I decided to run out to the Tonto National Forest on my last night in Arizona. I was hoping to do a little shooting around Saguaro Lake at sunset. When I got there, I wasn’t surprised to see they charged $6 per vehicle. This is in line with what we had been paying in other Phoenix area public lands and seems fair enough. What surprised me, the nearest place to pay was 12 miles away, a 24 mile round trip to pay my day use fee!
Just think if private enterprise did things like our government. Could you imagine showing up for an Arizona Diamondbacks baseball game and finding a sign that said you need to drive 24 miles to buy your tickets to attend that days game!
Every other lightly visited public land utilizes a very simple solution. They provide a stack of envelopes and a very solid steal box for you to deposit your fees into. It works. If they want, they could still sell permits 24 miles away, but at least offer an on-site option.