User fees are what keep Michigan state campgrounds running, and officials say the first rate increases in seven years are needed to cover the rising costs of maintaining and operating the facilities.
The amount of the increase at a particular site depends on its popularity, said parks and recreation chief Ron Olson of the Department of Natural Resources.
At those where occupancy rates average 82 percent or more, the fee will rise $4 per night. Campgrounds that are in lesser demand will have increases of $1 or $2 nightly.
The cost of overnight tent camping at one of the 1,200 rustic state forests campgrounds will be $13. Shelters in state parks will range from $35 for teepees at various sites to $120 for a camper cabin at Holley Recreation Area. The popular yurts at Craig Lake, Muskegon, Pinckney and Petoskey state parks will cost $65 a night.
The last time prices were raised was in 2006 for the most sought-after parks and 2008 for the less crowded ones, said Olson.
“Our mission is to provide campers with a quality experience in the outdoors,” Olson said in a statement about the increases. “The adjustments enable the Parks and Recreation Division of the DNR to keep the standards high and to make improvements to facilities such as state parks, boat launches, trails and harbors. In the future, the fees will adjust slowly based upon the Consumer Price Index.”
Camping fees are state parks’ primary revenue source. They’re separate from the Recreation Passport, which costs $11 and grants entry to park grounds. That is a primary source of funding of the day use facilities. (AP)