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Old 03-22-2024, 11:41 AM   #1
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New Mexico State Park Fee Increase

New Mexico has announced a proposed fee increase. The public comment period will end March 29, 2024. The changes are proposed to go into effect July 1, 2024. The changes include: elimination of the day use fee for residents, raising the day use fee for nonresidents to $10/day, elimination of the annual day use and camping passes, increasing the base cost of dispersed and developed campsites to $20.00, charging $10/night for each utility (i.e. electric, water, sewer), charging $10/dump at dump stations.
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Old 03-22-2024, 04:55 PM   #2
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It is about time! NM is always about 20 years behind doing what other states do
The deadlines for public input and implementation have slid for a few weeks/months due to the sheer volume of public input. The state did not expect that!

The reason for all the input? Most communication is not complaints about the fees going up, but that the fees for out of state did not go up enough. Also some folks were upset that the yearly passes are disappearing.

Folks I know (including myself) frequent our state parks. But for several years, the number of out of state plates hogging up the entire park, and staying as long as they can (usually until a ranger comes by and tells them their 14 days is up), has been frustrating to say the least.

Folks want their state park fees to be similar to the hunting license fees for out of state which are MUCH higher than in state. I agree.
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Old 03-22-2024, 05:45 PM   #3
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The reason for all the input? Most communication is not complaints about the fees going up, but that the fees for out of state did not go up enough.
Folks want their state park fees to be similar to the hunting license fees for out of state which are MUCH higher than in state. I agree.
Sometimes you have to be careful of what you wish for. Run off all of the out of staters because prices are too high and possibly not enough in staters to fill the campgrounds, then what happens?

"raising the day use fee for nonresidents to $10/day"
Per person or vehicle?

I'm from Illinois where anyone can enjoy a state park for free. I was shocked when I had to pay to go into a state park the first time. I do find it quite common now but reasonable. Usually $5 per car or just a couple of dollars per person. Something to keep the riffraff out.
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Old 03-22-2024, 10:17 PM   #4
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I don’t mind an increase that keeps up with inflation, I don’t even mind a slight bit more as an out of state resident. I even understand charging more for more popular places. But as mentioned it will eventually affect the local economy. If I pay more to camp then I offset that by spending less in the surrounding community.
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Old 03-23-2024, 06:48 AM   #5
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I donít mind an increase that keeps up with inflation, I donít even mind a slight bit more as an out of state resident. I even understand charging more for more popular places. But as mentioned it will eventually affect the local economy. If I pay more to camp then I offset that by spending less in the surrounding community.
This is absolutely correct. It is easy for legislatures to raise fees on out of staters because they don't vote. This is the trend everywhere. In the end, New Mexicans will see an increase aimed at them when they travel inter State.

Personally, I believe all States and the Fed s should be charging close to the same rates for everyone regardless of State boundaries.
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Old 03-23-2024, 07:45 AM   #6
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According to the fee study, about one third of the state park funding comes from the general fund which is used as the rational for free entrance for residents and increased fees for nonresidents. Here is a link to an article, "Millions in federal money used to build up NM parks have gone to waste in recent years". States need to be careful in setting fees as I believe some federal grants still prohibit charging different fees for nonresidents to use projects funded with these federal funds.
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Old 03-23-2024, 07:57 AM   #7
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I donít mind an increase that keeps up with inflation, I donít even mind a slight bit more as an out of state resident. I even understand charging more for more popular places. But as mentioned it will eventually affect the local economy. If I pay more to camp then I offset that by spending less in the surrounding community.
We visit the Angel Fire/ Eagle Nest Area often. Many of the RV parks are mostly full of seasonal renters who spend about 90 days there each year. I have met many who fish in Eagle Nest Lake or on the Cimarron River just about every day. The new day use fee could cost them up to $900.00 just for access to fish. Eagle Nest has three bait/tackle shops that cater to these visitors. I suspect any decrease in nonresident use of the parks will impact their businesses.
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Old 03-23-2024, 09:25 AM   #8
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I seriously doubt any increase in state park fees is going to affect local economies at all. NM is starting to have the same snowbird population situations as southern TX and AZ. So RV parks are doing the same thing as our neighbors, raising the rates. Guess what, they are still full during the season.

My biggest fear is raising the state park rates will move some of the folks that seem to live in our state parks (Rangers call them squatters) out into BLM and National Forest areas that I frequent

I'm hoping the new fees will be used to help offset the affects of our state parks being over used. The fees are still relatively low, but if they run some folks off, I don't think that is a bad thing.
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Old 03-23-2024, 10:27 AM   #9
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Folks I know (including myself) frequent our state parks. But for several years, the number of out of state plates hogging up the entire park, and staying as long as they can (usually until a ranger comes by and tells them their 14 days is up), has been frustrating to say the least.

Folks want their state park fees to be similar to the hunting license fees for out of state which are MUCH higher than in state. I agree.
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My biggest fear is raising the state park rates will move some of the folks that seem to live in our state parks (Rangers call them squatters) out into BLM and National Forest areas that I frequent.
The parks we stay at the most have moved to all reservations for developed campsites. Not sure how you game that system to stay more than 14 days.

