WYOMING — The Wyoming Division of State Parks, Historic Sites and Trails is accepting public comment through August 1, on proposed fee increases expected to go into effect January 1.
Several public meetings are also in the planning stage at various locations throughout the state.
All funds collected from State Park user fees go back into Wyoming’s state parks and historic sites in the form of capital construction, major maintenance and interpretation with up to 30% being allocated to general maintenance.
“Increasing costs, increasing visitation and decreasing budgets have created challenges for Wyo Parks in recent years,” State Parks Administrator Domenic Bravo said.
“Although fees collected from users help to keep the park system functioning, they do not cover the entire cost. Working with the Governor’s Office and the Legislature we have found additional supplemental revenue sources along with General Fund to keep our important economic engine running,” said Bravo.
New legislation in 2017 required Wyo Parks to set its fees in rules and allowed for fee increases within maximum amounts set by law.
In 2017, Wyo Parks established rules to set fees but did not raise entrance and camping fees.
Last year, Wyo Parks conducted a series of visitor surveys to gather opinions regarding existing fees, the possibility of an increase and how much of an increase was supported.
More than 1,800 responses were tabulated. Of those, 80% of respondents were in support of a system-wide increase of daily use fees, 77% supported a system-wide increase of daily camping fees, 73% were in support of system-wide increase of annual daily use permit fees and 70% supported a system-wide increase of annual camping permit fees.
Wyo Parks also looked at similar state park systems in the region and found that Wyoming’s fees are among the lowest in the region.
Some of the proposed fee changes include:
The fees for “off season” (October 1 through April 30) will not change from existing fee amounts, however, fees during “peak season” (May 1 through September 30) will increase as follows:
- Residents will see a $2 a day use fee increase and a $3 camping fee increase. They will also see a $7 increase for the purchase of an annual day use permit and a $10 increase for an annual camping permit. Additional annual day use and camping permits will increase by $5 and $8 respectively.
- Non-residents will see a $3 day use fee increase and a $5 camping fee increase. They will also see a $17 increase for the purchase of an annual day use permit. Non-residents will continue to be ineligible for annual camping permits. Additional annual day use permits will increase by $14.
- The daily fee for use of a site with electricity will increase by $5.
- Historic site fees will increase by $1 per adult and the amount charged for tour buses will increase by $2 per adult. Children will continue to enjoy free entrance.
People wishing to obtain a copy of the proposed rules can do so by contacting State Parks Headquarters at 2301 Central Avenue, Barrett Building, 4th Floor, Cheyenne, WY 82002, attn.: Christie Christensen; by calling 307-777-7496; via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting the Secretary of State’s website.