Camping fee hikes draw criticism

The Sask. Party government is being criticized for its hike of camping fees in 2017. The Opposition NDP is accusing the government of "making the people of Saskatchewan pay for its mismanagement".

Saskatchewan government increases province's camping fees for 3rd time in 4 years

Camping fees have gone up in 2017, which the government attributes to operation costs and more visitors. (jchapiewsky/Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)

Camping in the province will be more expensive this year — the third increase in four years.

On Wednesday, the Saskatchewan government announced hikes to its camping fees across the province's parks in 2017.

The hikes range from $2 to $4 for nightly camping, $2 to $10 for entry permits, $8 to $16 for group camping, $113-$125 for seasonal camping and $2 to $5 for reservation fees.

The hikes have drawn criticism from the NDP Opposition. Warren McCall, the NDP MLA for Regina Elphinstone–Centre, said in a news release that the new fee structure is making the people of Saskatchewan pay for the government's "mismanagement, scandal and waste". 

"Times are tough, and with the Sask. Party overseeing the loss of thousands and thousands of jobs across the province, Saskatchewan families should be getting a break with access to their parks, not nickel and dimed by their government. The Sask. Party's hike is simply wrong and mean-spirited," the release said. 

Since 2007, the government said it has put more than $200 million funding provincial parks. Parks are highly subsidized and user fees cover less than 30 per cent of operating costs.

The government attributed the fee increase to the rising costs of operating the parks, as well as more visitors.

Reservations for the parks will open on a staggered basis in mid-April. Campers will be able to reserve a spot at 7 a.m. CST on each designated day, with the queue starting at 6:40 a.m CST.