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Vehicle timed entry reservation pilot program gets approved for Eldorado Canyon State Park

STERLING, Colo. – The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission enacted Wednesday a pilot program for a timed entry reservation system for vehicles accessing Eldorado Canyon State Park on every Saturday, Sunday and federal or state holiday in a defined period between 2022-23.

This is the first timed entry system enacted at a Colorado state park. It was developed through a collaboration of local government partners as well as feedback from the public to help address concerns for both park users and local residents.

“We are really excited about this and it is the first state park that we have done this timed entry reservation system, sort of following up on Rocky Mountain National Park and some other parks throughout the nation,” CPW Northeast Region Manger Mark Leslie said at Wednesday’s commission meeting. “In May of last year, the Commission approved (the park’s) Visitor Use Management Plan and so we are moving forward implementing portions of that plan incrementally… This is just related to vehicles because when we’ve done surveys of that park, that seems to be what drives the frustration with the public is the number of vehicles.”

Park manager John Carson had previously said “our hope is the reservation system will reduce impacts to the community of Eldorado Springs, protect natural resources and maintain a safe, quality recreational experience for years to come. The proposed system will help visitors plan for their visit while managing their expectations of entry into the park.”

Reservations could begin as early as August running through Sept. 15 for 2022, with the exact starting date to be announced once it is determined. For 2023, reservations will be required May 15 through Sept. 15.

The entry reservations are required for vehicle access only on weekends (Saturdays and Sundays) and holidays during this period. Visitors without a vehicle reservation will still be able to access the park via the free shuttle service as long as they possess a valid Colorado state parks pass. Please visit Eldoshuttle.com for more information on the free shuttle service.

Reservation windows are from 5:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and will be accepted in a two-hour entry window. 

Day use reservations are limited to one per person, per day. Each person is limited to a maximum of four reservations per month. The individual named on the reservation must be in the motor vehicle.

Entry reservations will be allocated free of charge. A valid Colorado state parks will be required to enter along with the reservation.

Park capacity is set for 200 vehicles. Staff will designate 90 percent of those spaces for the reservation system, with visitors having the opportunity to reserve them up to one month in advance. The remaining 10 percent will be made available for reservation the day prior beginning at 3 p.m.

The proposed timed entry reservation system would be implemented and distributed at CPWshop.com using Aspira, the reservation and licensing system CPW utilizes.

Park staff will evaluate the effectiveness of the timed entry reservation system at the conclusion of the 2023 pilot season.

Eldorado Canyon State Park reaches vehicle capacity on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays starting in April and lasting through October. Visitation has increased 118 percent since 2013, when the park welcomed 247,068 visitors compared to the 539,525 in 2021.

Visitors to the park come both from the local level, as well as outside of Colorado. Around 25 percent of visitors are residents of Boulder County, 50 percent come from the Denver metropolitan area while 25 percent of visitors come from outside of Colorado and internationally. 

To learn more about Eldorado Canyon State Park and its recreational opportunities, please visit us online by clicking here.

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