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New Mexico State Parks to Consider Fee Hikes Amid Inflation Concerns

New Mexico State Parks are contemplating an increase in park fees. This consideration comes after a comprehensive study revealed that the current pricing structure has not kept pace with inflation, impacting the parks’ operational budget significantly, a KOAT report said.

The state parks, which are largely dependent on the revenue generated from camping and entrance fees, have disclosed that these fees contribute to at least 75% of their operational budget. However, it has been decades since these fees were last updated, with camping fees remaining unchanged since 1998 and boat registration fees since 1984.

Jared Langenegger, the field operations bureau chief for the state parks, emphasized the necessity of this move. 

He pointed out the stark disparity between the revenue generated and the operational costs incurred by the parks due to the long-standing fee structure. “Our fees have not been updated in some cases close to 40 years. Our camping fees, the last time they were updated was in 1998. Our boat registration was last updated in 1984. When we look at that, the revenue that we bring hasn’t kept pace with our operational costs,” Langenegger stated.

The New Mexico State Parks division of the Energy Minerals and Natural Resources Department has conducted a new fee study, which proposes several adjustments. Among the proposed changes are an increase in day-use per vehicle fees from $5 to $10, camping fees for New Mexico residents from $10 to $20 a night, electric service fees from $4 to $10 a night, and water service fees set at $10.

Notably, New Mexico is one of only four states that offer annual camping passes. However, findings from the state park systems across the country suggest that these passes tend to reduce the number of available campsites and do not generate adequate revenue.

The proposed adjustments also include the elimination of day-use passes for New Mexico residents, while non-residents will continue to incur a day-use fee. Furthermore, the state plans to discontinue the issuance of annual passes and adjust fees related to camping, utilities, boat registration, and launching.

The potential fee increases have raised concerns among local residents and travelers. Richard Macklin and Eugene McPeek, members of the Heros on the Water chapter, voiced their apprehensions, suggesting that the increased fees could significantly burden travelers. Macklin expressed fears that the hikes could prohibit people from affording vacations, while McPeek highlighted concerns over the additional costs deterring visitors from overnight stays and park activities.

Before finalizing the decision, New Mexico State Parks will host public comment meetings across the state. These meetings are intended to gather feedback from the public and stakeholders about the proposed fee increases. The final hearing, set for April 1st, will determine the future of the fee structure for New Mexico State Parks.

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Hi, you might find this article from Modern Campground interesting: New Mexico State Parks to Consider Fee Hikes Amid Inflation Concerns! This is the link: https://moderncampground.com/usa/new-mexico/new-mexico-state-parks-to-consider-fee-hikes-amid-inflation-concerns/