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Oregon Parks and Recreation Department accepting comments on rules establishing flexible rate range

Dec. 18, 2017

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) is seeking comment on proposed rules that allow the agency to increase or decrease camping rates by up to $5 per site. Under HB 2318 passed during the 2017 legislative session, the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission is directed to develop rules to set a reasonable range of rates for fees. OPRD's director will then have authority to vary fees within that range.

The flexible rate range will allow Oregon State Parks to charge a slightly higher rate at high-demand campgrounds to afford steeper discounts at lesser-used parks and serve more people.

"Many of our parks have capacity, but people just don't know about them," Oregon Parks and Recreation Department Director Lisa Sumption said. "These are real gems, and we now have the ability to experiment with price to see if we can entice people to explore a new park."

The new rules would allow RV sites to vary from $5 lower than the base rate to $3 higher. For cabins and yurts, the range would allow up to a $5 dollar increase from the base rate. For tent sites, the flexible fee range would allow up to a $2 decrease from the base rate. Specific rates for each site will be posted on the state parks website and in the parks. Once a visitor makes a reservation, their rate would not increase.

Depending on the results of rulemaking, OPRD has tentative plans to conduct a small pilot project testing the new fee structure at a few parks in summer, 2018.If the rate rules are amended and the pilot test is successful, the agency could start adjusting prices more broadly in 2019. Any future changes would be announced to the public well in advance.

OPRD will take public comment at a hearing set for 6 p.m. Jan. 3, 2018, at the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department in Salem, Room 124A, 725 Summer St. NE. Comments can also be submitted at http://www.oregon.gov/oprd/RULES/Pages/Rulemaking%20Notices.aspx; in writing to Oregon Parks online and Recreation Department, attn.: Katie Gauthier, 725 Summer St NE, Suite C, Salem OR 97301; or through e-mail to OPRD.publiccomment@oregon.gov.

The full text of the amendment to Oregon Administrative Rule736-015-0006 and 736-015-0020 is available at http://www.oregon.gov/oprd/RULES/Pages/Rulemaking%20Notices.aspx.

After reviewing public comments, agency staff plan to present a final recommended rule for consideration by the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission during its February meeting.

OPRD is funded by a portion of Oregon Lottery net proceeds, recreational vehicle registrations, and revenue from park visitors. No general tax funds are used to support the state park system.