I am against requiring membership to the forums for one reason. I feel the forums are a great source of information for cachers new and old and help promote better caching to some degree.
It takes a while for a new member to get accustomed to any site and to determining how valuable it is to that individual. If they were forced to pay up, even after a week's preview, they may not bother.
If it's possible for Rick to do so, letting only members submit photos to the gallery and submit articles might perhaps be an option.