Pay for play
Parks and tourism get aggressive
Yellowknife (May 01/00) - Outdoor enthusiasts can expect to pay for their play in territorial parks this year.
"We've had (fees) for four years or so, but this year we're going to try to be a little more aggressive about how we get it done," said Robin Reilly, director of parks and tourism for the NWT.
"By aggressive I just mean being a little clearer in the media, getting the permits out earlier, advertising where they're available and doing a little more coaxing to get people to use them."
All of the fees are per vehicle, based on the kind of camping the passengers are doing and what kind of sites they are using.
Small changes have been made to the fees charged for camping. Camping on walk-in sites will cost $10 per night, $2 less than last year. Sites with RV hook-ups will cost $20 a night, up $5.
Reilly said those changes are designed to reduce use of the fully-serviced sites, which make up only about 15 per cent of the park camping available in the NWT. In previous years, there was only a few dollars difference between the two and some serviced sites were being taken up by tent campers.
"It's to make it a little less likely that if you don't need it you won't pay the extra," said Reilly.
Ten dollars still gets a season's worth of day-use parking at all parks, but for the first time, day-use permits will be required for Fred Henne Park at Long Lake.
A discount on non-peak camping times is also being introduced. Regardless of the kind of site, it will cost $150 to camp for 14 days from May 15-30 and from Aug. 15-Sept. 15. For a serviced site, that's almost half price.
Reilly said the more aggressive approach to parking fees comes as a result of an increase in park use and no increase in the parks budget.
"We think that by far the majority of the population will say $10 a year for all facilities isn't onerous. And I think people appreciate that government doesn't have money falling out of its pockets right now."
He added that park users will be given every opportunity to comply.
"It's still entirely possible that people will go somewhere to launch their kayak and there won't be anyone there (to ask for a fee)," Reilly said.
"Our intention in that kind of case isn't to tow anyone away, but we'll have some kind of windshield note and we'll probably record the licence number. If by August, if we find we're hitting the same licence number four times over we'll probably ticket people."
In addition to the parks themselves, users can buy permits at any Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development office and at visitors centres.
The park season officially begins May 15.