If you’ve driven on Mary’s Lake Road in Estes Park lately, you have probably noticed lots of activity at the Mary’s Lake Campground managed by the Estes Valley Recreation and Park District (EVRPD). The site is teeming with workmen and heavy equipment.
“Basically we are removing old water and electric and putting in brand new lines in a section of the campgrounds,” said Zenda Smith, Campgrounds Manager for the EVRPD. “We are adding some utilities to sites that did not have them because we are seeing a need for that with more and more people getting into camping.”
Outdoor recreation got a huge boost during the height of the COVID pandemic when travelers were looking for safe ways to get away from it all and stay safe.
The cost of the improvements is about $375,000.
Mary’s Lake Campground has 121 total camp sites. This project includes replacement utilities at 18 sites. Six sites that previously did not have any utilities getting water and electric.
The project is scheduled to wrap up in early May in time for the opening of the season the Friday of Memorial Day Weekend. This year’s season at the campground runs from May 27 until Sept. 18. Reservations can be made at www.ReserveAmerica.com.
“The campgrounds are full almost every night during the peak months of June, July and August,” Smith said. “Occupancy has increase 15% since 2015 when EVRPD began active management. 2021 occupancy of both Mary’s Lake Campground and East Portal Campground was 78%. That means last year we served 21,500 guests.”
Smith said the work at Mary’s Lake Campground is aimed at improving the guest experience. EVRPD has added almost 200 bear proof food storage lockers, redeveloped the playgrounds, added picnic table shelters and replaced tent pads.
“We’re seeing a lot of new people camping, and that’s just going to continue I think,” Smith commented. “We’re seeing a huge increase in people trying outdoor recreation. Even the marina’s numbers have increased. Camping is like the Amazing Race. You have to be a good planner if you want to camp in Estes Park now. The days of rolling in and getting a walk-in site are unusual.”
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