New Hampshire state parks may experience a rise in camping fees starting in 2024. This proposal, set to be reviewed by lawmakers, could lead to the first increase in camping rates since 2012, as outlined by Sarah Stewart, commissioner of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
As per the New Hampshire Bulletin, the proposed changes, presented to the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee, suggest an adjustment in the pricing structure for various camping sites within the state parks.
Under the new plan, primitive campsites, known for their remote locations and basic amenities like pit toilets, would see their nightly rates increase from $23 to $29. This marks a notable shift in the cost structure, aiming to balance the demand and upkeep of these natural sites.
Standard campsites, which offer more amenities than their primitive counterparts, are also set to witness a price revision. The proposed rates for these sites would escalate from $25 to $35 per night. This adjustment reflects the enhanced facilities provided at these locations, catering to a broader range of campers seeking comfort in the wilderness.
The proposal also outlines a more pronounced rate hike for larger campsites, including double, triple, and quad sites. These sites, accommodating larger groups, are set to see increases ranging from $20 to $40, depending on the site’s capacity and amenities.
Despite these proposed increases, certain campsites will retain their current pricing. This includes cabins located at Umbagog Lake State Park in Errol, Pawtuckaway State Park in Nottingham, and Coleman State Park in Stewartstown. The decision to maintain these rates underscores the state’s commitment to providing a variety of camping experiences at different price points.
Stewart’s proposal is grounded in a comprehensive analysis conducted by a subcommittee of the State Park Advisory Council. The council’s findings revealed that the existing fees at New Hampshire state parks are not competitive with those charged by comparable private campgrounds. This discrepancy has prompted the need for a reevaluation of the state parks‘ pricing strategy.
The upcoming review of this proposal by the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee on December 15 will be a crucial moment for the state’s outdoor recreation industry. The decision could have far-reaching implications for the accessibility and quality of camping experiences in New Hampshire.
The potential rate hike, while marking an increase in costs for campers, is also viewed as a positive step for the state’s outdoor recreation industry. By aligning the state park fees with market rates and ensuring the upkeep of high-quality facilities, New Hampshire can continue to attract a diverse range of outdoor enthusiasts. This, in turn, supports the broader outdoor hospitality sector, including local businesses and service providers who cater to campers and tourists.
While the proposed fee increase at New Hampshire state parks represents a shift in the cost of camping, it is also a reflection of the state’s commitment to maintaining and enhancing its outdoor recreational facilities. The decision by the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee will be closely watched by stakeholders in the outdoor hospitality and recreation industry, as it holds significant implications for the future of camping in New Hampshire.