Should Montana Implement an Out-Of-State Surcharge for Campers in State Parks?

Out of State Pay Fee Ahead

With tourism down and a pandemic ravaging the world, it's fair to say that the times, well, they're a changing; the tourism that we have got is a double-edged sword. The state and its small businesses need tourism revenue, but out of state tourists carry with them the increased risk of spreading coronavirus, which could decimate the already fragile economy if it were to advance far enough. The question, therefore, is what is the safest way for Montana to facilitate tourism in a safe and profitable way.  


Camping Under the Stars

Oregon has a solution, but depending on who you are and what part of the Montana economy you represent, you might not like it. 

Oregon has instituted an out-of-state surcharge for campers. It does not effect in-state campers, as the rate-hike is aimed squarely at out of staters. According to the Oregon State Parks website, these are the new rates:

"The average cost for a full-service RV site is currently $33 a night. Starting Aug.10, the cost increases to an average of $42. The average tent rate is currently $19 a night and will increase to $23 for nonresidents."

While not an astronomical rise in price, they still represent a substantial increase. Some have estimated that the Oregon State Park system stands to increase revenue by as much as $500,000.

Again, the Oregon State Park website is refreshingly upfront about why they have implemented this decision: 

Sluice Boxes State Park
Sluice Boxes State Park

"In short, we made this decision for both health reasons and to raise revenue. First, controlling the spread of COVID-19 factors into every operational decision we make. Current guidance from health authorities encourages all of us to stay close to home and minimize non-essential travel, including for recreation. Imposing a surcharge on out-of-state campers is a way of discouraging non-essential travel and minimizing the potential spread across state lines. Second, we need more revenue, quickly. We lost significant revenue while campgrounds were closed March 23 – June 9. New revenue from the surcharge can help us hire additional workers and offset the costs of extra cleaning."

What do you think? Should Montana try something similar? 

Out of State Sign

Leave a Comment Here

Michael Grasseschi (not verified) , Thu, 09/03/2020 - 07:57
Fantastic idea.... we should (or should have) do that here in (Jackson and Grand Teton National Park, etc) Wyoming where the tourists have literally overrun places that even last year were still somewhat sacred to locals... and throwing in the extra boost in Covid Cases as soon as June tolled around when they started coming-heck ya its a good idea....!
Billy Martin (not verified) , Sat, 12/25/2021 - 23:23
No, I don't think this is a good idea. If states need more revenue, then encourage tourists to come, don't discourage them. If they're sick, they're not going to be out traveling around. Plus being outside (and/ or in one's camper) is not going to increase anyone else's risk of catching CoVid. Eat well, exercise, maintain your weight, stock up on some immune supporting supplements, stop watching and listening to so much mainstream corporatized media, use some common sense, and take responsibility for your own health. We are being told for the first time in history, that we can transmit a disease that we do not have to those who are 'vaccinated' against it. I am at a loss to wrap logic around this thinking. Get your state governors and government under control and end this embarrassing coronavirus circus. Enough of this 'build back better...for someone else" aka Agenda 2030 bs. Say no to giving up our freedoms and say no to being ruled by anonymous administrators of the political bureaucrats and billionaire technocrats intent on universal tracking/ panopticon, depopulation and transhumanism. To succeed in global totalitarianism, they need us to comply. Say no and free the free market economy and the future for our grandchildren.
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