Campers will likely pay more to hang a hammock, pitch a tent or electrify their condos-on-wheels at state parks in Nebraska next year, according to the Omaha World-Herald.
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will vote on a gamut of fee increases for camping and indoor lodging at its meeting Friday (Oct. 26) in Kearney. The estimated $2 million generated by the higher fees will help the agency meet demand for upgraded campgrounds pushed by recent record sales of RVs nationally, said Jim Swenson, administrator for the parks division.
“The most common visitor comment we receive in our parks is, ‘The parks need more campsites, including more full-service connections,’ ” Swenson said, referring to sites that offer water, sewer and higher-amperage connections to power campers equipped with flat-screens, double air conditioners and full-sized refrigerators.
So parks officials have recommended that the commission raise the cost of a primitive Tier 1 tent site from $8 to $10, while charging $35 for full-service Tier 5 sites. Swenson also wants the ability to add a $5 or $10 surcharge to designated “prime” sites, a relatively small number of spots with the prettiest views and highest demand from campers, he said.
The director of a statewide RV club cautioned that Game and Parks could price itself out of the market. Norm Richardson, leader of a group called Nebraska Good Sam, said state parks compete with private campgrounds and campers definitely compare prices.
“I hope they don’t get carried away with the fees,” said Richardson, a retired small-business owner from Chadron.
Swenson said he does not expect the fee increases to trigger a decline in annual parks visitation, which is currently estimated at 12 million. User fees cover about 77 cents out of every dollar in the state parks’ annual budget of $28 million, he added.
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