State Parks seeing bigger crowds and revenue
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -
Colorado Parks and Wildlife says annual and day passes have been in high demand at state parks the past few months. With some businesses closed or partially open, Highline Lake has stayed busy.
Park staff say revenue from May to June is up 46% compared to the same time period last year.
“There are a lot of people that bring their families here just to get away. If you walk through the parking lot, you’ll see Utah, Florida, and Texas license plates,” said Camp Host, Bernie Conrad.
CPW says from January to June this year, annual park pass sales went up by more than 26,000 since 2019, and daily passes are up by 167,000 across the state.
“Upwards of about 30 percent of sales statewide for annual passes,” said department spokesperson, Randy Hampton.
From July of 2019 to June 2020, officials at Highline say the park has seen about $100,000 more in revenue compared to the 2018-2019 year. But with the influx of park visitors, there are some issues.
“A boat might have to wait for someone to come off the lake, so another can go on the lake,” Hampton said.
And there are times when they just have to close the gate to the park altogether.
“We have to stop cars, get people to wait until another person comes out because the parking spaces are full,” Hampton said.
The state parks are self-funded, and they get their funding from the fees they charge, and some from the Colorado lottery, but they’ve had to spend some of that just to keep up.
“Capacity is crazy, and we’ve had to hire more people for some of those temporary park positions just to help with the crowds,” Hampton said.
Rangers say they’re considering putting in a reservation system for daily passes if the large crowds continue.
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