Comments sought on Ore. park camping rate hikes
Tent rates wouldn't change; RVs, yurts would rise in '14
The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is proposing to raise state park camping rates for some types of campsites effective May 1, 2014. Public comment on the proposal will be accepted until August 30, 2013.
If approved by the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission, the rate for a typical full hookup RV site at the state's most popular campgrounds would rise $4, to $28 per night in the summer, and basic yurts would go from $36 to $40. Tent camping rates, currently $15-$19 per night, would not change.
Camping rates at Oregon's state parks depend on the time of year, and location of the campground. The proposal would affect rates for both prime summer season and the state's discounted "Discovery Season," which runs October 1-April 30.
"No one likes the idea of raising rates," says Tim Wood, Director of OPRD. "But we're asking the public to support it, so we can keep service levels high, and enable our visitors to have a truly great experience at our parks and campgrounds." Wood said that park operating costs are climbing, and revenue from two major sources is dropping. "We do not receive tax dollars for operation of our parks," Wood noted. "Nearly all our funding comes from visitors, a portion of RV registration dollars, and the Oregon Lottery."
Oregon's state parks attract 2.4 million campers and 41 million day visitors every year, consistently ranking in the nation's top 10 state park systems. OPRD last raised its camping rates in 2010, after a 14-year hiatus. Wood said the agency learned from that experience, and consulted with the public on its overall approach to setting rates. "Infrequent, large rate increases do not do anyone any favors," said Wood. "Moderate, more frequent changes, based on market demand, are more stable, and ultimately more fair."
If the new rate structure is passed, Oregon's rates will come closer to general market conditions. Many private and public campsites outside the state park system charge anywhere from $35-$55 or more for a RV site. State park RV sites serve up to eight people and gives them a natural park experience with the comforts of power and fresh water, or power plus water and sewer.
Public comment on the proposed change must be received no later than 5 p.m., August 30 and can be made any of three ways:
By attending a public hearing:
8/20/2013, 7 pm, South Beach State Park, Meeting Yurt 5580 S. Coast Highway, Newport OR 97366
8/21/2013, 7 pm, Champoeg State Heritage Area, Visitor Center, 8239 Champoeg Road NE, St. Paul OR 97137
8/22/2013, 7 pm, The Cove Palisades State Park, Crooked River Campground Program Area, 7300 Jordan Rd. Culver OR 97734
8/23/2013, 7 pm, Wallowa Lake State Recreation Area, Day Use Picnic Shelter, 72214 Marina Lane, Joseph OR 97846
By email to firstname.lastname@example.org
By writing to:
OPRD ATTN: Park Rates
725 Summer St NE Suite C
Salem OR 97301