South Platte Ranger District pioneers designated dispersed camping

Release Date: Sep 18, 2020

Contact(s): South Platte Ranger District, Crystal Young

Parking and camping signs that designate disbursed camping sites.

Conifer, Colo., September 18, 2020 – For the 2021 summer recreation season, visitors to the Pike and San Isabel National Forests Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands South Platte Ranger District will need to keep an eye out for signs designating dispersed camping and parking sites across the district, part of a Forest Service pilot program designed to help manage the increased use of dispersed recreation locations.

The designations are intended to improve resource conditions and reduce conflicts among visitors and private property owners with growing concerns about illegal and abandoned campfires, human waste, and recreational shooting.

“Dispersed camping has steadily increased in popularity across the Front Range as people look for dispersed camping opportunities closer to popular recreation areas.” said Brian Banks, South Platte district ranger. “That growth in use is unsustainable without a plan to protect the natural resources. The designated sites are in more durable locations away from sensitive resources like riparian areas, heritage sites, developed sites, and private lands.”

Designated sites have signs posted with site numbers indicating parking and camping areas. In May 2021, it is projected that designated dispersed sites within the South Platte Ranger District boundary in the North Rampart Range area, including Rampart Range Road (FSR 300), Jackson Creek Road (FSR 502), Longhollow (FSR 348) and Dakan Road (FSR 507),  will be transitioned to management by Rocky Mountain Recreation Company and will be charged a nominal fee for overnight use that will allow for reinvestment in improving infrastructure and maintenance of popular trails and other recreational resources. The fee system for these sites is still under development. 

The South Platte Ranger District received a grant from the Great Outdoors Fund to install ADA compliant fire rings at these sites that will help decrease fire risk. Once transitioned, the managed sites will be considered developed, allowing camp fires in the rings during stage 1 fire restrictions. A select number of sites will be available for on-line reservation and several group sites will be designated and available for reservation. Most sites on the rest of the district will continue to be managed on a first come, first served basis.

For more information please contact the South Platte Ranger District at 303-275-5610.




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