Presenter: Walt Dabney

Commission Agenda Item No. 14
Action
Chapter 59 Park Fee Range Adjustments
August 2003

I. Discussion: TPWD staff has proposed a number of changes to Chapter 59 intended to incorporate fee range increases and modify and edit fee language to improve clarity, readability and align it with current agency practices for setting fees within the State Parks Division.

Proposed amendments to §59.2 (1) establish a fee range for the State Park Annual Pass and restricts its use to non-commercial activities; (2) expand the availability of the Youth Group Annual Pass to all non-profit youth groups and limits use to 50 persons including a reasonable number of adult sponsors; (3) remove references to per-vehicle pricing for entrance fees (converted to per-person-priced entrance fee effective May 1, 1996); (4) proclaims the Executive Director’s authority to delegate authority to discount and waive fees under certain conditions; (5) clarifies entrance policy for persons entering parks by bicycle, boat, or on foot; (6) clarifies payment of fees by persons arriving by bus; (7) increases per-person fee range for school sponsored trips to $1-$5; (8) eliminates the historic site tour fee for students; (9) eliminates the issuing of duplicate Parklands Passports (passports are issued per person; not per vehicle as previously issued.)

Proposed amendments to §59.3 declares (1) the criterion on which State Park use fees are based; (2) establishes the circumstances under which fees may be implemented, raises, or lowered and (3) proposes a reorganization of the chapter to clarify differences between facility and activity fees and lists those individual fee ranges by type; (4) sets the upper ranges for all facility and activity use fees; and defines overnight lodging by room type, and services offered.

The proposed amendments above appear in the July 25, 2003 issue of the Texas Register. Staff will present a summary of all public comments received at the time of the commission meeting.

II. Recommendation: Staff recommends that the Commission adopt the proposed rule to implement House Bill 2685 by the following motion:

“The Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts amendments to 31 TAC §59.2 and §59.3, concerning State Parks Entrance, Facility and Activity Use Fees, with changes to the proposal as published in the July 25, 2003 issue of the Texas Register (28 TexReg 5813).”

Attachment – 1

  1. Exhibit A – Proposed Rules

Commission Agenda Item No. 14
Exhibit A

State Park Fee Ranges
Proposal Preamble

1. Introduction.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes the repeal of §59.3, concerning Activity and Facility Use Fees, an amendment to §59.2, concerning Park Entrance and Use Fees, and new §59.3, concerning Activity and Facility Use Fees. The repeal of §59.3 will allow the section to be restructured for greater clarity.

The proposed amendment to §59.2 consists of a number of changes. The amendment alters subsections (b) and (c) to increase the upper limit of the park-specific annual permit fee range from $50 to $100 and specifies that the permits may not be used for commercial activities. The amendment to subsection (d) expands the use of the Youth Group Annual Permit, making it available to all not-for-profit youth groups, removes the requirement of governmental sponsorship, and makes the permit valid at all department recreational and historic sites. The amendment also limits the admission of youth groups to 50 persons or less (including a reasonable number of adult supervisors, as determined by the park manager) and provides that the permit may be obtained at all state parks, Texas Parks and Wildlife Headquarters, and other designated offices. The amendment to current subsection (e) eliminates the per-vehicle entrance and use fee. The amendment to current subsection (f) sets the upper range for park entrance fees at $7 per person. The amendment to subsection (g) allows the executive director to delegate the authority to waive or discount entrance/day use fees. The amendment to current subsection (i) eliminates the coverage of an annual pass to the purchaser’s immediate family when persons arrive by boat, bicycle, or on foot, while increasing the number of persons allowed to accompany an annual permit holder by boat, bicycle, or on foot from three to five. The amendment to current subsection (m) eliminates the issuance of duplicate State Parklands Passports and restricts the instances in which replacement permits are issued. The amendment to current subsection (o) requires bus passengers to pay individual entrance/use fees when entering at parks that collect entrance/use fees on a per-person basis. The amendment to current subsection (p) increases the upper range of fees for school groups to $5.00 per person. The amendment eliminates current subsection (q), which allows students to be charged a student historic site tour fee. Finally, the amendment makes numerous non-substantive changes to improve clarity and readability.

