SALEM — Wallowa Lake State Park is one of 21 state parks that will see their electric hookup rates increase as they open this spring as campgrounds prepare for the 2021 season, while regular camping rates remain stable, according to a press release.
“Our visitors and staff have weathered a rough 12 months,” said Lisa Sumption, director of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. “None of us imagined this time last year that we would face a more than two-month shutdown of Oregon State Parks and then reopen under pandemic and safety precautions, followed by last September’s wildfires that damaged our local communities and several state parks. This February’s ice storm also brought down trees and limbs and damaged some facilities in northern Willamette Valley and Columbia River Gorge parks.”
Sumption said the OPRD has fewer employees and a revenue shortfall that led to fewer hires, including seasonal staff.
Oregon Lottery revenue and park visitor fees are projected to be down more than $20 million by the end of the 2019-21 biennium that ends June 30.
Overnight camping rates will remain the same as 2020 rates except for a $3 increase for electric hookup and full hookup sites in selected parks May 28 to Sept. 6. The electric hookup rate range will be $24-$35 and the full hookup range will be $26-$38 per night at 20 other parks. In addition to Wallowa Lake State Park, those include Beverly Beach State Park, Bullards Beach State Park, Cape Blanco State Park, Cape Lookout State Park, Devil’s Lake State Recreation Area, Fort Stevens State Park, Harris Beach State Park, Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park, Nehalem Bay State Park, South Beach State Park, Sunset Bay State Park, William M. Tugman State Park, The Cove Palisades State Park, LaPine State Park, Tumalo State Park, Valley of the Rogue State Park, Champoeg State Heritage Area, Detroit Lake State Recreation Area, L.L. Stub Stewart Memorial State Park and Silver Falls State Park.
A temporary, COVID-related surcharge that added up to an additional 30% fee to overnight stays for out-of-state campers ended March 1. All campers in 2021 will pay the same rates. The OPRD plans to open a public discussion about making out-of-state rates a normal part of the overnight stay rate structure.
Some pandemic-related, temporary changes remain in place based on statewide restrictions to group gatherings, including keeping group facilities and hiker/biker camping areas closed. In addition, visitor stays in yurts and cabins are followed by a one-day resting period. The resting day reduces overall availability, but staff uses the time to thoroughly clean the facilities to ensure visitor safety. Yurt and cabin visits in coastal campgrounds require a two-night minimum stay.
The OPRD budget is 44% Lottery Fund dedicated by Oregon voters in 1999 and 2010; 50% “Other Fund” from park visitors, a portion of recreational vehicle registrations and other sources; and 6% federal fund, mainly for heritage-related programs.
For more information about Oregon State Parks and campgrounds, visit stateparks.oregon.gov.