State wants parks money up front

People who make reservations to stay in Oregon's state parks will have to pay for them in advance beginning Saturday.

Instead of a first night's deposit to go with the $6 reservation fee, Reservations Northwest will collect payment for every night a campsite is rented, said Richard Walkoski, recreation programs manager for the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

The new rule is intended to counteract overbooking tactics that have given some customers unfair advantages over those who reserve sites for only the dates they intend to use them, he said in a news release this week.

"Only 7 percent of our customers who reserve sites for 14 days stay that entire time," said Walkoski. "As a result, many campsites have been unavailable for others to reserve until those who have overbooked cancel their excessive dates."

Existing reservations will not be affected by the new system, so long as they are set for a date before April 30, 2010. However, customers already holding reservations of more than five nights who wish to shorten the time will have to pay a fee to do so.

— Morgan Carne

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