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Calif. park and beach fees on the rise

August 20, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The cost of just about everything is going up these days, including a day at the park. Many California parks and beaches will raise fees beginning Monday, which may act as a repellent to many would-be visitors. Driving into Lake Perris State Recreation Park, entrance fees are clearly posted at the front gate. It costs $8 per vehicle. But starting Monday, visitors will see a 25-percent price hike.

Although the hike only amounts to a couple of bucks, it's not good news for people who visit often.

"A lot of people living paycheck to paycheck right now, so I'm sure it's going to be very difficult for some people," said Lisa Gabris, who was visiting Lake Perris from Riverside.

Fees for campers could jump $20 next week. State beaches will also see up to a 50-percent fee hike. In Southern California state beaches like Huntington, Doheny, San Onofre and Bolsa Chica will soon have $15 parking rates.

"We have to live within the means of our budget that we were just given this last year," said District Superintendent Ron Krueper.

Krueper says with state funding drying up, they need as much help as possible to keep parks afloat. They're even looking for help from corporations and private donors.

"This would help keep parks open, because parks are for people and for them to enjoy and recreate and also to protect the significant natural and cultural resources found there," said Krueper.

Most people here seemed agreeable to the fee hikes. It's not something they like, but it is something they seem to understand.

"I think with the budget it's necessary, you need to get out of the hole," said Linda Shelton, visiting from Laguna Beach.

"As long as the money goes to parks and to what it's supposed to and not wasted on other government pork, so to speak, then I'm fine with it," said Ryan Allcorn, also visiting from Laguna Beach.

Entrance fee hikes across the state won't save all of the parks and beaches in Southern California. After Labor Day the state will announce several park closures.

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