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Fees going up in state parks

Fees going up in state parks


Buying an annual pass for Custer State Park and other South Dakota state parks and recreation areas will cost $6 more next year.

Earlier this month, the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Commission approved a schedule of increases for entrance and camping fees. The increases will go into effect in 2020.

An annual state park pass, which covers all state parks and recreation areas, will increase in price from $30 to $36. A day pass will increase from $6 to $8. Seven-day motorcycle passes for Custer State Park will double in price from $10 to $20.

Among the camping fee increases, prime sites will increase from $21 to $26, and preferred sites will increase from $19 to $23. Fees for non-electric, tent-only campsites will go down in some cases with a new, flat, $15 statewide fee for those sites.

Camping cabin rentals in Custer State Park will increase from $50 to $55, while fees for camping cabins at other parks will increase to $55 from $45.

Staff for the Department of Game, Fish & Parks told the commission that fees have been held steady for five to six years. But a wet spring made 10 percent of campsites temporarily unable for reservations this year, and 2019 revenues are down $1.9 million compared to 2018.

Meanwhile, parking lots, campsites, roads, boat ramps and other GF&P facilities inundated by flooding will cost an estimated $8 million to repair, GF&P staff reported.

"Increases in utilities, salaries, fleet rates and construction rates, as well as providing funding for repair projects attributable to 2019 spring flooding events, require additional revenues to support current service levels and maintain infrastructure," said a GF&P staff report.

A news release from the GF&P said the fee increases still need approval from the Legislature's Interim Rules Committee.

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