Utah Lawmaker is Proposing 50% Senior Discount (2/4/2019)

Story by Woodall's Campground Management

A Utah lawmaker wants to give the state's senior citizens a financial discount on camping in Utah state parks, shaving 50% off the price for overnight stays, according to the Desert News.

Senate Minority Whip Luz Escamilla proposed SB48, Camping Fees Amendments, after a constituent of hers suggested the idea.

Across the state, 11,665 residents hold senior day use passes and would be able to camp for $15 a night at any of Utah's 43 state parks that offer overnight camping, according to the bill. Senior day passes cost $35 for people 62 and older and are good all year.

"If you live on a fixed income like our seniors do, what would it mean to them to be able to enjoy our wonderful state parks that we have available?" Escamilla said. "I think the argument is compelling since we are doing better with our economy."

The proposal would eliminate $875,000 in revenue from the Utah Division of State Parks and Recreation, revenue Escamilla said would have to be made up with a general fund appropriation.

"I had a great meeting with them," she said. "This is obviously not in the governor's budget. … I don't expect them to pay for it."

Scott Strong, the division's deputy director, said that over the past five years, the division has collected an average of $4.4 million a year in camping fees. Those camping fees are also subject to state and local sales tax, generating a half-million dollars — most of which is deposited into the general fund.

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