New §59.3, concerning activity and facility use fees: declares the criteria on which park fees are based; establishes the circumstances under which fees may be implemented, raised, or lowered; sets the upper fee ranges for all park facility use and activity use fees; and establishes new fee ranges such that all fee ranges are by-facility rather than a mix of by-facility and by-park fees. The new section also defines facilities by number and type of beds, types of amenities, and available services.

The proposed fees are generally necessary to provide additional funding to maintain the current level of park services for the benefit of the public.

2. Fiscal Note.

Mr. Michael L. Crevier, director of business management, has determined that for each of the first five years that the rules as proposed are in effect, there will be fiscal implications to state government as a result of enforcing or administering the rules as proposed. The department establishes a fee range, consisting of an upper and lower value, for each type of facility or service (or combination thereof), which may vary from site to site. The purpose of the fee-range approach is to provide the flexibility for the department to make incremental adjustments to fee structures from time to time (within the approved ranges) for individual units of the park system in response to changing conditions over a multi-year period. The last fee range change adopted by the commission occurred in 1996. The proposed amendments authorize, but do not require, the department to implement fee increases. Not all fees will be immediately increased as a result of the amendments. Fee changes within the ranges established by rule are determined by analysis of user demographics, benefit, demand, comparability with local providers of similar facilities and/or services operated under similar conditions, and recreational industry trends. As fee increases are implemented, the department estimates that the potential increase resulting from the proposed rules will be approximately $500,000-700,000 per year for the first five years. This estimate was derived by taking the previous fiscal year’s occupancy and use numbers and multiplying by the fee increases expected to be implemented in each of the next five years. Thus, the estimate to some extent is based upon the extrapolation of historical data, which cannot take into account the specific impacts that may occur due to unpredictable variables such as unseasonable climatic conditions, economic factors, natural disasters, and other influences on visitation. Thus, the estimate is an approximate value representing the total possible revenue increase under the proposed rules.

There will be no fiscal implications for units of local governments.

3. Public Benefit – Cost Note.

Mr. Crevier also has determined that for each of the first five years the rules as proposed are in effect:

(A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the rules as proposed will be the continuation of state park services at current levels for public enjoyment and benefit.

(B) The rules as proposed might impose adverse economic effects on some small businesses or microbusinesses engaged in filmmaking; however, the use of state parks and state parks equipment is not mandatory. The department has no employment or economic data from which to project the cost for each employee, cost for each hour of labor, or cost for each $100 of sales with respect to small businesses and microbusinesses engaged in filmmaking, but the cost of compliance with the proposed fees is the same for the smallest business as it is for the largest business potentially affected by the rule. The economic effect on persons required to comply with the rules as proposed will be the cost of the fees for the use of various facilities, amenities, and services indicated in the rulemaking.

(C) The department has not drafted a local employment impact statement under the Administrative Procedures Act, §2001.022, as the agency has determined that the rules as proposed will not impact local economies.

(D) The department has determined that there will not be a taking of private real property, as defined by Government Code, Chapter 2007, as a result of the proposed rules.

4. Request for Public Comment.

Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted to Mike Crevier, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas 78744; (512) 389- or 1-800-792-1112 extension (e-mail: mike.crevier@tpwd.state.tx.us).

5. Statutory Authority.

The repeal, amendment, and new rule are proposed under Parks and Wildlife Code, §13.015, which authorizes the department to charge and collect park user fees for park services, and requires the commission to set the fees; and §13.018, which requires the commission by rule to establish eligibility requirements and privileges available to the holder of a state parklands passport.

The proposed repeal, amendment, and new rule affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 13.

§59.3. Activity and Facility Use Fees.

