Nearly a third of the 3.5 million people who visited a Nevada state park last year didn’t pay required entrance fees, according to a new state audit, which translates into an estimated $1.2 million in uncollected revenue for the state, according to The Nevada Independent.
The audit of the Division of State Parks, which was presented to an interim legislative audit committee on Monday (Oct. 29), estimated that hundreds-of-thousands-of-Nevada park-goers skip out on required day-use fees of the state’s 28 parks and suggested several ways to improve compliance.
Comparing vehicle traffic to expected and annual revenue, auditors determined that roughly 30% of park goers did not pay their required day-use fee to access the parks (fees typically run between $5 and $20 per vehicle). Auditors stressed the $1.2 million in lost revenue was a “conservative” estimate and said they discounted possible trips from those with annual passes, the $2 Nevada resident discount, people visiting for free events and other vehicle traffic that wouldn’t require a day use pass.
Auditors found that parks with manned entrances, such as Valley of Fire state park, had a better compliance rate than those with self-pay stations, where auditors said visitors through either “ignorance or willful intent” failed to pay required entrance fees.
Although nine parks had an “estimated compliance” of 90% or higher, the audit found several parks with a significantly small percentage of collected entrance fees compared to vehicle traffic, including Cave Rock park at Lake Tahoe, with an estimated 23% “compliance” percentage, losing out on more than $137,800 in expected revenue based on annual vehicle count.
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