At least temporarily, a federal judge has restricted the U.S. Forest Service’s Adventure Pass program.

On April 28, Judge Terry Hatter of the U.S. District Court in the Central District of California, sided with four hikers who objected to paying for an Adventure Pass solely for parking. The judge ruled that the Forest Service can no longer charge a parking fee to forest visitors who do not use developed facilities such as picnic tables or restrooms.

The case, Richard Fragosa, et al. v. Randy Moore, et al., involved the four Southern California national forests — the Angeles, Cleveland, Las Padres and San Bernardino. The judge’s decision was based on a section of the law that explicitly states that amenity recreation fees cannot be charged solely for parking.

Hatter’s injunction prohibits requiring an Adventure Pass to be purchased and displayed if the visitor’s use is solely limited to hiking and does not include using any developed facilities near the parking area.

The Adventure Pass costs $5 per day or $30 annually.

The Forest Service has no specific comment on the order because it is considered pending litigation. “The Forest Service is evaluating the court’s decision and assessing the next steps to take,” John C. Heil III, press officer for the Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Region, wrote in an email to the Town Crier.

However, the Forest Service is modifying its current Adventure Pass policy, according to Heil.

“Recreation fees are still in effect in the four Southern California national forests, and the Adventure Pass is still valid,” he added. “In the four Southern California forests, visitors parked in a designated fee site should display a valid Adventure Pass if they use any of the site’s other amenities.”

The basis for Hatter’s order was a 2012 case, Adams v. United States Forest Service, in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes California. Hatter said, “Adams is quite clear. The Forest Service is prohibited from charging a fee solely for parking. If a visitor does nothing other than park, the fee is solely for parking and is, therefore, plainly prohibited by the [Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act].”