GFP Wants to Raise Camping and Park Fees
When you want to raise prices on something, why not wait until a natural disaster occurs to justify it to the public?
The South Dakota Department of Game Fish and Parks announced last week in an email sent out to newsletter subscribers that they are thinking about raising state park entrance fees and camping fees statewide. The fee increases aren't huge and the department says it will also help pay for $8 million in damage to state parks in the flooding and storms we were hit with earlier this month.
With the state park system facing $8 million in flood damages, the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission is considering increases to state park entrance and camping fees.
Fee changes every few years are common to adjust for the rate of inflation, but the revenue from these increases would directly support repairs caused by flooding and storms across the state. The state park system suffered approximately $8 million in damage to park infrastructure this year, ranging from tree damage to shorted electrical pedestals to washed-out roads and campsites. One of the most impacted was the campground at Randall Creek Recreation Area near Pickstown, which is closed to campers indefinitely after the bridge leading to the campground was damaged by floodwaters this spring.
The modest increases per fee could potentially provide an additional $3 million in revenue to help maintain and repair park amenities and necessities needed to maintain access and services for the public. We need to make sure our parks are meeting the high standards of excellence that all our park visitors expect, now and for generations to come.
Under the proposal, annual licenses for state parks would go from $30 to $36 and the daily fee would move from $6 to $8. The 7-day motorcycle pass to Custer State Park would increase to $20.
In campgrounds, prime campsites would increase from $21 to $26, preferred sites would move from $19 to $23 and modern sites from $17 to $20. Fees for non-electric, tent-only sites may be going down in some cases; proposed to be set at $15 statewide.
I don't doubt the fee increase is necessary. If you look at the GFP budget they are taking in less than they are making in the parks department. But I do find the timing of the announcement amusing. GFP isn't known for their tact. I would have preferred
This isn't a prohibitive set of increases, but the only one I find annoying is the $1 increase for firewood. Firewood is cheap and sold at a massive profit already. Handing them an Abraham Lincoln instead of a larger bill to get firewood and then have a bunch of ones is irritating. Shallow and meaningless, but still annoying.