Idaho’s busiest parks hike fees for non-residents

Idaho’s most popular state parks started doubling camping fees for out-of-state residents on Thursday as required by a new state law.

It’s intended to help more Idaho residents get spots in the parks, but results won’t be seen for more than a year. That’s because the state’s five most-popular parks were fully booked for the summer as soon as reservations opened up back in December. Idaho State Parks reported a visitation record in 2020 of nearly 7.7 million people coming to the parks for day use and camping — 1.2 million more than the previous high number. About 30 percent of last year’s visitors were from out of state.

Idaho state Parks Director Susan Buxton said the changes will keep Idaho competitive with surrounding states, which have similar surcharges for non-resident campers.

At popular Ponderosa State Park, on the shores of Payette Lake in McCall, a basic campsite costs $24 per night and one with full hookups costs $32. Next year, out-of-staters will pay double; if fees remain the same next year, they’d pay $48 and $64 for the same sites. Those same fee increases will apply at four other busy state park campgrounds: Farragut, Priest Lake and Round Lake in North Idaho, and Henry’s Lake in eastern Idaho. (AP)

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