Being a recovering climbing "dirt bag," I used to spend A LOT of nights out at Skull. Most of the people camping out there are climbers. Climbers tend to be as low-impact as possible, but the sheer number of folks staying out there has caused some problems. I am not opposed to a fee, but I agree with Ian Caldwell when he says, "we recognize that if they (climbers) don't have a free camping site, they'll move to another place." Does the BLM want to deal with more impacted areas farther off the beaten path?
If you have been out to Smith recently I'm sure you have noticed how incredibly busy the place is, even on weekdays.
Here is my idea, charge the $5 on weekends. Most of the people coming to stay there on the weekends are urbanites with jobs. The true dirt bags will have a place to park their vans during the week rather than dispersing themselves on federal lands, causing friction with the land managers. Smith is still a popular climbing destination where the land managers and climbers have a great relationship. Let's try to keep it that way.
Keith Spernak, Bend