Oregon parks initiate new pay requirements

Beginning Aug. 1, state park reservation customers will pay rental and booking fees in full at the time they reserve campsites and other park facilities.

Instead of a first night's deposit to go with a $6 reservation fee, Reservations Northwest will collect payment for every night a campsite is rented, from one night to the 14-day maximum allowed. Reservations Northwest is the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department's service center for reserving campsites, picnic areas and meeting halls in 37 parks.

The new requirement does not affect existing reservations made through April 30, 2010, unless changes are made. After Aug. 1, a customer holding a reservation for more than five nights who shortens a booking to fewer nights or days will be charged a fee equal to one night or day's rental, plus the usual $6 transaction fee.

The full fee payment rule is intended to counteract overbooking tactics that have given some customers unfair advantages over those who reserve sites for only the dates they intend to use them.

"Only 7 percent of our customers who reserve sites for 14 days stay that entire time," said OPRD Recreation Programs Manager Richard Walkoski. "As a result, many campsites have been unavailable for others to reserve until those who have overbooked cancel their excessive dates."

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission adopted an Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR 736, Division 15-0015) May 21, 2009 putting the full payment system into effect. The commission's action followed a formal rule-making process that included public hearings last April.

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