Starting Monday, Oregon state parks will begin charging out-of-state residents an additional fee for overnight stays.
Officials with the park system said Friday the new temporary surcharge is meant to encourage local recreation amid the coronavirus pandemic and help recover lost revenue due to park closures.
The cost to camp nightly in an Oregon state park will increase by up to 30%. For a full-service RV site, the nightly rate is currently $33. With the new fee, that would increase to an average of $42 for non-Oregon residents making new reservations or arriving without a reservation, the park system announced.
The average tent rate is currently $19 per night. It will increase to $23 for out-of-state campers.
The charges will remain in effect for the rest of the year, state park officials said. A decision about rates for next year will be made in the fall. The change does not affect people who have already made reservations or people who are currently camping in a state park.
“We love serving all people, no matter where they live,” Lisa Sumption, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department director, said in a statement. “Even so, this temporary change is needed to remind people to stay as close to home as possible while enjoying the outdoors and to provide much-needed support for the Oregon state park system which faces a projected $22 million shortfall between now and June 2021.”
The surcharge could generate up to $500,000 through the end of the year, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department said. That revenue would go to hiring staff and paying for cleaning supplies and other park operations.
“The state parks budget has been devastated as they are a lottery-funded agency, so they’ve had to lay off a number of employees,” Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said in a call with media Friday. “I encourage and support them using the tools they need to make sure that they have the staff and the ability to keep our parks clean and safe for Oregonians to enjoy.”