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Thursday, October 2, 2008

GF&P Requests Entrance Fee Increase

Road maintenance is putting the squeeze on governmental agencies up and down the food chain. Our friends at Game Fish and Parks are no exception: KELO reports that GF&P is seeking an increase in annual park entrance fees from $23 to $26. The seven-day entry fee at Custer State Park would go rise from $12 to $15. Other entrance fees would also go up a dollar.

GF&P parks director Doug Hofer says the additional revenue—about $725K—would go mostly toward maintaining the 350 miles of roads and parking lots in the park.

I can live with fixing the roads, though I rankle just a little when Hofer additionally justifies the increases by saying "The majority (of the entrance fees) haven't been adjusted for some time." Camping fees went up last year. The general park entrance fee went up in 2006. Only the entrance fees at Custer State Park have stayed steady through this decade.

But then I see some numbers at the bottom of Wayne Ortman's AP report that make me realize Hofer's claim can be interpreted as accurate:

Last year, the state sold 209,159 seven-day individual permits for Custer State Park, 63,696 annual park entrance stickers, and 51,236 Custer State Park seven-day vehicle permits. [Wayne Ortman, "SD Officials Propose Higher Park Entrance Fees," AP via Yahoo Finance, 2008.10.01].

Dang: Custer State Park does a lot of business!

Oh well—gotta pay for what we love. A suggestion, though: if the increase is needed largely to fund the park roads, how about a wheel-based entrance fee? Maybe keep the fee the same for motorcycles, raise it a dollar for cars, $3 for trucks and SUVs, and $5 for trailers and RVs.

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