Closing and locking the gate should cost what, 4 man hours of someone driving up from the FS office in the Autumn? Not opening that gate in Spring and thereby requiring climbers (Ellingwood Arete, ETC), hikers (Humboldt) and scramblers (Crestone Peak and Needle normal routes) to hike in on the road and carry everything with them, should cost the FS absolutely nothing. The trail rebuilding was done by volunteer parties, right? Zero cost to the FS, right? What is the justification of a fee, other than to generate revenue for other things?
In Sedona, AZ, there exists a Red Rocks Pass. It is something you might be familiar with. This pass is $5 a day, or $10 for a week, or $20 a year. It is run by a private for profit company which has a contract with the Coconino NF to sell and police the pass system. The FS publishes what it does with the revenue from the pass proceeds, or it did few years back. According to the FS's own reports, almost 50% of pass revenue went towards administrative costs. So half of what you pay went towards profits for the company, and then paying a private person (not a FS employee) to drive around and make sure vehicles parked a trail heads have a pass displayed.
The money from the passes is supposed to be for trail maintenance and building. They do some of that, sure, but I can tell you that unless you want to do the same sissy tourist trails around Bell Rock, or Doe Mountain over and over again, you will come to poorly maintained trails that have seen no maintenance in years. Years! What does the FS do with the money that they should be spending on trail maintenance and obviously are not? Well, according to the signs posted by the FS at several popular trail heads, they bought the City/Town of Sedona a nice new shiny fire engine! Oh Boy! So, while you are buying your pass to park at a trail head that you think is going to fund trail maintenance, and it isn't, you are really buying something for local residents that they should be buying for themselves through their taxes, or at least through hotel room taxes that are for general city use. Sedona is not a poor town, it has become a mecca for second homes for wealthy folks over compensating for their inadequacies buy building McMansions in the interface around town, so it isn't like they desperately need money to fund their local services.
The FS did just build a brand new visitor center south of Sedona on AZ 179. Maybe that had pass funds involved? As a local, I never go there, so I don't see any benefit from it. Now , there is one solution which has been suggested. If I buy a Federal Parks Pass I can use it in Red Rocks Country and they don't get a dime from me. Also, it is good in the Grand Canyon and other NPs, even if I don't normally go to them. Oh, and I can go to the visitor center to have the Parks Pass inspected and be issued a Red Rocks slip to go with it.