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Colorado State Parks Board approves fee increases

The Colorado State Parks Board unanimously approved increasing camping fees by $2 per night, reservation fees by $2 and boating registration fees by $10 to $25, depending on the size of the vessel. The proposal to increase the fees was presented to the board in August.

The daily entrance fees and the costs for annual passes will remain the same. The other fee increases, approved by the parks board on Friday, Sept. 18, will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2010.

The proposal is part of a budget reduction strategy that Colorado State Parks has undertaken to manage a $3 million shortfall in state funding for operations in fiscal year 2009-2010 due to the economic downturn. State parks will rely more on user fees to fund operations.

“The fees for daily entry and annual passes will remain the same. We want to minimize the impact on our visitors as much as possible,” said Dean Winstanley, director of Colorado State Parks. “The 42 Colorado State Parks draw nearly 12 million visitors each year and will remain affordable, family-friendly areas where the public can enjoy a wide variety of outdoor recreational opportunities.”

The fees for camping, reservations and boating registrations have remained the same for three years or more, Winstanley said. Even with the increases, the fees for camping, reservations and boating registrations at Colorado State Parks are still comparable or lower than the fees charged at other state parks, he said.

To offset the shortfall in the state funding, the state parks have already eliminated 12.5 staff positions, reduced the temporary (summer) workforce by 10 percent, trimmed all operating budgets by 10 percent and cut back on programs, training, travel, administration, projects and other services. Most state park systems across the country receive state funds, but Colorado State Parks is one of the 10 least subsidized systems in the nation.

Throughout 2009, Colorado State Parks is celebrating its 50th anniversary as a leader in providing opportunities for outdoor recreation, protecting the state’s favorite landscapes, teaching generations about nature and partnering with communities.

Attracting more than 11 million visitors per year, Colorado’s 42 State Parks are a vital cornerstone of Colorado’s economy and quality of life. Colorado State Parks encompass 242,531 land and water acres, offering some of the best outdoor recreation destinations in the state. Colorado State Parks also manage more than 4,000 campsites, and 57 cabins and yurts.

For more information on Colorado State Parks or to purchase an annual pass online, visit www.colorado.gov/parks.