Tribune Staff Reports
The Hoosier National Forest, operated by the U.S. Forest Service, has more than 260 miles of recreational trails, spread over nine counties including Jackson, from Monroe Lake to the Ohio River.
Some allow only hiking, but the majority are available for hikers, mountain bikers and horse riders. Horse riders and mountain bikers, 17 years and older, are required to have a trail use permit to use trails designated for those uses on the Hoosier National Forest.
Trail users have the option of purchasing an annual permit for $35 per person, or a day use permit for $5.
Permits are now available at offices in Bedford and Tell City, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will be available at more than 20 vendors by the end of December. Orders for permits also can be taken over the phone with a credit card: Bedford 812-275-5987, Tell City 812-547-7051. Vendor locations and details are available at go.usa.gov/xPM8D .
The Recreation Enhancement Act allows federal land management agencies, such as the U.S. Forest Service, to charge fees for some recreation uses.
Trail use fees on the Hoosier National Forest are used to maintain trails, enhance trailheads, and improve visitor services. Some recent projects funded with fees include regular maintenance of trails that allow bike and horse use; purchase of gravel and other materials used on trails; and construction of a bridge along the Grubb Ridge Trail in the Charles C. Deam Wilderness to improve drainage.
Current and future generations benefit as 95 percent of the funds from trail use permits are reinvested in the facilities and services that visitors to the Hoosier National Forest enjoy, use and value.