The amendment and new rule are proposed under Parks and Wildlife Code, *>13.015, which authorizes the department to charge and collect park user fees for park services, and requires the commission to set the fees; and §13.018, which requires the commission by rule to establish eligibility requirements and privileges available to the holder of a state parklands passport.

The proposed amendment and new rule affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 13.

§59.2. Park Entrance and Use Fees.

(a) An entrance/day use permit [entrance/use] fee will be levied at state parks. The fee will grant entry and presence privileges for a specific 24-hour period or part thereof, regardless of the number of times of entry during the valid period. At the end of each 24-hour period, the fee will become due for the succeeding 24-hour period or part thereof.

(b) An annual entrance/day use permit [$50 entrance permit and use] fee in the range of $50 - $100 may apply at certain state parks where entrance fees are prescribed [in lieu of a daily entrance fee]. The annual permit will admit [the purchaser and] all occupants of a [his] private, noncommercial vehicle, but will not apply to commercial, quasi-public, or public buses, or other such vehicles.

(c) Annual entrance permits are not valid for commercial purposes, conducted tours, [or] for fishing privileges on fishing piers, or at parks where entrance fees are not prescribed.

(d) A Youth Group Annual Entrance Permit may be purchased by youth organizations composed of individuals age 18 and under for an annual fee of $50-$300. The group must [have state or national affiliation and] be designated as [sponsored by a governmental agency or] a nonprofit organization [as defined under the Internal Revenue Code, §501]. The permit is valid for entry at all recreational parks and historic sites managed by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department [at parks with a per vehicle entrance fee and at parks with a historic site tour fee. It is nontransferable and nonrefundable]. No more than 50 persons, including a reasonable number of adult supervisors as determined by the site manager will be admitted with each permit. The number of vehicles or the number of individual persons per historic site [tour] may be limited by the park manager. An additional[Additional] permit(s) is required if the group exceeds 50 persons. Permit is valid for 12 months from date of purchase. To purchase the group permit, eligible organizations must submit an application along with the required fee to Texas Parks and Wildlife Headquarters, any state park, or other office designated by the department [the chief, park operations, or designee] for approval. The permit authorizes entry of vehicles carrying group members provided the adult sponsor presents the permit(s) at the park entrance and identifies each vehicle carrying group members.

(e) [An entrance and use fee of $2.00 to $6.00 per motorized vehicle per day will apply at parks designated by the department in lieu of an annual or parklands passport. Where variable entrance and use fees are authorized by the commission, they may be set on an individual park basis.]

[(f)] An entrance fee of $1.00 - $7.00[$.50-$5.00] will apply on a per person basis at parks designated by the department. Where variable entrance and use fees are authorized by the commission, they may be set on an individual park basis.

(f) [(g)] The executive director may, at his discretion, temporarily waive any entrance fees or conditions thereof established in this section at any park when circumstances [construction activities at the park] adversely affect public enjoyment of the recreational opportunities normally available. The executive director may discount or waive entrance fees in order to enhance utilization or promote the future use of existing facilities. The executive director may designate other department personnel to discount or waive entrance/day use fees.

(g) [(h)] No entrance fee will be charged or collected at parks unless the department deems it feasible to collect the fees.

(h) [(i)] Persons entering parks by boat, bicycle, or on foot are authorized to use a valid annual park entrance permit receipt in lieu of paying an individual entrance fee. An individual presenting a receipt must be the same person to whom the annual permit was issued [or a member of the original permit holder's immediate family]. Individuals eligible for park entry as specified herein may be accompanied by as many as five [three]other persons to enter by boat, bicycle, or on foot.

