Camping fees going up skpic

Rates for various camping services at provincial parks were raised earlier this year. (Google Street View)

Saskatchewan's camping fees are still a bargain, even after a recent increase, according to the minister responsible for parks in the province.

Opposition politicians complained Thursday about a decision, announced in January, to hike various fees. For example, a camping spot with electricity will cost $27 per night, an increase of $5 from the previous $22 per night.

The minister responsible, Kevin Doherty, said the fees compare well to other places in Canada.

"We took a look at other markets, other provinces, the regional parks, the national parks and even with our fee increases we're on par with Manitoba as the lowest in Western Canada," Doherty said when asked about the fee hikes.

Doherty also pointed out that camping fees do not cover the full costs of maintaining provincial parks. According to the minister, about 40 per cent of parks' operating costs are paid by the government.

He also defended the magnitude of the fee increases, some of which were over 20 per cent compared to previous rates.

"Some will argue that that's exorbitant. I don't accept that," Doherty said. "It is a fee increase. There are additional costs that were borne out in our parks this year."

Doherty said the province tries to strike a balance between what the government pays and what users pay.