Campgrounds across Colorado are fielding calls about the wildfires that have hit portions of the state, but Mary Arlington, executive director of the Colorado Campground & Lodging Owners Association (CCLOA) said there is one message being echoed across the state, “Yes! We are open.”
“These wildfires are horrific and have disrupted the lives of so many,” explained Arlington in a press release. “They’ve also put at risk the lives of all of the firefighters. Our hearts go out to the owners of Durango North/Riverside Kampgrounds of America (KOA) in Duranog, which has been under mandatory evacuation. And now the San Juan National Forest is closed.
“While all of this is intense and it’s emotionally painful to us, most campgrounds are open,” she continued. “Campground owners spent all winter preparing to provide incredible camping experiences for their 2018 guests. Sadly, all of the fire coverage has caused many of those guests to cancel their plans, most without due cause.”
As Arlington attests that virtually all of the privately owned campgrounds in Colorado are open, a Colorado Parks & Wildlife press release states, “Mancos State Park has closed portions of the facility for hiking and camping that are adjacent to the San Juan National Forest.” That means that at this time, 40 of the 41 state parks are open, according to Arlington.
Both organizations emphasis that this is an ongoing emergency, and conditions are changing, so please monitor online sites for the latest on closures.
The fire season wasn’t completely a surprise, according to Arlington. When the winter season was providing so little snow, CCLOA published two blog posts for campers about fires. One was geared toward being prepared for wildfires and one focused on campfire awareness. CCLOA also hosted a panel presentation for its members where four campground owners who had endured natural disasters in the past shared their experiences so that others could learn from them.
“We take campground ownership very seriously,” Arlington noted. “We work to be a bridge that links campground issues to solution options, even before they have an issue. We also have a large following of campers via our website and social media, so we’re also a bridge that works to link campers to campsites, even when camping plans are disrupted by wildfires.”
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