From the Sonoma County Regional Parks:

New electronic pay stations that accept Visa, MasterCard and Discover Card have been installed at Crane Creek, Helen Putnam, Maxwell Farms, Sonoma Valley, Riverfront and Sunset Beach regional parks. Electronic pay stations also are coming online this month at Spring Lake, Ragle Ranch, Steelhead, Healdsburg Veterans Memorial Beach, Gualala Point, and Westside regional parks.

The units are replacing older self-pay stations that require visitors to place cash in envelopes and drop them into collection boxes. By providing more convenient payment options, the new equipment is expected to increase compliance with parking rules and reduce the staff time spent collecting and counting cash.

In addition to credit and debit cards, the parking machines also take $1 and $5 bills. The pay stations produce a receipt for drivers to place on their dashboards, and the receipt is valid at any Regional Park on the day of purchase. The machines cannot process larger denominations or coins and cannot make change.

In August, Regional Parks contracted with VenTek International of Petaluma to buy and install the pay stations. Future pay stations are planned for Foothill, Hood Mountain, Pinnacle Gulch, Shiloh Ranch, Stillwater Cove and Tolay Lake regional parks, Bird Walk Coastal Access Trail and Wohler Bridge River Access.

Day-use parking is $7 at all Regional Parks. Frequent park users are encouraged to purchase an annual Regional Parks membership. Members receive unlimited day-use parking as well as a free night of camping, family admission to the Tolay Fall Festival, and discounts at outdoor recreation retailers. Prices are $69 for regular memberships, $39 for people 60 and older, and $23 for people with permanent disabilities.  For more information, call Regional Parks at (707) 565-2041.