Skyrocketing Traffic Fuels Reservations Demand

Contemporary campers — from luxury motorhome travelers to spartan, tent-dwelling types — agree on one thing: make a reservation.

According to The Watch, the skyrocketing demand for developed campgrounds and additional dispersed campsites has driven an increased use of the campsite reservation system for the U.S. Forest Service, as well as Colorado state parks, such as the huge, camping-friendly Ridgway State Park at Ridgway Reservoir.

“We start making our reservations in January (for summer camping),” said Ernie Pena of Tucson, Ariz., who was camping recently at a national forest campground near Durango. “We know which sites we like at each campground. You have to start (getting campsites reserved) early. But then, you’re all set.”

The campsite reservation system, Pena said, is helpful to plan for longer stays — 14 days is the customary campground limit. With a reservation set at another campground at the end of their current stay, Pena and his wife don’t have to worry about finding their next campsite.

“We know where we’re going to be,” he said.

According to a recent Business Wire survey, 13 million more American households will go camping in 2017 compared to 2016. That means there will be 75 million camping households in the United States by the end of this year.

The Millennial numbers climbed from 34% to 38% of camping families this year.

To deal with the soaring numbers, the U.S. Forest Service initiated a campsite reservation system several years ago for some campgrounds. Colorado State Parks also instituted campsite reservations.

The telephone and online systems have now been expanded to include most national forest campgrounds that are staffed by hosts, including most sites throughout southwestern Colorado.

“I think for the volume of reservations that it accommodates, it is a very good system,” said Kirstin Copeland, a ranger at Ridgway State Park.

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