State ‘price-gouging’ out-of-state campers
Fees are doubling for visitors from other states
THE COVID-19 CANCELLATION of all campground reservations at Massachusetts state parks and then the restart of the season July 1 isn’t sitting well with out-of-state visitors who had been planning vacations to Massachusetts for a long time.
The state canceled all existing reservations for the entire summer on June 4 and announced that reservations for a smaller number of campsites could be made today for dates beginning on July 1. For out-of-state visitors, who made their original reservations months ago, the state’s approach is not only jeopardizing their vacations but costing them twice as much.
Gillian Gordon Hay of Brooklyn, Connecticut, months ago booked a campsite at Nickerson State Park in Brewster for two weeks at the start of August. That reservation is now canceled, and she will have to compete for fewer sites on fewer dates when the state’s reservation website opens for business at 9 a.m.
The cost will also be much higher. For Massachusetts residents, the cost of a campsite at Nickerson, the state’s most popular park, will remain $22 a night. For people from outside Massachusetts, the cost is going from $40 ($35 a night plus a $5-a-night surcharge on out-of-state visitors) to $75 a night ($70 a night plus the $5-a-night surcharge). The higher out-of-state prices will remain in effect for three months.
She said the majority of license plates in the park are from out-of-state visitors who are spending thousands of tourist dollars in Massachusetts. “In a year when small business are struggling, this seems very unwise,“ she wrote.Under Gov. Charlie Baker’s reopening plan, the state campgrounds could have opened earlier, but only for those with self-contained recreational vehicles or those staying in cabins and yurts. But the Department of Conservation and Recreation chose not to open at all. When campgrounds do reopen on July 1, many sites will be shut down to promote more social distancing and the state decided not to accept reservations for Yurts and cabins, despite its own guidance.
Seven campgrounds, including Beartown State Forest, Boston Harbor Islands State Park, Federated Women’s Club State Forest, Mt. Greylock State Reservation, Mt. Washington State forest, Waquoit Bay/Washburn Island, and Willard Brook State Forest, will not open at all. Campsites at Safari Field at Scusset Beach as well as all picnic areas and pavilions will be closed.