An American flag flapped in the breeze as Melinda and Jerry Mellegaard made the rounds, rolling from campsite to campsite in their little white cart Friday afternoon.
The couple, originally from South Dakota, just started their second season working as hosts at the Heaton Bay Campground, an outdoor retreat nestled in between Frisco and Dillon near the reservoir.
“We love traveling and meeting people, so we figured it would be an interesting and fun thing to do,” said Melinda Mellegaard.
The friendly pair said they enjoy each other’s company as they complete the many tasks that go with being a campground host.
“We also enjoy meeting different kinds of people from all over the world,” she said.
The Mellegaards were prepped and ready for the busy holiday weekend. They’ve picked up loose tree limbs, tidied up facilities and readied fire pits in preparation for an influx of early season campers.
Locals don’t have to travel far; they can take in the sights and sounds in their own backyard
Dillon Ranger District follows the boundaries of Summit County, and offers almost two dozen campgrounds to choose from. Most dot the edges of the Dillon and Green Mountain reservoirs. Blue River Campground, north of Silverthorne, is another popular local destination.
Kate Hanson, a visitor information specialist with the Dillon Ranger District, said she’s heard from many people who were interested in camping over Memorial Day Weekend.
“It’s the first chance to celebrate summer and a good time to try out those new tents and campers,” she said.
Site fees for campgrounds in the Dillon Ranger District vary from $13 to $19 per night. All of the campgrounds are open and ready, but Hanson warned all visitors need to bring their own water.
Rob Prentice traveled with his buddies from Boulder to embark on his first camping trip of the season in the Dillon Ranger District this weekend.
“There are just so many different options in the area,” Prentice said. “You can climb the 14ers, have a nice dinner at a restaurant, enjoy the lake — all sorts of different options,” he said.
The outdoor enthusiast had a bike ride, hike and mountain climb planned for the weekend, accompanied by evening cookouts and campfires.
“It’s nice just to be out of the city and enjoy the peacefulness of nature, and have a little bit of downtime,” he said.
Prentice got one of the few remaining first-come, first-served sites at the campground on Dillon Reservoir on Friday.
Hanson reminds campers to abide by safety and etiquette guidelines this weekend. Dogs need to be leashed. Fires are allowed only in pits. Food should be stored in bear-proof containers or in vehicle trunks — not in tents. Also, campers should ensure their site is clean and tidy before they leave. But most of all, she said, “Have fun.”