FALL CREEK, Ore. -- Starting on Monday the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department will add a surcharge for out-of-state travelers to camp at state parks in Oregon.
The average cost for a full-service vehicle campsite will increase from $33 to $42 per night for nonresidents. The purpose for the increase in price is to encourage local recreation and make up for operational funding that was lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We lost some funds and people are using the parks a lot more too," volunteer camp host Judy Benson said. "Oregon parks are really nice so you can understand why people from out of state come here."
Benson says the surcharge could slow the spread of the virus by discouraging out-of-state groups from camping in Oregon.
"Part of the idea is people are supposed to stay closer to home and not get out as much," Benson said. "If they're coming to another state they're getting away from home and going into our home."
Casey Cannon of Oakridge says the 30 percent price increase is too steep. He says everyone should be charged extra if making up lost funds is the goal.
"They tax the gas all the time," Cannon says. "It's just like adding a camping tax to slowly build those funds back up."
Other campers say the increased rate will allow for more camping space for locals.
"It is hard to find camp sites that aren't full," Roseburg resident Alex Hanakahi said. "If it does discourage a little maybe it'll be a little bit easier for the people that are local to go camping and enjoy it a little bit more."
The surcharge will remain in effect until the end of the year. A decision for 2021 rates will be made in the fall.