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Archive for Sunday, November 7, 2004

KDWP elevates some fees, but holds line on other hikes

November 7, 2004

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The cost of a 14-day state park camping permit has been raised from $75 to $99.

Wildlife and Parks commissioners also approved last week the creation of in-park RV storage for $125 per month, as well as month-long campsite rental ranging from $200 to $320.

The fee increases will become effective Jan. 1.

Several other park entrance and camping fee changes had been discussed in public meetings, but were not acted upon.

Citing lack of public support for the broader array of state park fee increases discussed earlier in the year, Wildlife and Parks removed most fee increase proposals from its final recommendations to the commission.

"One recurring sentiment we heard was that the entire cost of our state parks shouldn't be paid just by users because state parks provide benefits to all Kansans," said Jerry Hover, parks division director of the state agency.

Lack of park funds is not due to declining usage. Visitation counts continue an upward trend, confirming research showing that nearly two-thirds of Kansans use state parks.

State parks have hosted more than seven million visits annually since 2000.

However, funding support for state parks is changing. Just a few years ago, the State General Fund provided 65 percent of state park operating budget. Today, the SGF makes up less than 15 percent.

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