt from said fees.
Some readers may be thinking that the public lands must be shared with everyone, but if one were to visualize the Flagstaff forested area as a stadium or banquet hall, it’s surpassed its occupancy limit.
People pass through Flagstaff to and from the Grand Canyon, snowbirds flock here, NAU students come in larger numbers -- though COVID has dented those numbers, but not for long -- and even the Arizona Sun has encouraging articles giving away many less-known areas that full-time residents have depended on to escape the hordes of tourists.
Access fees from non-full-time residents would help pay to clean up the several tons of trash left behind each year, to educate tourists, maintain trails, better enforce forest violations and much more.
If this does not transpire, it won’t be long until the very atmosphere we all came here for will be hopelessly altered for the worse. Like it or not, left unchecked, desirable locations end up being loved to death.