Visitors to see some fees go up, some go down


Visitors to Indiana state parks and reservoirs will see some changes in fees next year, but the changes won’t necessarily be hard on Hoosier pocketbooks.

“Fees for 2006 have now been set, and include some modest increases and decreases depending on the fee in question and the particular day or date involved,” said DNR Director Kyle Hupfer.

The Natural Resources Commission recently approved a new fee structure to give the director flexibility in setting rates for entrance, camping, swimming, boat launching, and many other facilities and services. “None of the fees for 2006 are at or even near the top of the ranges established by the Natural Resources Commission and many are decreasing. Some fees will increase during peak demand times and at other times the fees will decrease,” Hupfer said.

In 2006, for example, a family of four staying for seven consecutive days at a Class B site at McCormick’s Creek State Park during a non-holiday week will save $21 in camping costs compared to 2005. If they decide to swim as a family on five of those days, they will save an additional $20 over 2005 costs. On holiday weekends, when demand is higher for camping and other services, the cost will increase.

Calling the new structure “demand-based,” Hupfer said it will provide “the right balance between keeping access to the parks and reservoirs affordable for Hoosier families and ensuring revenue levels required to maintain the properties.”

Visitor fees provide about 67 percent of the funding for services, staff and the natural and cultural resources that visitors enjoy when they visit a state park or reservoir. About 33 percent of the funding comes from monies appropriated by the General Assembly from general fund tax dollars.

“Modest, periodic adjustments in fees help us maintain services,” said State Parks and Reservoirs Division Director Dan Bortner. “This approach was championed by Colonel Richard Lieber, the founder of our state park system, from its very beginning in 1916. It is a philosophy that we still believe in today. There aren’t many places you can go and enjoy a weekend with several thousand acres of forest, prairie or wetlands wrapped around you. A visit to one of our state parks or reservoirs is still a great value.”


Some of the changes in fees include:

Daily in-state entrance fees remain at $4 on Monday through Thursday, but will increase to $5 on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and holidays. The out-of-state rate will be $7 state wide, except it will be $10 at Indiana Dunes State Park.

The annual entrance permit will increase from $26 to $36 for Indiana residents. The annual out-of-state entrance permit will increase to $46. Beginning in 2006, the annual entrance permits may be used for entrance to the world-class interpretive center at Falls of the Ohio State Park.

Week-day campers will see a price break.

Class A electric campsite fees will drop to $17 on Sunday through Wednesday for a $2-per-night savings. Sites will rent for $25 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday (a $2/night increase) and for $28 (a $5/night increase) on holiday weekends.

Non-electric and primitive sites will also cost less on Monday through Thursday and slightly more on weekends and holidays.

Swimming fees will be lowered to $2/person/day from $3/person/day. A family swimming pass will now cost $35 for a 25-visit pass, down from the current $35 for a 20-visit pass.

Cabin rates in several locations will decrease by $10/day Sunday through Wednesday will remain unchanged on weekends and will increase by $10 for holiday weekends. Families who rent a cabin for an entire week will see a decrease in the cost in some locations.

Boats that launch at DNR managed lakes and reservoirs will no longer pay a daily or annual boat launch fee. Instead, each boat on a DNR lake or reservoir will be required to display an annual DNR lake pass. This annual DNR lake pass will be available for purchase at DNR properties for $20 per motorized watercraft and $5 per non-motorized watercraft. This new approach will significantly decrease staffing demands at boat ramps and increase the DNR’s ability to enforce this permitting requirement.

A complete list of fees is on the DNR Web site at www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/properties/park_rates_fees.html.

Camping reservations for 2006 will be accepted beginning at noon on Dec. 1. To reserve a campsite, cabin, recreation, building or shelter, visit www.campIN.gov or call 1-866-6CAMPIN (1-866-622-6746).

Attached is a spreadsheet of the new Fees for 2006.

The Waynedale News Staff

The Waynedale News Staff

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