If I read the prosed changes correctly, the proposed camping fees are the same for residents and nonresidents. The day use fee is what is proposed to be different for residents and nonresidents. I did not see anything in the proposed changes about requiring a day use permit in addition to a camping permit. A camping permit currently includes day use for the length of stay.

Given the recent increased cost of just about everything, I suspect the fee increases will have more impact on the family weekend camper than the tourist.

BLM and the Forest Service have been confronted with the squatter problem for years. The Forest Service has closed many areas to roadside and off road vehicle camping. BLM has closed a number of popular dispersed camping areas and created dedicated camping areas. In some areas BLM has regraded roads creating steep ditches that prevent most RVs from leaving the prepared roadway.
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Old 03-23-2024, 11:14 AM   #10
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The fees are still relatively low,
Wow, I would say they are ridiculously low.

If I read correctly and annual pass is $180(not even a weeks camping at a lot of state parks) and $225 for non-residents? Plus $4 for electric or $8 a day for electric with sewer. ?? That is a bargain. Camp every day all year for $263 a month(resident) add $3.75 a month if a non resident. Just have to roam around the state a bit if the 14 day limit is enforced.

No wonder people stay parked as long as possible if not monitored.

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But then they might be going to extremes now. From the first post a sewer site is now $50 nightly? And they are going to charge $10 do dump even if camped there if you are not on a sewer site? At least I thought I read that as a proposal.

Who knows for sure what the final is? Will have to wait and see.
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Old 03-23-2024, 11:46 AM   #11
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The parks we stay at the most have moved to all reservations for developed campsites. Not sure how you game that system to stay more than 14 days.

If I read the prosed changes correctly, the proposed camping fees are the same for residents and nonresidents. The day use fee is what is proposed to be different for residents and nonresidents. I did not see anything in the proposed changes about requiring a day use permit in addition to a camping permit. A camping permit currently includes day use for the length of stay.

Given the recent increased cost of just about everything, I suspect the fee increases will have more impact on the family weekend camper than the tourist.

BLM and the Forest Service have been confronted with the squatter problem for years. The Forest Service has closed many areas to roadside and off road vehicle camping. BLM has closed a number of popular dispersed camping areas and created dedicated camping areas. In some areas BLM has regraded roads creating steep ditches that prevent most RVs from leaving the prepared roadway.
There is always a way to game any system, and folks will find it.

Most of our state parks are only partially on the reserve america system. One example is Pancho Villa State Park, where we just stayed a week. Half of the park is reservation only, the other half is first come first serve spots. Squatters either just stay in the non-reserved spots or move back and forth between reserved/non-reserved and hope the ranger/park host doesn't notice.

We also have many state parks in close proximity to each other. Many just move between them every 14 days (or when asked to move) taking advantage of the facilities and getting to stay in the same area all season for cheap. Nothing wrong with that, until you notice how many spots are taken up with snowbirds from out of state when you can't get into the park.

As far as the 'raising rates affecting families' argument: Our fees and budgets for state parks haven't changed in at least 15 years. Due to this, many have lost facilities and needed maintenance due to lack of staff funding. Doubling the daily camping fees from $10 to $20 is mild compared to current cost-of-living. Still should be very affordable for any family and help fund our parks. Getting the state to fund these parks out of the goodness of their hearts is not happening. So, fix the problem by having them fund themselves.

I found it surprising that most comments on the proposed fees wanted much higher increases for all out-of-staters. Guess I'm not the only one tired of seeing everything overrun by vehicles with out-of-state plates (especially TX).

As far as dispersed camping areas; So far, my favorite spots are remote and obscure enough to avoid too much overcrowding and damage caused by it. We also have more area than back east, so hopefully we don't have to resort to closing areas. I did see some comments on fee changes that proposed a 'back woods' permit/fee to help manage dispersed areas. We will see what the feds do with that. I don't think it is a bad idea. I would hate to see southern NM open areas overrun and ruined like others I have seen.

Folks always hate seeing fee increases, but in this case, I believe it is well warranted to help keep up with usage demand.
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Old 03-23-2024, 01:04 PM   #12
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<snip>NM is starting to have the same snowbird population situations as southern TX and AZ. So RV parks are doing the same thing as our neighbors, raising the rates. Guess what, they are still full during the season. <snip>.
As an MT resident that snowbirds in AZ, the park I am in raised it's rates 25% last year. From normally being full, they certainly have a lot of empty spots this season and it appears that several regulars will not be back next season.

While I have visited NM a few times and really like the State (and the food!), I have never stayed in a NM State Park - But I have no issue paying $30/nt for NV State Parks that include W/E with a dump station.

I can understand and sympathize with residents that have a tough time getting a reservation due to the high number of out-of-staters - perhaps it's a price to pay for having such a beautiful State.
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Old 03-23-2024, 01:54 PM   #13
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I fully understand the need to raise fees. Especially given that according to the fee proposal they have not raised fees in 25 years. Very few of the NM parks seem to have sites with sewer hookups so the fee for an Electric & Water site will be $40.00. What I find a little unreasonable is the additional $10/dump even if camping. I am curious how they will monitor the payment of the dump fee. I have seen commercial parks with a kiosk that operated a magnetic lock on the dump station cover. Payment was either by credit card or a card provided by the campground office to paid campers. I am also concerned about an increase in gray water dumping in the primitive dispersed camping areas.

