Clallam County raises camping fees by $2

PORT ANGELES — It will cost a couple of extra bucks to camp at Salt Creek or the Dungeness Recreation Area next year.

Clallam County commissioners Tuesday approved a revised fee schedule that includes a $2 across-the-board increase for overnight camping at the county’s destination parks.

The revised fee schedule, which retains a modest discount for county residents, was designed to cover the cost of operating the increasingly popular campgrounds, officials said.

For county residents, the overnight camping fee at Salt Creek or Dungeness will be raised from $20 to $22 for a standard campsite and from $25 to $27 for sites with utility hookups.

Out-of-town campers will pay $25 per night for a non-hookup site or $30 for a hookup site beginning in January.

The new fee schedule was developed and vetted by the county Parks, Fair and Facilities department and the Clallam County Parks Board.

It includes a $5 increase for the use of the Salt Creek picnic shelter — $80 for a full day or $45 for a half day — and adds a $10 reservation fee for Camp David Jr.

A prior iteration of the proposal would have raised the fee for hookup sites at Salt Creek and Dungeness by $3 instead of $2 for county and non-county residents alike.

After parks board Chairman Peter Craig raised concerns about county residents shouldering too much of the cost burden, commissioners Dec. 5 directed staff to go back to the parks board to try to reach a consensus on the fees.

County Parks and Fair Supervisor Bruce Giddens told commissioners Monday that the parks board had voted 5-2 to recommend the adopted $2 across-the-board fee increase for overnight camping.

“I really value the work that the committee put into this, and I very much value the recommendations that come from our committees,” Commissioner Bill Peach said Monday.

“So I’m willing to accept the recommendation.”

“As would I,” Commissioner Mark Ozias said.

Other options that the parks board considered were a $2 fee hike for non-county residents only, a $3 increase for non-county residents or a $2 increase for non-county residents plus a $1 increase for utility sites, Giddens said.

Ozias noted that Clallam County’s camping fee structure is “somewhat unusual.”

“There are only a handful of counties that incentivize their own residents, and I’m really glad that we do that,” Ozias said.

“I think our professional staff felt that the initial fee increases suggested by the members of the parks board were maybe a little bit too steep, and the ensuing conversation is to maintain the differential between county and non-county, but dial the increase back a little bit on both.”

Giddens said Whatcom County was the only other county he was aware of that had a separate fee for county and non-county residents.

“Other counties that I’ve looked at that have camping available — Jefferson, Skagit, Snohomish, Spokane — they all have just a flat rate for everyone,” he said.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsula dailynews.com.

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