The cover of the Comprehensive guide to Washington State Parks proclaims, “adventures for a lifetime”. However, to have an RVing adventure in a Washington State Park, you have to first secure a campsite. With the continued funding crisis of the state park system, changes to the rates and reservation systems were bound to come.
Following is an email my wife and I recently received from Washington State Parks.
“Dear State Parks Visitor:
We are writing visitors who stayed overnight in a state park during the last two years. We hope you enjoyed your visit, whether you were camping, or staying in a cabin, yurt or vacation house. Reservations will open August 15, 2013 for the 2014 season, and we want to let you know about some changes we are making in our pricing and reservation policies:
> Camping pricing structure changes will give campers additional options. All campsites, including utility or standard sites, will have one of the following designations: Popular, basic, or economy. Pricing is based on use trends and is being implemented to encourage more use of our campgrounds. Some campsite prices will go up from 2013 rates and others will go down. The public will have opportunities to save by booking economy sites or reserving for weekdays and off-peak season times.
> Pricing for cabins, yurts, and vacation houses has also been revised for 2014. Bargains are available for those who stay on weekdays in early spring and fall and anytime in the winter.
> We are responding to concerns from the public by modifying our reservation cancellation and change policies. New rules will include higher penalties for campers who reserve and hold campsites for long periods of time and cancel at the last minute. In the past, this practice has resulted in lost opportunities for other campers who wanted to reserve a site but couldn’t get one.
With the decrease in tax support to operate the park system, State Parks must adopt more businesslike practices in order to sustain services and keep them available to the public. We believe the new way of operating, with variable rates and more stringent cancellation policies, will be familiar to many customers, since these types of approaches are standard practice in the hospitality industry. Find out more at http://www.parks.wa.gov/whatsnew/.
We thank you for your support and look forward to seeing you again soon in your Washington state parks.
Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission”
Hopefully, alerting readers of this blog to the changes will prevent you from having an unpleasant adventure in RVing with Washington State Parks. As for my wife and I, we will book early to assure continued positive RV adventures in the state parks of Washington.