Rule changes sought for state parks system, but not price increasesWATERTOWN — There’s something very confusing at South Dakota’s highly popular state campgrounds. The lodges and camping cabins don’t officially have check-out times, but the campsites do.
By: Bob Mercer, The Daily Republic
WATERTOWN — There’s something very confusing at South Dakota’s highly popular state campgrounds.
The lodges and camping cabins don’t officially have check-out times, but the campsites do.
The state Division of Parks and Recreation wants to correct that oversight.
A rule currently says a person can’t occupy a campsite after 4 p.m. at any state park or recreation area, with one exception.
That’s at Custer State Park, where a person can’t occupy a campsite after noon on the day that a valid camping permit expires, unless written authorization is obtained from an authorized representative of the Game, Fish and Parks Department.
Now the parks division wants to adopt a noon CST check-out time for all camping cabins. There also would be an 11 a.m. check-out time for state lodges.
The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission agreed Thursday to hold a public hearing on the proposed additional rule. The hearing will be Oct. 6 in Rapid City at the new Outdoor Campus there, starting at 2 p.m. MT.
Bob Schneider, who oversees operations and maintenance for the parks division, said the rules currently don’t have check-out times for the lodges and cabins.
The commission also agreed to propose a fee change for the Oahe Downstream Group Lodge that’s part of GFP’s complex on the Missouri River below the dam.
GFP currently charges $37.92 per night for nonprofit youth groups and $118.49 per night for all other groups. The proposed change would apply the $37.92 rate to all nonprofit groups and government groups from Nov. through March 31.
That proposal also will be part of the Oct. 6 public hearing.
Parks and Recreation director Doug Hofer briefed commissioners on his budget situation and the effects from the flooding. The division has enough money to get through the current 2012 budget year “okay,” he said, but the 2013 budget year that starts next July 1 will face challenges.
He said there won’t be any expansions in 2013 and his division will look for internal efficiencies that don’t affect services.
Hofer said the fee increases that took effect for 2011 and general mood of the public lead him to believe there shouldn’t be additional fee increases considered in 2012 that would take effect for 2013.
“Where I’m at here today is to suggest we can get through this without raising fees next year,” Hofer said.