The $10/vehicle day use pass is not outrageous for two or more individuals, but for someone like myself that accesses a park alone to fish it seems a little high. Perhaps they could offer an individual day use and a multi-occupancy vehicle pass. I am also concerned that the elimination of the day use fee for residents will increase use of already crowded areas like Cimarron Canyon and decrease the quality of the fishing experience. I would not object to a reasonable increase in the annual day use pass to $80.00-100.00 for nonresidents.

I have submitted my comments/suggestions during the public comment period and encourage others to do the same..
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Old 03-23-2024, 06:33 PM   #14
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Folks I know (including myself) frequent our state parks. But for several years, the number of out of state plates hogging up the entire park, and staying as long as they can (usually until a ranger comes by and tells them their 14 days is up), has been frustrating to say the least.
Something that some other states have done that might help is to open the reservation window for residents before the window for nonresidents.
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Old 03-23-2024, 08:54 PM   #15
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Well if federal dollars are going into the park we ALL are helping pay. It sounds like it’s not the non resident that is ruining it but more the squatter type. That shouldn’t be allowed. Big difference between a tourist that comes to see the area and those that take advantage of the system
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Old 03-24-2024, 08:19 AM   #16
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Putting all cjheckin and reservations on line does not mean that first come first serve has to be completely eliminated. At least one Corps of Engineers converted to completely online. What were first come first serve sites now have a 3 day.window. The window could be set to day of. I think this could hellp with the squatter problem as the compuyer system would heip enforce stay limis.
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Old 03-28-2024, 06:55 PM   #17
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We have stayed in probably half the state parks in NM over the years since we bought our first RV. And we paid $14/night for W/E sites, including day pass, dump, flush toilets, showers, etc., until the reservation fee was added several years ago. If, however, NM raises the W/E campsite rates to ~those of Colorado, we will quit camping at NM SPs. As Colorado residents, we quit camping in our Colorado SPs when CPW doubled the cost of campsites, even for seniors like us. With New Mexico's 2 COE W/E cgs., dozens of USFS and BLM cgs, some even having hookups, casino RV parks with inexpensive hookups, and dispersed camping throughout the state, we can still avoid private RV parks with those multiple public alternatives. And, if we do need a site with utilities in an area with only private RV park availability, we will use Passport America to pay less than the new cost of a state park site. So the increased costs won't affect us other than keeping us from staying in some of our favorite state park campgrounds anywhere--like Rockhound, South Monticello, Sugarite Canyon, and Heron Lake!
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Old 03-28-2024, 08:22 PM   #18
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It is about time! NM is always about 20 years behind doing what other states do
The deadlines for public input and implementation have slid for a few weeks/months due to the sheer volume of public input. The state did not expect that!

The reason for all the input? Most communication is not complaints about the fees going up, but that the fees for out of state did not go up enough. Also some folks were upset that the yearly passes are disappearing.

Folks I know (including myself) frequent our state parks. But for several years, the number of out of state plates hogging up the entire park, and staying as long as they can (usually until a ranger comes by and tells them their 14 days is up), has been frustrating to say the least.

Folks want their state park fees to be similar to the hunting license fees for out of state which are MUCH higher than in state. I agree.

Hmm, I wonder how many "tourist dollars" those out of state people leave within the borders of the state during their stay? Fuel, Food, etc? If not exactly while in the parks, certainly coming and going, and at other non-public parks?

FWIW, we suffer the same malady here in the Pacific Northwest with people from other states coming here and staying as long as they can to enjoy our outdoors.

BTW, raising rates for out of state campers often doesn't stop them for using the parks. Kind of like how rising fuel prices hasn't lessened traffic on the highways.
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Old 04-01-2024, 04:53 PM   #19
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BTW, raising rates for out of state campers often doesn't stop them for using the parks. Kind of like how rising fuel prices hasn't lessened traffic on the highways.
What raising the rates for out-of-staters does is change who fills up the spots to the more affluent with the bigger campers. Owners of pop-ups and A-frames tend to stay away from high priced campsites - except at Disney. I look twice to see if I really want to go there when price goes over $40/night. Sometimes I will pay the price, most times I won't.

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Old 04-01-2024, 09:22 PM   #20
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What raising the rates for out-of-staters does is change who fills up the spots to the more affluent with the bigger campers. Owners of pop-ups and A-frames tend to stay away from high priced campsites - except at Disney. I look twice to see if I really want to go there when price goes over $40/night. Sometimes I will pay the price, most times I won't.

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I own more than a pop up or A frame and I agree wholeheartedly with your statement. The price of fuel the price of campsites fast food regular groceries all effectively cut my summer trips in half as a teacher I donít get a chance to make overtime, I canít get a second job because I coach but it pays extra maybe not as much if you compare hours but enough to justify doing beyond enjoying of which I do. So I have to set a budget when prices go up trips get cut or reduced in distance and time. Just life
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