As decongestion pricing for road access is more likely and gets nearer, this more immediate implementation for wilderness access and pricing is worth following, especially as the arguments for and against it are in so many ways cognate with the arguments for and against road pricing. (See a brief previous note here, "Tolling Editorial Misses Key Points" and the latest on Portland's effort at BikePortland, "City task force will explore how to make drivers pay true cost of road use.")
It observes - though way down at the end of the piece - that decongestion pricing has already been shown to work:
Obsidian Trail (Three Sisters Wilderness) and Pamelia Lake (Mount Jefferson) have had limited entry since 1995.I have no great conclusions off the parallelism. Maybe you will discern something more meaningful. But it is a process to watch. If the Forest Service can engineer acceptance of new decongestion pricing for Wilderness areas, that process may be a template or offer suggestions for how we get to more acceptance for road pricing.
Both places were becoming crowded and struggling with overuse in the early 1990s. But after the permit system, both have stabilized, are seeing recovering forest, more wildlife and more solitude.
“I think we’ll see similar payoffs,” Allen said. “We have two decades of experience in seeing how this system makes a positive difference."