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Washington State Parks to Increase Camping, Boating Fees

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission is deliberating on proposals to increase fees for campers and boaters using state park facilities. This adjustment aims to address the financial strains caused by inflation and maintain the operational standards of state parks.

According to Darleen Simkins, a business insights analyst at the department, the fee hikes are a necessary balance between generating needed revenue and keeping the parks accessible to the public. “We really try to balance access with the revenue that we need to run the parks,” Simkins told commissioners during a meeting on Wednesday.

Under the proposed changes, camping fees could rise by up to $6. The adjustments vary by the type of campsite and the season. Currently, a basic campsite without utilities costs $32 during the peak season, which runs from May through September. With the proposed increase, the fee would jump to $37. For campsites with full utilities, including electric, water, and sewer hookups, the new fee during peak season would be $56.

These fees represent a significant portion of the revenue for State Parks, with camping fees bringing in approximately $23 million in 2020 from more than 6,400 sites.

Commissioner Ken Bounds highlighted the urgency of revising the fee structure to cope with ongoing inflation. “Inflation continues to go up, and while it might be a shocker to the customer, it’s going to be a shocker to us to not be able to recoup those costs,” he said.

The need for fee adjustments in Washington is consistent with trends in neighboring states. Idaho, for example, doubled its entry and campsite fees for non-residents at some popular parks three years ago, and Oregon began charging non-residents 25% more for RV sites two years ago.

Moreover, the commission is considering updates to the fees for boating activities, which have not been revised in nearly ten years. The proposal sets a uniform launching fee of $7 for all watercraft at all state parks. The daily moorage fee would see an increase from $15 to $23, and the annual moorage rate would rise from $60 to $80 per vessel. Despite these increases, the rates are still below those charged by private facilities.

As per a Washington State Standard report via the Kitsap Sun, the projected additional revenue from the increased camping and boating fees is estimated at $3.12 million and $200,000 annually, respectively. While these increments will not cover the entire cost of maintaining park facilities, they will help mitigate some of the financial shortfalls.

Approval of the new fee structure is pending a final decision by Diana Dupuis, the director of the State Parks and Recreation Commission. Dupuis is expected to approve the changes this month, with implementation set for reservations made for the year 2025.

As part of the long-term strategy to keep state park fees aligned with economic conditions and operational needs, the commission is also developing a plan to review and adjust fees every two years. This periodic review will ensure that the fees reflect the current economic landscape and fund requirements for maintaining park quality and accessibility.

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Tessa Brook
Tessa Brook
April 12, 2024 7:00 pm

Isn’t it intriguing to learn that Washington State Parks may introduce reduced rates for seniors, veterans, and those with disabilities? It’s all about making these beautiful parks more accessible and inclusive. And hey, how cool would it be if they spruced up the amenities to boost our park adventures?

crocod1l32
crocod1l32
April 13, 2024 2:00 am
Reply to  Tessa Brook

It’s really interesting to hear about the potential for reduced rates for seniors, veterans, and individuals with disabilities. Making parks more inclusive benefits everyone’s enjoyment.

Seth Peak
Seth Peak
April 13, 2024 1:50 am

Whoa, did you hear? Washington State Parks are upping camping and boating fees. They’re also introducing an annual pass for regulars. Maybe more fun stuff is on the way!

Robert Lewis
Robert Lewis
April 13, 2024 9:19 am
Reply to  Seth Peak

An annual pass sounds like a sweet deal! Can’t wait for all the adventures ahead. Get ready to explore!

DarkComet73
DarkComet73
April 13, 2024 4:47 am

Have you heard about Washington State Parks’ plan to adjust camping and boating fees? It’s cool to see them being proactive about keeping the parks awesome while staying accessible. By staying in tune with nearby states like Idaho and Oregon, they’re looking out for us visitors and the parks’ future.

NeilCosmos
NeilCosmos
April 13, 2024 4:53 am

Get excited for an even better experience at Washington State Parks with the upcoming fee adjustments. Trust me, the parks are stepping up their game to give us top-notch facilities and unforgettable adventures in the stunning landscapes of Washington.

JaxTiger235
JaxTiger235
April 13, 2024 2:50 pm

You know, it kinda makes sense that Washington State Parks are hiking their camping and boating fees. Seems like everyone’s doing it, right? Maybe they could get creative with other revenue ideas too!

BlueMoon1238
BlueMoon1238
April 13, 2024 3:46 pm

Outdoor lovers in Washington State! How cool is it that State Parks is stepping up their game with new amenities and activities? Let’s plan our next adventure and enjoy these awesome upgrades together!

BlueDuck1239
BlueDuck1239
April 13, 2024 9:14 pm

Did you know that Washington State Parks are looking to up their camping and boating fees? It’s all about keeping those funds flowing to improve your visits! They’re taking a cue from neighboring states to keep things fair and sustainable while ensuring top-notch outdoor fun for everyone.

TrueBlue0073
TrueBlue0073
April 13, 2024 11:14 pm

Have you heard about the fun stuff you can do at Washington State Parks? Besides camping and boating, there’s hiking, wildlife watching, and picnicking to enjoy! Despite the upcoming fee changes, exploring these activities can make your park visit even better. Time to embrace the outdoors!

ZackMarsh
ZackMarsh
April 14, 2024 1:02 am

Isn’t it interesting how Washington State Parks are planning to raise camping and boating fees? They might introduce new programs to enhance visitor experiences and support conservation efforts. Sounds promising!

Wildcat3258
Wildcat3258
April 14, 2024 10:09 am

Isn’t it interesting how Washington State Parks are planning to adjust camping and boating fees to tackle rising costs? I enjoy how they’re focusing on conservation and creating better recreational experiences. Offering discounted passes is a cool way to encourage us to explore nature while supporting park upkeep.

Christopher Green
Christopher Green
April 14, 2024 10:45 am

These Washington State Parks are really stepping up their game with these fee hikes, huh? Imagine having butlers for marshmallow roasting in luxury camping spots – that’s camping in style! Who’s up for some glamping adventures in the great outdoors?

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Hi, you might find this article from Modern Campground interesting: Washington State Parks to Increase Camping, Boating Fees! This is the link: https://moderncampground.com/usa/washington/washington-state-parks-to-increase-camping-boating-fees/