Linn county parks users to see slight fee increases

Campers using Linn county parks this season will see a $1 per day increase, after commissioners approved a new fee schedule last week.

Brian Carroll, Linn County Parks director, said the increase was necessitated by increased fuel and utility costs.

“We had hoped to not raise prices this year but the utilities and fuel costs have just gone up so much we had to go up,” Carroll said. “We’re also seeing declining state revenues. We had to find a way to maintain existing services.”

Another factor was that the county had previously gotten firewood free but will now have to buy it.

“We’ve been absorbing costs the last few years without upping rates, but we have to do it now,” Carroll said.

Locally, a major change for this season will be elimination of the season pass at Lewis Creek day use area. It will be replaced with a discount pass.

“Previously we had a $10 non-transferrable pass that allowed one vehicle entrance per day,” Carroll said. “The new pass will cost $30 but will be transferrable and can be used on any number of vehicles. It allows 20 entries into Lewis Creek. That’s a 50% discount.”

Carroll said the public needs to know the fee is really only for vehicles. The public can walk, bike or enter the area by boat without paying a fee.

“It’s not a per person fee,” Carroll said. “If you’ve got a van with 15 people in it, it’s still just $3 per day or half that with the discount pass.”

Carroll said that even with the $1 fee increase Linn county remains in the mid-range of campground prices statewide.

In a good year, the fee increase could generate about $20,000 for the county, Carroll said.

“Whitcomb Creek could take a hit,” Carroll said referring to drought conditions that could impact lake accessibility.

Another major change at Sunnyside Park will be how reservations are made for the group camping site.

Previously, reservations cost $15 per site and were non-refundable. Now, there will be a $50 reservation fee plus the first night’s camping fee. The public can get a refund if reservations are cancelled at least two weeks before the requested dates.

There will be an $11 fee for anyone using the county’s reservation program. All reservations must be made with VISA or Mastercard credit or debit only.

2001 Linn county campground fees will be: RV site (water and electrical), $16 or $12 for seniors. Tent sites: $13 or $9 for seniors.

Group camping reservation: $50. Extra vehicles: $5 per vehicle.

Firewood: $4.

Whitcomb Creek and John Neal Memorial Park: campsites: $11 or $8 for seniors.

Carroll said camping was good last year.

“We’re on target to make budget,” Carroll said. “We’re now starting to take reservations. I think we’re going to be quite busy despite the drought worries.”

Carroll is beginning his fifth summer as the local parks director.

Linn county parks campgrounds: John Neal Memorial Park: 40 campsites; Whitcomb Creek: 39 campsites; Sunnyside Park: 130 campsites; Waterloo campground: 120 sites.

Day use areas: Roaring River Park, McDowell Creek Park, Lewis Creek Park, McKercher Park.

Boat ramps: Buell Miller boat ramp, Freeway Lakes, Gedney Creek, Lyons/Mehama boat ramp, McCartney, Peoria, Stayton Bridge boat ramp, Thistle Creek boat ramp.

Waysides: Crawfordsville covered bridge, Larwood, McClun.