KINGS BEACH, Calif. — Drivers pulling into the Kings Beach State Recreation Area and North Tahoe Regional Park this year will still pay parking fees — but at a new cost.
Instead of charging non-North Tahoe Public Utility District residents $3 to park at those venues during the offseason, they will pay $5. District residents with a vehicle sticker still can enter for free.
“The $3 fee was set in the ‘80s, and our maintenance costs have gone up significantly since then,” said Tracey Towner, NTPUD park and facilities manager. “The $5 fee doesn’t even begin to cover it, but it’s a modest enough increase that people seem to be OK (with it).”
Monte Webb, owner of Jason’s Beachside Grille in Kings Beach, located next to the recreation area, said he understands the reason for the increase.
“The lower the better, but they need to maintain the park,” he said.
The new rate took effect Jan. 14, after PUD board approval.
On select days, a parking attendant at the entrances of both areas will enforce fees, continuing an effort that began in November 2013 after the honor system proved ineffective.
“They were supposed to be paying all along,” Towner said. “They just weren’t, and now they are.”
The PUD collected nearly $2,500 in November, nearly $4,000 in December and $3,159 as of Jan. 20 in fees, generating a profit after attendants were paid.
“Anytime you generate a little more revenue to offset some of the maintenance costs, it’s very useful because it gives everybody something hopeful,” Towner said.
Recently, the roof of a restroom at the regional park was replaced using the fees, she said.
More maintenance work is needed at both venues. Since the Kings Beach park is a state-owned site, funds raised there will be invested there.
“The fact is it’s still the PUD’s job to look out for these amenities,” Towner said.