Due to months of closures and restrictions on large gatherings around the country, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department announced it plans to add a nonresident camping surcharge at Oregon State Parks to combat the loss of revenue this year and to encourage people to stay closer to home.
The surcharge will start Monday, Aug. 10, and will be for new campsite reservations and first-come, first-served campers, according to a news release from the department. The change doesn’t affect existing reservations or people currently camping in a state park.
The new rate is to encourage local recreation as opposed to people visiting from out of state during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The cost of camping will raise to an average of $42 for nonresidents making new reservations or arriving without a reservation. The average cost for a full-service site is currently $33 per night, meaning the increase will add up to 30% to the nightly cost to camp in a state park in Oregon. The average tent rate will rise from $19 to $23 per night for nonresidents.
The surcharge will remain in effect for the rest of 2020 and a decision about rates for 2021 will be made within a few months.
“We love serving all people, no matter where they live,” said Lisa Sumption, director of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. “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 is also being put in place in hopes of generating up to $500,000 through the end of the year to hire staff, pay for cleaning supplies and other park needs.