(i) [(j)] Persons whose date of birth is before September 1, 1930, and veterans of the armed services of the United States who, as a result of military service, have a service-oriented disability as defined by the Veterans Administration, consisting of the loss of the use of a lower extremity or of a 60% disability rating and who are receiving compensation from the United States government because of the disability, will be issued a state parklands passport at no cost upon application and not be required to pay an entrance fee at state parks. A resident[Residents] of this state whose birth date is after August 31, 1930, and who is also a holder and in possession of a valid state parklands passport [State Parklands Passport] shall pay 50% of the normal entrance fee rounded to the nearest higher whole dollar. Non-residents of this state whose birth date is after August 31, 1930, shall pay the normal entrance fee. State parklands passports will be issued to eligible persons at state parks and the Austin headquarters. A driver's license, birth certificate, military discharge papers, or any other suitable identification considered sufficient proof for establishing the age and identity of an individual must be presented at the time the passport is issued to persons 65 years of age and over. Disabled veterans must establish eligibility by presenting one of the following:

(1) disabled veteran's of Texas license plate receipt;

(2) veteran's award letter (which establishes the degree of service-connected disability);

(3) tax exemption letter for Texas veterans.

(j) [(k)] A holder of a state parklands passport [All motor vehicles carrying either a person] whose date of birth is before September 1, 1930[, or other eligible holders of a state parklands passport] may enter the park without payment of an entrance fee. All residents[motor vehicles carrying a resident] of this state whose date of birth is after August 31, 1930, and who are [is] also the holders [holder] and in possession of a state parklands passport may enter a park site upon payment of 50% of the normal entrance fee for that site, rounded to the nearest higher whole dollar. This passport does not exempt the holder from payment of fees for facility use or participation in certain activities [fishing privileges or tour fees] required in some [certain] units of the state park system.

(k) [(l)] An individual with a documented physical or mental impairment may be issued a parklands passport under the provisions of this section.

(1) Eligibility requirements. To be eligible to receive a parklands passport under this section, an individual with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities must:

(A) have been medically determined to be [permanently] disabled as a result of such mental or physical impairment (including blindness) for purposes of receiving benefits under the Social Security Act; and

(B) be currently receiving such benefits.

(2) Application procedure. An individual applying for a parklands passport under this subsection shall:

(A) apply in person at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Headquarters or at any park or other office designated by the department;

(B) submit positive identification and either an Award of Benefits Letter, or a Statement of Benefits, from the Social Security Administration attesting to the applicant's permanent disability;

(C) submit an affidavit or attestation in a form approved by the Department certifying that the applicant meets the requirements of paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(3) Privileges. A parklands passport used for the purposes of this subsection shall discount entry fees to State Parks for the individual pass holder for a period of one year from the date of issuance. The discount will be 50% of the established park entry fee, rounded up to the nearest whole dollar amount. The pass shall be nontransferable, but shall also authorize discounted entry for one person accompanying the pass holder, if the pass holder needs assistance while visiting the State Park. For the purposes of this subsection, "accompanying" means entering a park simultaneously with the pass holder.

(l)[(m) A duplicate state parklands passport may be issued for use on additionally owned motor vehicles.] A replacement for a state parklands passport may be issued when the original registration [or windshield sticker] is lost, stolen, or damaged[, or the motor vehicle is sold, traded, or stolen, or when the motor vehicle windshield is replaced].

(m) [(n)] Entrance fees established in subsections (b) and (d) of this section will apply to all private aircraft and noncommercial motorized vehicles, which includes all [two or more-wheeled] vehicles with two or more wheels. Commercial, quasi-public, or public buses or other vehicles do not qualify for annual pass benefits[are excluded].

(n) [(o)] Persons entering parks by bus, where entrance and use fees are charged on a per-person [per-car] basis, will be charged normal entrance/day use fees[, will be charged as follows: adults, $1.00-$3.00 each, minimum $4.00-$20; children 12 years of age and under, $.50-$1.50 each, minimum $4.00-$20].

(o) [(p)] Students, teachers, bus drivers, and children on group, school-sponsored visits to historic sites or parks for educational purposes may enter at the rate of $1.00 - $5.00 [$.50-$1.00] per person at historic sites [where a tour fee is charged] or at a park where day-use entrance and use fees are charged [on a per-vehicle basis]. The group or class must be accompanied by an adult supervisor(s). The $1.00 - $5.00 [$.50-$1.00] per person fee applies to individuals from all public or private schools, colleges, and universities offering accredited courses.

