Visitors to the Nantahala National Forest will have a convenient new way to pay day-use fees at different recreation areas. Visitors also have the option to purchase annual passes for most of these areas.

A new online platform allows visitors to pay day-use fees using their personal computer or mobile device through Recreation.gov. There is no additional cost to pay fees online.

To purchase a pass, go directly to www.recreation.gov and search for the sites listed below. Some sites may have limited cell phone reception so users should purchase passes before heading to the destination. Passes can be printed and placed on the dashboard though this is not required since staff can validate license plates of pass holders. At recreation sites where cell service is reliable, passes can be purchased using a smartphone.

Activity Passes are available through Recreation.gov for the following sites in Jackson County:

Whiteside Mountain: $3/day or $15/year, open year-round, www.recreation.gov/activitypass/whiteside-mtn 

Whitewater Falls: $3/day or $15/year, open year-round, www.recreation.gov/activitypass/whitewater-falls

A pass purchased for Whiteside Mountain or Whitewater Falls are honored at both locations.

Recreation fee revenue helps protect natural resources and enhance recreation opportunities. These fees are critical to the operation and maintenance of recreation sites, including but not limited to cleaning, maintaining and updating bathroom facilities, trail maintenance, replacing sand at beaches, removing trash, mowing and maintaining grounds and parking lots, and replacing picnic tables and other amenities.

For more information on digital passes visit www.recreation.gov/pass.