The campfire fee that the Saskatchewan Party calls the "wiener roast tax" would be gone if the party wereelected togovernment, its leader said Wednesday.
In 2004, the province introduced the $3-a-day fee forpeople going campingas part of a series of austerity measures inits budget. Then environment minister David Forbes said the fee, charged per campsite,would help to pay for the cost of firewood.
But Saskatchewan Party leader Brad Wall said it's time for the fee to go.
"For those who enjoy camping, they realize what an annoyance this is," he said. "How frustrating it is to have to purchase this $3 permit, per fire or per day."
ASaskatchewan Party government would invest $20 million in the provincial parks over four years and would create an additional 1,000 electrified sites in the province, Wall said.
Wall made his announcement Wednesday while the provincial government was holding a summit in Regina on the tourism industry.
"I think people in Saskatchewan, the visitors to our parks, are very responsible when it comes to the firewood they use," he said.
In order to offset the lost campfire fee revenue, Wall said he would raise camping fees by $2 a dayfor anyone visiting the parks from outside Saskatchewan.
Thecurrent environment minister, John Nilson,called that a bad idea,sayingWall's plan would discourage people from Alberta and Manitoba fromenjoying Saskatchewan'sparks.
The NDP government released its own plan for the provincial parks earlier this month.
It said its "legacy plan" includes conservation, recreation, interpretation and learning, green sustainable tourism, and collaborative management.
It also said it's spending an extra $3.7 million above the regular park budget to upgrade facilities this year.
According to the government, the 36 provincial parks generate about $129 million a year for local and provincial economies.
The Saskatchewan government is expected to call an election for this fall or the spring. The province's parties have already begun airing TV ads.