The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department wants to raise its camping rates for recreational vehicles and yurts beginning next spring in a move to keep service levels from dropping.
The department is taking public comment through August on its proposals to raise by $4 its daily rates for full-hookup RV sites, $2 a night for electrical RV hookups and $4 for yurts. No increase has been proposed for tent camping.
The changes would apply for the prime summer season and the discounted offseason that runs Oct. 1 through April 30.
If adopted, it would be the first rate increase since 2010, when the daily rates at tent sites went up $3 and all RV sites went up $4, state parks spokesman Chris Havel says.
No changes are proposed for day-use rates or one- or two-year passes.
Any increases would have to be approved by the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission, and they would not go into effect until May 2014. The fee hikes are projected to raise $1.6 million in the ensuing 14 months before the current budget cycle ends, Havel says.
State parks attract about 2.4 million campers a year and visitors are expected to generate about $42 million of the department's $94.5 million two-year budget that began July 1, Havel says. The remaining funds come from RV registration and Oregon Lottery profits.
The agency receives no state general funds, Havel says.
State parks officials have been polling visitors to its automated campsite registration telephone number, and 78 percent of those who took the survey either strongly support or somewhat support the proposed increases, Havel says. Among Oregonians — who make up more than two-thirds of state parks visitors — that level of support rose to 82 percent, Havel says.
Those levels of support nearly mirror similar surveys before the 2010 rate increase, Havel says.
Under the proposal, full hookup sites would cost $48 in the summer, and yurts would go for $40 per night.
State parks officials are planning public meetings to gather comments on the proposal, but the closest one to Southern Oregon is in Culver.
Comments will be taken until 5 p.m. Aug. 30. Comments can be sent by email to email@example.com or via mail by writing to OPRD ATTN: Park Rates, 725 Summer St. NE, Suite C, Salem, OR 97301.
Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.