State parks raise day-use and camping fees

California State Parks day-use
and camping fees will increase and begin to help offset recent budget
reductions and help keep more parks open. Partners in the public and private
sectors are still being sought, as the fee increase will help keep some parks
open, but not all.

             “In
these dire economic times, we can no longer afford to keep our fees at their current
levels,” said State Parks Director Ruth Coleman. “The people of California understand that
by charging more, we will be able to keep more parks open and preserved for
these and future generations.”

 Beginning
Aug. 17, day-use parking fees will increase by $2 to $5, and camping fees will
increase by $10 – $21
a night.
Camping reservations made prior to that date will be honored at the lower price.

Annual
Passes will go back on sale immediately at the existing price of $125. In
future months, additional fee and pass increases are possible as State Parks assesses
how the partnership program stretches the reduced budget funding to help keep
parks open.

A list of specific parks where fee adjustments will
occur will be made available when they go into effect. In deciding which parks
will receive a fee increase, and by how much, park managers are evaluating attendance,
with higher fees charged where demand is greatest. In that way, the fee
increase will have the least effect on attendance, resulting in a revenue gain.
Managers will watch revenues closely, and may make adjustments to particular
fees throughout the year.

 It should be noted that these increases do not raise
park revenues to the level of self-sustainment for the system.  Doing that
would require steep increases that would price people out of their public park
system.  These increases are another tool in the efforts being taken by California
State Parks to keep more parks open during this time of budget cuts and
employee furloughs.   

The department continues to seek support from cities,
counties, corporations and nonprofit organizations who may want to sponsor or
operate particular parks to help keep them open. Further, park managers have
been reducing services and modifying their operations by closing portions of
parks and reducing operating hours.

            “We
have loyal visitors who truly love our parks,” added Coleman.  “We
will do our best to maximize the use of additional funds so that parks continue
to be available for public enjoyment.”

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