How to pay for state park tickets with credit card
A new way to pay to visit a state park is under development, but it could put a strain on the state’s budget.
A new credit card application to purchase tickets at Harriman State Park in Harrimans home state of Oregon would likely be used by residents to buy tickets for other state parks, including one in northern Utah.
If it becomes a reality, the new system would be one of the first to go live, according to Jeff Mazzola, a spokesman for the state Department of Revenue.
The department is working on a more secure way to buy state park permits.
State parks have been plagued by fraud since the 1980s.
In 2015, more than half of all tickets purchased at Harrisons entrance were fraudulent, according the Oregonian.
But for now, park ticket sales are relatively limited.
The Oregonian reported last month that more than 40,000 tickets had been issued to nonresidents in the last three years.
In Utah, more tickets were issued to visitors from 2015 through 2018, but only a fraction of the money spent there went toward paying park fees.
That’s because the Utah Division of Tourism, Recreation and Parks said it has no authority to issue tickets to visitors.
The Utah Department of Conservation and Recreation oversees the parks.
Mazzola said the state is not looking to get into the business of issuing tickets.
The revenue department is responsible for issuing permits, and any changes in the department’s licensing authority would be in the hands of the state Legislature, he said.
“We’re not interested in having this as a revenue source,” he said, referring to the revenue department.
The state Department for Tourism and Recreation has been trying to make the state park system more user-friendly, and it has worked with other states to add kiosks at visitor centers.
Mays Park, for example, has a kiosk at the entrance that allows visitors to purchase a ticket for up to $10.
That kiosk will be available at most visitor centers beginning this fall.
The kiosk is expected to be operational by the end of 2021.
The new system, though, will not allow visitors to pay in person at visitor facilities, according and an Oregon State Parks website.
The bureau has been testing a system that allows park visitors to print a valid form of payment for state permits and park tickets, Mazzetta said.
In the next two years, the bureau will launch a new payment system for those who have paid by credit card.
Mills said the bureau has tested similar programs for other parks.
He said the new payment program is still in the early stages, but that it could be available by 2021.
A state parks permit is the most valuable piece of personal property in Oregon, Mays said.
The state parks can’t be sold, but people can rent or buy the park, which has its own roads, trails and public restrooms.
The permit allows park residents to enter and exit the park.
Moses Lake State Park, in Bend, is the state home to the tallest waterfalls in the world.
But the state parks also have several smaller parks in other states that have also fallen to the water, including Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Glacier National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
In recent years, park visitors have been asking for new forms of payment to pay the fees.
Last month, a group of Oregonians wrote to state legislators asking for a change in how the state issues permits, but the letters did not get a response.
The Oregon Department of Recreation said it would consider the Oregon Parks and Recreation request.
The agency declined to say when it would make a decision on issuing the new ticket system.
Oregon officials also are looking into a pilot program to allow residents to rent state parks for the same fee as residents pay for tickets at visitor center.
Mays is not aware of the pilot program, but said the department is interested in exploring it.