Chickasaw National Recreation Area Proposes Fee Increases

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SULFUR, Okla. (KXII)- The Chickasaw National Recreation Area attracts thousands of visitors year-round for swimming, hiking, and camping.

But those visitors may have to start paying a bit more in the coming months thanks to some proposed fee increases.

“We absolutely want to make sure people understand why we’re proposing to raise fees and that money will come back to the park,” said ranger Megan Wilkins.

The first proposal would see some camping fees increase like group sites going from $30 to $50.

“The current rates we have were set in 2011,” Wilkins said. “So it’s been a while since we’ve increased, so it’s just to keep up with the rate of inflation.”

Wilkins says the money from those increases will be put to good use in the park.

“Things like trails, restrooms, garbage service, campground maintenance,” Wilkins said.

The second proposal is an entirely new cost.

“This is a proposed rate of $15 per day for parking at the petit nigari and the travertine nature center,” Wilkins said.

Money from these fees will go to staff dedicated to managing these high-traffic areas.

Wilkins hopes that when people find out the money will stay in the park, they’ll be willing to pay a little extra.

“It’s worth it for what we get out of it. It’s an unbeatable recreation area,” said Ron MacArthur, a frequent visitor to the park.

If these proposals are accepted, the fee increases will take effect in October while parking fees will begin next May.

But before that, the park wants to hear from the public about what it thinks of the proposals.

“Are we on the right track, maybe they even have better ideas than us because maybe someone has a brilliant idea that we haven’t come up with yet,” Wilkins said. “We really want to get those comments.”

The deadline for submitting public comments is May 15.

Comments should be sent to [email protected] with the subject line “Camping Fee Increase” or “CY 2023 Parking Fee Implementation” depending on the fee you have a comment on.

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