COLORADO SPRINGS — If you do not already have a Colorado campsite reserved for Memorial Day Weekend, finding one is going to be tough. "We've had more people booking and more people booking further out," said Travis Duncan with Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
During 2020, the year of COVID-19, camping numbers at Colorado State Parks surged to 19 million compared to 15 million the previous year. "Huge increase and already this year we're up from last year," said DuncanWith on-line booking, a lot of campers make reservations six months in advance. It can be a frustration for those who operate more spontaneously.
Weekends, especially at the state parks closest to Colorado’s Front Range are typically fully booked months before the summer travel season starts. "If you can swing it for your schedule, we're really encouraging you to maybe look at a weekday to try and get in at one of those parks," said Duncan. State parks at more remote locations may have at least some options to consider.
The Colorado State Park reservation system did get updated in 2020 with changes that can benefit last minute campers. "It has become more flexible,” said Duncan. If someone is a no-show or cancels others can fill those spots on-line or through an app.
There is also a reservation boom at Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services. Only this started just weeks ago. “Our phones are ringing, reservations are coming in quickly,” said Special Events Supervisor, Carly Kobasiar. It is people wanting pavilions and places for events.
A year ago COVID-19 regulations limited group gatherings. It resulted in a lot less reservations at Colorado Springs Parks amenities.
As May 2021 arrived most COVID-19 group gathering restrictions lifted. "As soon as the restrictions started to ease up and as the mask mandate went away people definitely started making their reservations and calling in,” said Kobasiar, “I think people were just excited and waiting and they're ready to get out there." Now approaching the end of May, she says 50% of pavilion capacity is booked and requests keep coming.