State Parks Pricier Starting Today

California parks will become more expensive but some will still close its doors

Monday, Aug 17, 2009  |  Updated 7:23 AM PDT
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State Parks Pricier Starting Today

Palojono on Flickr

Rides through Mt. Diablo's trails in the East Bay will get more expensive next week.

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A big state budget cut has ripped a huge hole in the wallet of California's state parks. To solve the problem the parks are planning to raise its fees starting Aug. 17 for everything from parking to camping.

The problem is the move will will not stop California from boarding up at least 100 parks in the coming weeks to close a budget gap.

The fee increases are expected to only generate about $200,000 this year because the state parks' season already is winding down. The park district is facing a $14.2 million cut to its annual budget.

Parking fees will go from $2 to $5 and camping fees will increase from $10 to $21 to as much as $35.

The amount of the fee increases will depend on the park. Parks spokesman Roy Stearns says every one of the 279 state parks that collect fees will see increases, some more than doubling.

Why the higher fees? The state parks are planning for lean years in the future. The move is expected to bring in about $5 million over the next three years. But, the fee hike comes too little, too late for about 100 parks, which will be closed to help the state make ends meet.

The closures will be a first for California. The state has never closed its parks, even during the Depression. The California Parks and Recreation Department will release the list Monday.

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