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Pack more money for camping trip: Fees may go up for 2014 season

PIERRE — Prices probably are headed higher at state campgrounds and recreation areas in South Dakota for the 2014 season.

The state Game, Fish and Parks Commission will hold a public hearing Nov. 7 on raising fees for a wide variety of camping permits, firewood and rentals of lodges, cabins, picnic shelters and other facilities.

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The increases generally would be less than $5, with some less than $1. All prices would be rounded to an even dollar amount as a matter of convenience for visitors and parks personnel alike.

The state Parks and Recreation Division estimates that $702,000 of additional revenue would be generated in 2014. The fees last changed in 2011, according to Bob Schneider, an assistant director for the division.

He said 70 percent of the camp sites in the state system would cost $19 per night — $15 for a preferred site plus $4 for electricity service.

States adjacent to South Dakota average $19 per night, he said.

Firewood has been $4 per bundle since 2009 and would go to $5

“We want to provide that service in the park and want to encourage people to use it. That’s our No. 1 tool for keeping emerald ash borer out of South Dakota,” Schneider said. “It’s moving in from both directions. It’s a matter of time. We want to put it off as long as possible.”

The Wildlife Division also proposes increasing prices for most hunting, fishing and trapping licenses, other than non-resident small-game and preserve licenses, which were raised last year.

The Wildlife Division estimates it would generate more than $2 million of additional revenue. The public hearing on that proposal also will be held Nov. 7 during the commission’s meeting in Pierre.