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Colorado State Parks fees increase on Jan. 1

Fees at Colorado State Parks for camping, reservations and boat registrations will increase on Jan. 1, 2010. The daily entry fees and the cost of annual passes will remain the same.

The Colorado State Parks Board approved the new fees in September. Camping fees will rise by $2 per night, reservation fees will increase by $2 and boating registration fees will go up by $10 to $25, depending on the size of the vessel.

The fee increases are part of a budget reduction strategy that Colorado State Parks has undertaken to manage a $3 million shortfall in state funding for operations in fiscal year 2009-2010 due to the economic downturn. State parks will rely more on user fees to fund operation.?????????????

“The 42 Colorado State Parks draw nearly 12 million visitors each year and will remain affordable, family-friendly areas where the public can enjoy a wide variety of outdoor recreational opportunities,” said Dean Winstanley, director of Colorado State Parks.????????????????

The fees for camping, reservations and boat registrations have remained the same for three years or more, Winstanley said. Even with the increases, the fees for camping, reservations and boating registrations at Colorado State Parks are still comparable or lower than the fees charged at other state parks, he said.

To offset the shortfall in the state funding, the state parks have already eliminated 12.5 staff positions, reduced the temporary (summer) workforce by 10 percent, trimmed all operating budgets by 10 percent and cut back on programs, training, travel, administration, projects and other services. Most state park systems across the country receive state funds, but Colorado State Parks is one of the 10 least subsidized systems in the nation.

Throughout 2009, Colorado State Parks celebrated its 50th anniversary as a leader in providing opportunities for outdoor recreation, protecting the state’s favorite landscapes, teaching generations about nature and partnering with communities.

Attracting more than 11 million visitors per year, Colorado’s 42 State Parks are a vital cornerstone of Colorado’s economy and quality of life. Colorado State Parks encompass 224,531 land and water acres, offering some of the best outdoor recreation destinations in the state. Colorado State Parks also manage more than 4,000 campsites, and 57 cabins and yurts. For more information on Colorado State Parks or to purchase an annual pass online, visit www.colorado.gov/parks.