LOVELAND, Colo. – The Larimer County Board of County Commissioners recently approved adjustments to fees for County-managed parks and open spaces. The new fees will go into effect Jan. 1, 2019.

Fees have been raised for daily permits, annual permits and camping to ensure Larimer County Natural Resources remains financially sustainable in the face of increasing visitation.

"We've seen more and more people visit our parks and open spaces over the last several years," said Ken Brink Jr., interim director of the department, "and this increased visitation has really stretched our resources. Our nights of reserved camping doubled in the last five years and our trailheads are often at capacity. These levels of use require more intensive management, plus costs for staffing, construction, vehicles and other areas have all gone up."

The department relies primarily on user fees and targeted sales tax revenues to operate. To avoid projected budget shortfalls, additional funds from user fees are needed to pay for facility improvements and to maintain the current levels of service at Larimer County-managed parks and open spaces. All fees collected are used to operate and maintain Larimer County's parks and open spaces.

"We've heard from our visitors that our trails, facilities and staff are top-notch," Brink said, "and we want to continue that high level of customer service for our visitors."

Earlier in 2018, the department hired a consultant to conduct a fee study for the County's parks and open spaces. Entrance fees have not changed in more than 10 years for reservoir parks and 20 years for open spaces. After gathering feedback from the public and receiving recommendations from its citizen advisory boards, the department presented an adjusted fee schedule to the County Commissioners. On Dec. 20, the Commissioners approved an adjusted fee schedule. They did not implement a new fee for the Devil's Backbone Trailhead, located off U.S. 34 west of Loveland. People can continue to access Devil's Backbone Open Space from the trailhead without a daily or annual entrance permit.

Permit Prices

Starting Jan. 1, 2019, daily permits will cost $9 for all Larimer County-managed parks and open spaces where a fee is required, up from $7 on reservoir parks and $6 on open spaces.

Prices for most annual entrance permits, which are good for 12 months, will increase. A Resident Vehicle annual permit will now cost $90, up from $75. A Resident Vehicle and Boat combination annual permit will now cost $180, up from $150.

In addition, two new annual entrance permits will be offered starting March 1, 2019. A Bison Pass for low-income residents will be available for $45, and an annual permit for local veterans will be $65.

"We're proud to offer these two new annual permits, which are important safety nets for those who might otherwise not be able to afford to visit our properties where a fee is required," Brink said. "We also continue to offer many open spaces with spectacular trails and facilities at no charge."

Camping Prices

Starting on Jan. 1, 2019, prices will go up for all types of camping, including tent sites, RV sites, cabins and tipis. In addition, a new differential pricing model will be adopted, where prices will be higher during peak visitation periods. Camping prices will cost more on weekends and holidays.

"Differential pricing is something we explored when developing our updated Parks Master Plan and it was ultimately recommended in that plan," Brink said. "It's a fairly common practice in the recreation industry, used to offset higher operating costs when campgrounds reach capacity. It may also disperse some campers and impacts to campgrounds to less busy days of the week."

A non-electric site at a reservoir park will now cost $20 a night on weekdays, $26 a night on weekends and $30 a night on holidays during the peak season (April through September) and $20 a night any day of the week during the off season (October through March), up from $15 for any night year-round.

View the full adjusted fee schedule.

For more information, please contact Brink at (970) 619-4555 or kbrink@larimer.org.

Published on: 
Friday, December 28, 2018 - 12:58pm
Contact Details:

Ken Brink Jr., Natural Resources Interim Director, (970) 619-4555, kbrink@larimer.org 

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