Crowds expected to camp this summer
SUMMIT COUNTY – At the Tiger Run RV Resort north of Breckenridge, RV site reservations for the Fourth of July typically don’t sell out until the end of this month. The chalet sites usually sell out for Independence Day in April.
This year, however, the RV sites sold out in March, and the chalet sites sold out in February.
By all indications, camping will be booming this summer.
“We’re expecting a busy summer,” said Tiger Run administrative assistant Brooke Froelich. “It should be really good. More people will be camping. Gas prices could affect it, but propane is still about the same price it was. I think more people will be willing to go camping than rent something.”
Last year, camping and its associated industries suffered in the High Country. Drought reduced reservoir, lake and river levels, diminishing the attraction of mountain destinations. The drought, in turn, resulted in fire restrictions, which meant no roasting marshmallows and wieners. Numerous wildfires also held Front Rangers hostage.
Now, water levels are on the rise. No fire restrictions have been enacted as of yet. And tight economic conditions are also expected to contribute to vacationers’ choice to camp.
No surprise, the phone calls to campgrounds and U.S. Forest Service offices are pouring in.
“We’ve been getting a lot of calls this week and last – people wanting to make reservations and see what’s open,” said Pete Edwards with the U.S. Forest Service’s Dillon Ranger District Office.
Edwards helped set up a new Web site, independent of the Forest Service, to help visitors obtain information about camping and other activities. The site,
http://www.dillonrangerdistrict.com, debuted a month ago and includes pictures of trails and campsites and other valuable vacation information.
At the Heaton Bay Campground on Lake Dillon, camp host James Burnett has been preparing for Memorial Day weekend visitors by clearing fallen trees from campsites, getting restrooms clean and making sure fire pits are in working order. Burnett, whose permanent residence is in Texas, said the campground will be crowded this weekend.
“Not having a fire ban helps,” Burnett said. “And even though the water doesn’t come up as close to the campground as it used to, it’s coming up. People like this campground.”
Nationally, AAA expects 35 million Americans to travel 50 miles or more over the holiday weekend. According to AAA Colorado spokeswoman Mary Greer, nearly half of those travelers will visit rural areas, lakes, mountains and parks. In addition, 12 percent will camp in some fashion and 27 percent will stay with friends.
“It’s a combination of things,” Greer said. “People are balancing their need to be with friends and family and travel, but they’re staying in their comfort zone, and people are looking closely at their travel budgets.”
Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 237, or email@example.com.
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