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Lujan Grisham’s Administration Proposes Over 100% Fee Hike in New Mexico State Parks

In an effort to revamp its funding structure, the administration of Democrat Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham in New Mexico is proposing a significant fee increase across the state’s 35 parks. Wendy Mason, marketing and public relations manager for the State Parks Division, announced the plans during an appearance on “New Mexico Living.”

The State Parks Division, a branch of the Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department, is responsible for generating 75% of its operating budget. According to Mason, the fee increases are necessary to address staffing shortages and budget constraints.

According to a Piñon Post report, the proposed financial adjustments involve a comprehensive review of the parks’ fee structure, including the removal of day-use fees for New Mexico residents to foster greater park attendance. However, the proposal also includes the discontinuation of annual passes and adjustments to camping, utility, boat registration, and launching fees.

Mason stressed that these changes aim to make state parks more accessible to residents, allowing for easier exploration and enjoyment without the burden of day-use fees. Yet, overnight stay charges will remain unchanged under the current proposal.

A recent study commissioned by the division suggests doubling the day-use per vehicle fee from $5 to $10 and camping fees from $10 to $20 a night for New Mexico residents. Additional services such as electric and water hookups would see price increases to $10 a night, cumulatively amounting to a 100% rise in fees.

This substantial fee hike has sparked criticism, especially from New Mexico House Republicans. They expressed unanimous opposition, arguing that the increased revenue collection, potentially over $6 million, would essentially double the division’s income from state park fees.

The timing of the rule publication, following the close of the 2024 legislative session, was seen by Republicans as an attempt to circumvent the legislative process. They contend that this move allows the division to inflate its budget to desired levels, ignoring fiscal limits set by the Legislature.

House Republicans have voiced concerns over the economic impact on New Mexico’s residents, who are among the most economically challenged in the United States. They argue that aligning fees with those of neighboring states, which could entail increases of up to 200%, overlooks the financial disparity between New Mexico and states with fewer poverty-stricken residents.

The letter from the House Republicans concluded that the proposed fee restructuring would render camping, boating, and paddle sports prohibitively expensive for many New Mexicans. This is particularly troubling, they noted, in light of the significant inflation rates affecting the state in recent years.

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April 9, 2024 5:47 am

Have you heard about the proposed fee changes in New Mexico State Parks? They’re looking to boost funding to make the parks more accessible for us locals. It’s important for everyone involved to chat and figure out a fair balance that keeps our parks thriving while serving the community. What do you think about it all?

George Bailey
George Bailey
April 24, 2024 11:36 am

Did you catch that some conservation groups have cool ideas to deal with the fee hike in New Mexico State Parks? They’re suggesting ways to keep parks awesome for everyone!


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Hi, you might find this article from Modern Campground interesting: Lujan Grisham's Administration Proposes Over 100% Fee Hike in New Mexico State Parks! This is the link: https://moderncampground.com/usa/new-mexico/lujan-grishams-administration-proposes-over-100-fee-hike-in-new-mexico-state-parks/