(p) [(q) Students of any age are entitled to the student historic site tour fee. Students 19 and over are required to present a current, valid student identification card.]

[(r)] Persons entering parks on foot, bicycle, or by boat where entrance and use fees are charged [on a per-car basis] will be charged standard per-person entrance/day use fees [an individual rate of $1.00-$3.00 for adults and $.50-$1.50 for children 12 years of age and under].

(q)[(s)] The valid time period for daily entrance fees will be:

(1) for day use, the time period encompassing the day-use opening and closing hours of the park on the date on which admission is paid; and

(2) for overnight use, a 24-hour period beginning at 2 p.m. on the date admission is paid unless otherwise established at sites where circumstances or conditions warrant alternative timeframes.

(r)[(t)] At the discretion of the executive director, any person or persons may be exempted from the provisions of this section if the entry of such person or persons to a park or parks is necessary or desirable in order to provide a service for the state. The executive director is authorized to issue such entrance fee waivers under certain circumstances and conditions.

(s)[(u)]The executive director is authorized to establish an entrance fee in accordance with these sections at any site hereafter established as a state park when [he deems] such action is deemed appropriate and in accord with applicable statutes.

(t)[(v)] When an annual or seasonal permit is offered for entrance in lieu of a daily fee, the executive director is authorized to establish a fee for a replacement and/or a duplicate permit.

(u)[(w)] Any fees established in this section may be waived or reduced at the discretion of the executive director or his/her designee for public use of a park during special events or exhibitions.

(v)[(x)] The executive director may designate the amount of use fee and entrance fee within the total amount provided for by this section.

§59.3. Activity and Facility Use Fees.

(a) Where variable use fees are authorized by the commission, they may be established for individual parks, activities, or facilities. Fees may also be established on a yearly, monthly, or weekly basis. The executive director is authorized to establish an annual or seasonal permit for a facility or activity in lieu of a daily fee, and may establish a replacement and/or a duplicate permit. The executive director or his/her designee may discount or waive fees in order to enhance utilization or to promote the future use of existing facilities or activities.

(b) Fee ranges—Group One:

(1) campsite—primitive—$4.00-$20;

(2) campsite—regular- $5.00-$26;

(3) campsite (with electricity)—$9.00-$26;

(4) campsite (with electricity and sewer connection)—$10-$36;

(5) screened shelter—$15-$60;

(6) shelter with amenities—$25-$75;

(7) cabins:

(A) kitchen and bath—$45-$200;

(B) limited service-$45-$100; and

(C) each additional person above capacity-$5.00-$25;

(8) recreation/meeting hall—$50-$300;

(9) group lodge:

(A) variable (by facility type)—$75-$500;

(B) variable (by number of occupants)—$15-$45;

(C) each additional person above capacity—$5.00-$25;

(10) dining hall—$65-$150;

(11) pavilion (variable by facility)—$17-$250;

(12) amphitheater—$10-$150;

(13) auditorium—$200-$650;

(14) gymnasium—$300-$850;

(15) group picnic area—$17-$200;

(16) group camps (bunkhouses, barracks, campsites, shelters), variable by type and number of facilities (units) used—$100-$1,500;

(17) hotel/motel room:

(A) single (one bed) or standard (two double beds)—$40-$95;

(B) king single (one bed)—$65-$125;

(C) suite (two double beds)—$75-$175;

(D) executive suite (two double beds)—$85-$225;

(E) additional person (adult)—$5.00-$20;

(F) additional person (child)—$2.00-$10.00; and

(G) rooms with kitchenettes—$50-$60;

(18) Bed and Breakfast rooms:

(A) single (two twin beds)—$50-$90;

(B) double (one double bed)—$50-$100;

(C) queen suite—$75-$150; and

(D) cottage—$75-200;

(19) ranch accommodations:

