In search of more revenue to fund parks, states are looking to better leverage the license plate registration and renewal process.
As part of the 125th anniversary of Minnesota’s parks and trails, the North Star State this week announced an easier way to access—and support—those parks and recreation facilities.
Instead of paying for special stickers or decals to apply to vehicles for parks access, the Minnesota Department of Motor Vehicles is making a new parks-and-recreation-themed license plate available that will replace the need for an annual state parks permit.
The cost will start at $60, plus tax. The total includes a one-time $10 fee for the plate itself and a minimum $50 contribution (renewable annually).
. . . The plate provides their owners with unlimited access to all 75 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas for the year, replacing the need for an annual vehicle permit (a $25 value).Proceeds from license plate sales will help fund the operations and maintenance of Minnesota state parks and trails.“Generations of Minnesotans have enjoyed our extraordinary state parks and trails system,” Lt. Gov. Tina Smith said in the state’s announcement. “This new license plate allows Minnesotans to invest in the future of our parks and trails, and proudly demonstrate that commitment on their vehicles.”
The license plate design, which includes a dock on a lake, was selected in a special vote.
Many states with strained budgets have had to cut funding for state parks, which has prompted many to cut back on staffing entrance booths to collect access fees, relying increasingly on special tags that often provide universal access to state parks and recreation facilities. At the same time, states have looked to boost revenue from parks to fund maintenance and services.
The state’s main goal in switching to the recreation passport system is to raise more money for park operations and maintenance.Under the old system, entrance and camping fees paid almost the entire tab: Payments from the state’s general fund ended in 2004. That wasn’t enough for more than basic operations.Other states that have streamlined parks and recreation access with the motor vehicle registration and renewal process include Kansas (with a State Parks Passport priced at $15.50 annually for state residents) and Idaho(where a State Parks Passport is $10 annually per vehicle owned by Kansas residents).
Eleven Mile State Park - Colorado
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