Fee increases for State Park usage rescinded days before going into effect

The existing fees will continue to be apply “as if they were never replaced”

Fees for parking, cabin rentals and some usage permits at Alaska State Parks were set to be increased on Monday with the start of the new year, but an order by Director Ricky Gease of State Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Parks Outdoor Recreation on Thursday halted the changes only three days before they were set to be implemented.

A November media release by the department said that a series of Director’s Orders by Gease would introduce “moderate fee increases” for parking, cabin rentals and certain usage permits. These increases were signed on Nov. 14 to take effect on Jan. 1.

Another Director’s Order, signed on Thursday, Dec. 28, says that the five orders that would enact the fee increases all “are withdrawn and rescinded.” The existing fees will continue to be apply “as if they were never replaced.”

The changes that had been announced would shift day-use parking from $5 to $7 — annual parking passes would increase from $60 to $75. In announcing the upcoming change, the department encouraged people to purchase their annual passes for 2024 early — saying in the release that they could be purchased at the original rate through the end of the year.

“Don’t wait to get your pass,” Gease said in the November release.

There is no explanation in the new Director’s Order for why the changes were not implemented. The Department had not responded to a request for comment before publication.

The November release said the fee increases would produce additional revenue “to help maintain Alaska State Parks facilities and support outdoor recreation in Alaska.”

On the Kenai Peninsula, state recreation areas subject to park fees are in Clam Gulch, Crooked Creek, Deep Creek, Johnson Lake, Kasilof River, Bing’s Landing, Cooper Landing, Eagle Rock, Funny River, The Pillars, Lowell Point and Ninilchik. If a vehicle is parked overnight, it is subject to payment for two parking days.

For more information on fees at Alaska State Parks, visit dnr.alaska.gov/parks/asp/fees.htm.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.