(A) historic ranch house—$40-$125 per person, meals available upon request; and

(B) bunkhouse (two twin beds)—$35-$75 per person, meals available upon request;

(20) excess vehicle parking (per vehicle)—$1.00-$6.00 (parking areas designated by park manager);

(21) excess occupancy fee (with facility use fee), per person—$1.00-$25;

(b) Fee ranges—Group Two:

(1) seasonal or annual activity pass— $25- $325;

(2) swimming pools use:

(A) adults—$2.00-$6.00;

(B) child (six-12)—$1.00-$4.00; and

(C) group use (before or after normal operating hours)—$35-$750;

(3) nine-hole golf course (staff operated):

(A) green fees—daily—$7.00-$15;

(i) weekends and holidays—$8.00-$25; and

(ii) 18 years of age and under (excluding weekends and holidays)—$3.00-$10; and

(B) golf trail fee for privately owned golf carts:

(i) daily—$3.00-$12.00; and

(ii) annual—$50-$175;

(4) historic steam railroad:

(A) fares:

(i) adult (one-way)—$8.00-$20;

(ii) adult (round trip)—$13-$25;

(iii) child (three-12) (one-way)—$4.00-$12.00; and

(iv) child (three-12) (round trip)—$7.00-$15;

(B) train lease for filming purposes (salaries for train crew are paid in addition to the fees listed, and a surety bond of $500,000 may be required):

(i) steam locomotive and tender (per day)—$1,500-$2,500;

(ii) diesel locomotives (per day)—$700-$1,500;

(iii) steam engine firing fuel and lubricants (per running hour)—$100-$350;

(iv) diesel locomotives fuel and lubricants (per running hour)—$50-$250;

(v) railroad car per unit (any type) (per day)—$120-$375;

(vi) rail mounted truck with driver (per day)—$280-$700;

(vii) motor car with driver (per day)—$240-$700;

(viii) short-term steam train use (after regular schedule run) three-hour minimum (per hour)—$400-$1,500;

(ix) train charter rates:

(I) 50-mile round trip (regular passenger fares) minimum—$2,500-$4,500; and

(II) 15-mile round trip (regular passenger fares) minimum—$1,650-3,750.

(5) island access fees:

(A) boat transportation fee:

(i) adults (round trip)—$10-$20; and

(ii) child (six-12) (round trip)—$5.00-$15;

(B) on island tour fee—$3.00-$18; and

(C) beach shuttle fee:

(i) adults—$2.00-$6.00; and

(ii) child (six-12)—$1.00-$4.00;

(6) state park and historic site filming fee (private, profit-oriented businesses) per day (contract and surety bond required)—$250-$10,000;

(7) activity use fee per person (day or overnight)—$2.00-$50;

(8) lake use fee—$5.00-$15;

(9) visitor shuttle fee per person—$2.00-$10;

(10) tour fee (includes educational, interpretive, instructional, adventure and/or entertaining or any combination of fees packaged into one rate) per person—$.25-$1,000;

(11) fishing pier fees—per fishing device—$1.00-$5.00;

(12) educational seminar fee—variable according to type of seminar, size of group and other applicable considerations;

(13) equipment rental fee—variable according to type of equipment and other applicable considerations;

(14) park operations fee (operating cost for special services and or resources utilized)—cost plus 20%;

(15) event fee:

(A) wedding ceremonies and receptions or other special receptions and meetings—$50-$5,000.

(B) special public activities, festivals and exhibitions when authorized and conducted—fee is variable and may be combined or packaged with other use and/or concessions fees

(16) commercial boat landing fee—$50-$1,000;

(17) fees for special events, new activities, or new facilities are authorized by the commission. These fee amounts shall be established by the executive director or a designee; and

(18) commercial use fee – variable. Fees for special activities conducted within a state park or for access to a state park for which a direct or indirect profit is the motive for conducting the activity.

This agency hereby certifies that the proposal has been reviewed by legal counsel and found to be within the agency’s authority to adopt

Issued in Austin, Texas, on


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