Park fee hike eyed

Fees for admission, lodging and some camping at Colorado State Parks would increase under a proposal designed to help cope with the state’s budget crisis.

The Colorado State Parks Board will consider the increases during a Sept. 16 meeting in Basalt.

The proposal includes a $1 increase in the daily entrance fee and a $2-per-night increase for summer-season camping at 12 high-use parks: Chatfield, Cherry Creek, Cheyenne Mountain, Golden Gate, Highline, Mueller, Pearl, Rifle Falls, Ridgway, St. Vrain, Steamboat and Sylvan. The camping-fee increase wouldn’t apply in the off-season.

Some other hikes would include a $10 increase in the annual parks pass, to $70; a $10 increase for rental of small camper cabins and yurts, to $70; a $20 increase for small premium cabins, to $80; and a $10 increase for large cabins, to $140-$260 depending on their size.

Also proposed is a $5 increase, to $35, in the price of the Aspen Leaf Pass for seniors. However, the parks board is scheduled to vote in September on whether to create a new lifetime senior pass, at a price of $175. The state Legislature this year authorized the offering of such a pass.

Budget problems have forced the state to close some campgrounds and picnic areas, reduce some park hours and cut park staff. The park system will receive no state general funds in the 2011-12 fiscal year. The $1.3 million per year resulting from the proposed fee increases would amount to roughly half of the general funds received by state parks in the 2009-10 fiscal year.

For more information, or to comment on the increases through Sept. 7, visit http://www.parks.state.co.us/Pages/FeeChange.aspx.


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