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California Park Camping, Day-Use Fees to Rise; Partners Sought to Keep More Parks Open

Originally Published in MotorHome Magazine

From California State Parks
California State Parks day-use and camping fees will increase 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

Beginning Aug. 17, day-use parking fees will increase by $2 to $5,
and camping fees will increase by $10 to $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 the State Parks system 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 that 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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