(UNDATED) - Visitors to Indiana state parks and reservoirs will see some changes in user fees in 2013, but the daily entrance rate of $5 will remain the same.
"Our goal, as always, is to provide the best state parks and facilities we can for our visitors," DNR director Rob Carter said. "We've made minor fee adjustments in the past to keep pace with the costs of meeting that goal. It's now time to make a few additional changes, while also keeping in mind family budgets and the economic challenges Hoosiers are facing."
Some of the changes in fees include:
Annual entrance permits will increase from $36 to $40 for Indiana residents. The annual out-of-state entrance permit will increase from $46 to $60. Annual entrance permits also may be used for entrance to the interpretive center at Falls of the Ohio State Park.
Camping rates will increase by $1-$4 depending on the type of facilities, but weekday campers will still get a better rate.
Swimming pool fees will increase from $2/person/day to $3/person/day. A family swimming pass will be $50 for a 25-visit pass, which can reduce the per person/per day cost back to $2. Swimming passes have no expiration date, and can be used from one year to the next.
Cabin rates will increase by $5/day in some locations.
The annual motorized lake permit will increase from $20 to $22.
Some state park inn rooms will increase from between 99 cents and $4.95/night depending on location and amenities.
For a complete list of fees, see stateparks.IN.gov/2391.htm. Fee adjustments are effective beginning today (Nov. 15). Camping, cabin, shelter, inn and other reservations made prior to this date will be honored at the old rates.
In 2006, the Indiana Natural Resources Commission approved a fee structure that gives the DNR director flexibility in setting rates for entrance, camping, swimming, boat launching, and many other facilities and services. None of the fee changes for 2013 move pricing at or even near the top of the ranges established by the Commission, and many activities remain free after paying the gate entrance fee. Some of those activities include hiking, biking, visiting nature centers, enjoying most interpretive programs, picnicking and birding.
Visitor fees provide about 67 percent of the funding for services, staff and the natural and cultural resources 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 Dan Bortner, director of the DNR Division of State Parks & Reservoirs. "This approach was championed by Col. 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."
Recreation users will have a great opportunity for savings through the end of the year by purchasing online either an SPR Go! Value Package or a Holiday Gift Pack. Pricing on both of these packages will remain the same through the end of 2012 as it was in 2011. The sale of these packages begins today through Mother Nature's Mercantile at innsgifts.com.
Camping reservations for Memorial Day Weekend, 2013 will be accepted beginning at noon on Nov. 24. To reserve a campsite, cabin, recreation, building or shelter, visit camp.IN.gov or call 1-866-6CAMPIN (1-866-622-6746).
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