Commission weighs South Dakota park, camping fees increase

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – South Dakota’s Game, Fish and Parks Commission is weighing whether to raise fees by nearly $3 million next year.

The commission says declining revenues and the need to repair flood damage may mean visitors paying more to enter state parks and campgrounds.

State Director of Parks and Recreation Scott Simpson says entrance fees and camping fees are the primary funding source for South Dakota’s nearly $40 million parks and recreation budget.

Simpson says park entrance fees were last raised in 2013 and camping fees were last increased in 2014.

The public has 30 days to comment on the proposal. The commission will hold a public hearing Oct. 3 as it finalizes the proposal at its next meeting in Chamberlain. The proposed fee increases would take effect before next camping season.