Oregon imposes new fee for out-of-state campers

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Out-of-state travelers will be charged more while camping at a state park in Oregon to help recoup some losses during the economic downfall caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department has announced a 30% surcharge on nonresidents who make new camping reservations or arrive at a state park campground beginning Aug. 10, the Statesman Journal reported.

Under the surcharge, the average cost for a full-service recreational vehicle site for nonresidents will increase from $33 a night to $42 a night and the average tent rental fee will increase from $19 a night to $23 a night.

The additional fees are temporary and will remain through 2020, officials said, adding that it could raise about $500,000 to help hire staff, pay for cleaning supplies and support other operations. It is similar to the extra fees most states add to fishing licenses purchased by out-of-state residents.

“We love serving all people, no matter where they live,” Oregon Parks and Recreation Department Director Lisa Sumption said. “Even so, this temporary change is needed to remind people to stay as close to home as possible while enjoying the outdoors, and to provide much-needed support for the Oregon state park system.”

The state parks shutdown all campgrounds and day-use sites from March to June, which brought a major hit in revenue. Combined with the decline in Oregon Lottery dollars that also supports parks, the department lost about $22 million.