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Montana State Park seeking public comment for proposed park fees

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Posted at 2:21 PM, Nov 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-25 13:46:13-05

HELENA — Montana State Parks leaders are asking for public comment on suggested changes to state park fees.

The agency has released a draft fee schedule for 2020 and 2021 with officials saying that some increases are needed to keep up with rising operations costs.

Leaders have proposed raising the daily entrance fee for non-residents from $6 to $8, and the cost of a non-resident annual pass from $35 to $50. They have also proposed a 7-day pass for non-residents at $35.

The draft schedule also increases the RV dumping fee from $4 to $5, raises the price of firewood from $24 a cord to $40 and increases several fees for cave tours at Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park.

Hike and bike camping fees are currently $6 per person for residents and $10 per person for non-residents. The draft schedule would change that to $8 per person for everyone. Leaders say the changes would bring in about $200,000 more for park operations.

You can find a full breakdown of the proposed changes and provide public comment at the Montana State Parks website. The agency will accept comments through Dec. 22. The new fees are set to take effect Jan. 1.

State park entrance fees are waived for residents who pay a voluntary fee on their vehicle registrations. Earlier this year, the Montana Legislature approved a bill to raise that fee from $6 to $9. The money supports state parks, as well as fishing sites, trails and historical sites in Virginia City and Nevada City.