Colorado State Parks Could Begin Requiring Reservations Like RMNP
When Rocky Mountain National Park announced earlier this year that they'd be once again implementing a reservation system for all park-goers beginning in May 2022, hundreds of people sounded off with their thoughts about the controversial decision.
Now, it seems as though Colorado state parks could be following suit.
Due to increased traffic levels, and in an effort to better ensure a quality experience for all park goers, some state park officials are considering imposing the same type of reservation systems that national parks like Rocky Mountain National Park have posed.
According to a Mar. 16 press release from Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW), Eldorado Canyon State Park has proposed a timed entry reservation system to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission to address congregation and traffic concerns on weekends and summer holidays.
How Would Eldorado Canyon State Park's Reservation System Work?
Under the proposed reservation system, Eldorado Canyon State Park, which is located about an hour southwest of Fort Collins would require entry reservations for vehicle access only on weekends and holidays.
Here is a full overview of the park's proposed reservation system, via CPW:
A reservation would be required for each vehicle entering the park from 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and state holidays from May 15 through Sept. 15.
There will be 75-80 percent maximum capacity for reservations issued.
Twenty (20) percent of reservations will be held and available to purchase the day prior at 3 p.m. through the Aspira reservation system.
Reservations will be released in two hour entry windows.
A maximum of four timed-entry reservations may be purchased in a 30-day period per person.
Entry to the park will be allowed without a reservation for those utilizing the shuttle bus or on bicycle. A valid Colorado state parks pass will be required for those 16 and over who enter the park via shuttle or bicycle.
Individuals looking to walk into the park on weekends and holidays are encouraged to access the park by utilizing the free shuttle service.
As per the press release via CPW, the park's reservation proposal will be reviewed for final consideration for implementing this pilot program during the CPW's next Commission meeting, which is set to take place over the course of two days, Wednesday, May 4- Thursday, May 5.
Should the pilot program be approved by CPW and state officials, reservations could begin as early as August 2022.
“Our hope is the reservation system will reduce impacts to the community of Eldorado Springs, protect natural resources and maintain a safe, quality recreational experience for years to come,” said Park Manager John Carson, according to the Mar. 16 press release.
“The proposed system will help visitors plan for their visit while managing their expectations of entry into the park.”
Eldorado Canyon State Park Visitors By The Numbers
According to Colorado Parks & Wildlife, visitation at Eldorado Canyon State Park has increased 118 percent since 2013, when the park welcomed 247,068 visitors compared to the 539,525 in 2021.
“That increase is compounded due to recent pandemic restrictions, changes in current weather patterns, increased population growth, and the increase in popularity of outdoor recreation in Colorado,” Carson said. “It is not expected to drop off.”
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