Golfing, camping fees up for increases by Fresno’s parks department. Here’s what’s proposed

Golfers and summer campers in the city of Fresno could face higher fees for recreation this year and in future years if the Fresno City Council votes Thursday to authorize annual increases.

The city’s parks and recreation department is proposing to raise green fees at its popular Riverside Golf Course, as well as the rates it charges for families and organizations to reserve and rent cabin and camp facilities at Camp Fresno, the city-operated mountain camp near Dinkey Creek in the Sierra National Forest.

The parks department and EBIT-Golf Inc., which contracts to manage and operate Riverside Golf Course, is proposing raising greens fees by $1 to $2 per round, and to adjust the fees each year starting in 2025 to keep up with inflation. The 85-year-old golf course, built along the San Joaquin River east of Highway 99, is one of two golf courses owned by the city.

No changes in fees are proposed for the other municipal golf course, Airways, near the Fresno Yosemite International Airport.

Under the department’s proposal, weekday green fees would rise from the current $32 per 18-hole round to $33, and go from $28 up to $29 for afternoon play. On weekends and holidays, the rate would increase from the current $42 per round to $44, or from $30 to $31 for afternoon tee times.

For seniors age 62 and older, the green fee would go from the current $22 per round to $23.. Rounds for tournament events would rise to $44, up from $43.

The resolution up for a vote on Thursday would authorize the city’s staff to update green fees at Riverside each year, as long as any increases don’t exceed the annual change in the Consumer Price Index. That authority would extend through the life of the current EBIT operations contract through 2029.

Camp Fresno, which the city has operated under a lease from the U.S. Forest Service since 1926, has more than 60 cabins that can be reserved and rented by the public on a daily or weekly basis. Camp Fresno Jr., a separate facility for groups or organizations to rent, has housing for up to 90 campers among two dormitories and three cabins along with a dining hall and kitchen, also available by the night or by the week.

The parks department is asking the council for approval to raise its family camp rates for both residents of the city of Fresno as well as for non-residents by $2 to $3 per night or by $9 to $17 per week.

For Camp Fresno Jr., the rates for groups would increase by $14 or $16 per night, or $72 to $86 per week, depending on whether it is for groups based in or outside the city of Fresno.

“Many years of below-market rental rates have not generated sufficient revenue to adequately fund the maintenance of the camp infrastructure,” assistant parks director Edward Chinevere and division manager Jennifer Soliz wrote in a staff report to the council. “General Fund dollars have been periodically used to fund capital improvement projects which otherwise would not have been funded.”

Chinevere and Soliz reported that the most recent five-year authorization from the council for annual fee increases expired three years ago, in January 2021, and “there is no current annual CPI increase for Camp Fresno and Camp Fresno Jr. rental rates.”

A sign marks the entrance to Riverside Golf Course, a municipal golf course owned by the city of Fresno along the San Joaquin River.
A sign marks the entrance to Riverside Golf Course, a municipal golf course owned by the city of Fresno along the San Joaquin River.
A sign welcomes visitors to Camp Fresno near Dinkey Creek in the Sierra National Forest on Monday, May 6, 2019. The city of Fresno, which operates the camp under a lease from the National Forest Service, is proposing to raise fees to provide more regular maintenance of camp facilities.
A sign welcomes visitors to Camp Fresno near Dinkey Creek in the Sierra National Forest on Monday, May 6, 2019. The city of Fresno, which operates the camp under a lease from the National Forest Service, is proposing to raise fees to provide more regular maintenance of camp facilities.