Oregon State Parks May Raise Camping Rates
Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) 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 Aug. 30, 2013, according to a news release.
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 Oct. 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.