Camping permit fees are increasing for the first time in seven years, to help cover escalating operating costs at Nova Scotia’s provincial parks. During the 2007 season, thousands of visitors to the province’s parks experienced some of Nova Scotia’s greatest assets. But current fees are not covering costs. Modest increases are necessary to maintain existing park facilities and to continue to provide a quality camping experience. To reduce the impact on campers, fee increases will be phased in over three years. In 2008, the basic campsite fee will increase from $14.96 to $16. A semi-serviced campsite, which includes a central washroom, will increase from $19.22 to $21. A site with water and electricity will increase from $27.85 to $29. By 2010, the costs will be $18 for basic, $24 for semi-serviced and $32 for water and electricity. All fees include tax. Park operations are continually reviewed and revised to become the most cost effective. However, park infrastructure is aging and needs more attention each year. The cost of materials and services to maintain and manage the parks are rising. Beginning in 2008, the province will also begin to recover a portion of the cost of the new reservation system. Last year, campers were able to reserve specific campsites at their favourite campground by phone or online. This service was provided and funded by the department at no cost to campers during the trial year to ensure it was working properly and would be a benefit to users. The service was a success, generating 100 per cent more reservations. In order to continue providing this popular tool, a fee will be introduced to recoup some of the cost. Reservation fees in 2008 will be $6, with a $4 cancellation fee. By 2010, the reservation fee will be $9 and the cancellation fee $7. At Cape Chignecto Provincial Park, improved facilities will also require entry fee increases. The park is operated by a community agency and is one of the province’s rare gems, providing back-country camping in a coastal setting. The park’s phase two development, which introduces a day-use area, a new interpretive centre and other expanded opportunities for park users, will open for the 2008 season. For more information on Nova Scotia Provincial Parks, check online at http://parks.gov.ns.ca/ .