State park fees increasing

Posted April 29, 2010 10:17 a.m. EDT

— Fees charged for camping, swimming and renting picnic shelters in North Carolina state parks are increasing for the first time in six years, according to the state Division of Parks and Recreation.

The fee increases, which go into effect Saturday, are part of the state budget created last summer by the General Assembly as it worked to close a $4.5 billion shortfall.

Among the increases, the fee for camping will rise from $15 to $17 a night, admission to some swimming areas will go up from $4 to $5 a day, and renting a medium-sized picnic shelter will cost $70 a day instead of $60. Other fee increases affect cabin and boat rentals.

Park officials said in a statement that fees help offset the cost of visitors service at state parks. They said that North Carolina's fees are in the mid-range for similar state park systems in the southeast United States.

Admission to all state parks and recreation areas is free. Jordan Lake, Falls Lake and Kerr Lake charge a $6-per-vehicle parking fee as a condition of their lease from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.