Park fees increase

Posted: Thursday, December 28, 2000

Campers, sport fishers and boaters will have to dig just a little bit deeper to play in state parks in the new year.

Fees for annual camping passes and annual day parking passes have gone up to between $20 and $25.

"A couple of decal fees went up, but not all of them," said Kenai Area Superintendent Chris Degernes at the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation in Soldotna.

Resident annual camping passes increased 33 percent, from $75 to $100, while annual resident day passes went from $30 to $50, she said.

Annual boat launch passes are listed on the Parks World Wide Web site as $75. Degernes said some of the boat launch fees went up, but Parks is still deciding which ones. A boat launch pass covers parking for the boat-owner's vehicle.

She noted that the boat ramp at The Pillars on the Kenai River off the Kenai Spur Highway does not accept state passes.

"The reason for that is we have several privately managed boat launches in the vicinity, and if we're the cheapest game in town, it might drive down their business," Degernes said. "We're just trying to prevent private businesses from being negatively impacted."

The fee to launch at The Pillars is $10.

The rental fees for park cabins have not gone up, but Degernes said they always go fast, and anyone interested in reserving one should act fast.

"They need to get a move on," she said. "If local folks don't reserve them, others will get them."

State cabins must be reserved in person, but can be researched on the Parks Web site at Reservations are taken no more than six months in advance.

Chugach National Forest cabins can be reserved remotely, by calling 1-877-444-6777.

"They do book up quickly on the Kenai," said Mona Spargo, a public affairs assistant with the U.S. Forest Service in Anchorage. "Especially the ones you can get to on the roads."

She said remote cabins along the Resurrection River Trail are also very popular and go fast, too.

There are 41 cabins available in the Chugach National Forest, and Spargo said phone reservations are easier to make than when the program was first introduced.

"It's gotten a lot better," she said. "We used to get a lot of busy (signals), but they put a lot more people on."

She said if anyone has specific questions about the cabins, they should contact her office at 271-2500, or the Seward Ranger District at 224-3374.

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