California State Parks is planning to increase the price of annual park passes by as much as $70 on May 1, another example of park users being asked to pay more to avoid more service reductions or parks being shut, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat has reported.
The cost of an annual day use pass that is valid for all California parks will jump from $125 to $195. The Golden Poppy Pass, which provides entrance to 98 parks will go from $90 to $125.
State parks officials have yet to announce the increases, which were outlined in a memo sent to all park employees last week and obtained by The Press Democrat.
Roy Stearns, a state parks spokesman, said Wednesday the park pass increases — the first since 2009 — are necessary to offset service reductions.
“We don’t like raising fees. But the cost of everything is going up,” Stearns said.
The fee increases reflect a growing sentiment that park users will have to pay more out of their own pockets as Sacramento grapples with budget deficits. Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown ordered $22 million cut from the state parks budget to help solve a much larger deficit.