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California state parks annual pass fee jumps to $195

May 01, 2012|By Mary Forgione | Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
  • The annual pass to California state parks means free access to Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve and 278 other parklands.
The annual pass to California state parks means free access to Mono Lake… (Mark Boster / Los Angeles…)

If you didn't buy an annual California state parks pass yet, prepare to shell out a bit more. The new price of $195 — a $70 leap — goes into effect today (Tuesday).

The California Department of Parks and Recreation hopes to generate $1 million to $1.5 million by raising the prices of state park passes, according to a statement.

The popular Vehicle Day Use Annual Pass that allows access to all 279 state parks for a year jumps from $125 to $195; the Golden Poppy Vehicle Day Use Pass good at selected parks for a year increases from $90 to $125, and the Boat Use Pass (Sticker) for a year, from $75 to $100. Click here for a list of prices for special and annual passes.

The agency estimates that 12 to 15 visits to state parks will be the break-even point. Also, the statement says day use and camping fees will not be increased; they'll remain at 2009 prices.

Parks and Recreation has been in a cost-cutting mode since last year when it drafted a list of 70 parks set to close in July to trim $22 million from the 2012-13 budget.

More than a dozen parks, including popular Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve near the eastern edge of Yosemite National Park and McGrath State Beach in Ventura, have been spared temporarily because organizations have stepped in to operate them on behalf of the state. However, McGrath has been closed because of ongoing repairs to campsites and roads damaged from flooding.

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