Out-of-state recreational vehicle users will pay more to use Oregon state parks this year. On January 1, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department began charging out-of- state residents 25% more at state-run RV sites. The increase applies to all sites that offer RV hookups.
Including lodging tax, a typical RV site with sewer and electrical hookups will cost $30-$50 per night for non-residents, compared to $24-$40 for Oregon residents. In Brookings, the fee increase will have a modest impact on city revenue. “Harris Beach State Park is within city limits, so if they have increased revenues from those that pay fees within state parks, from non-residents, there is potential that the TOT (transient occupancy tax) will increase,” said Brookings City Manager Janell Howard.
The surcharge, which carries out the intent of Senate Bill 794, was implemented to achieve parity between Oregonians and tourists. Currently, Oregon residents with RVs pay an RV license plate fee, with some of those proceeds going to state park operations.
“Since we're not funded by taxes, every drop of money we earn goes to pay for day-to-day operations - labor, power, water, trash, etc. - and minor maintenance and environmental protection of state park properties,” said Chris Havel, associate director at the OPRD.
“Finally, we get a share of the recreational vehicle license plate fee paid by Oregon RV owners,” Havel said. “That money adds to the funds we earn from a park to help operate day-to-day. This RV plate money is the reason a surcharge on out-of-state RV campsites makes sense. Oregon RV owners pay twice to support state parks - once through their license plate fee and then again when they rent a state park campsite.” ￼
According to Havel, the OPRD currently earns about $28 million a year, primarily through camping services - which won’t be impacted by the new rule - but will still generate increased funding. “The 25% extra from out-of-state RV campsite rentals will add an estimated $1 million a year to that figure,” said Havel.
Other state park funds come from the Oregon Lottery, which was approved by voters in 1999 and 2010. According to Havel, those funds pay for major repairs and improvements, and funds a local community recreation grant program.
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