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Campground Reservations Causing State to Lose Money

(Hasty, CO) -- As you're cleaning out the camper, packing the tent and making plans for the weekend of the fourth, you might want to remember one more thing....your reservation for the spot.

Reservations have been required to secure a spot to camp in Colorado since January 1, 2020. However, now they're coming under scrutiny as an audit found that the state lost up to 2.8 million dollars due to the system.

In the audit, presented to the legislative audit committee in Denver, the main concern was that the Colorado Parks and Wildlife was not managing the campsite reservations that maximized use of the parks for the general public or the money that could be coming up from campground use.

Some of the findings from the auditors revealed that across the state, 36 percent of the campsites studied were closed for at least a night from January of 2021 through September 7th of 2021. The audit staff stated they couldn't verify that all closures were legitimately closed. The closed sites, according to the report, could've brought up nearly two million dollars in extra state revenue.

Also during the same time frame it was discovered that 32 parks charged less than the fee given and the reasons for the rate reductions were not documented.

Another point made was for cancelled reservations and refunds that totaled roughly $12,500.

The audit report states:

In addition, we could not determine whether CPW refunded the appropriate amount for another 853 reservations, or more than $21,100 worth of refunds; for these reservations, either CPW staff did not enter any notes into the database field where staff are supposed to document the reason for a refund, or the notes were too vague to determine if the cancellations were eligible for a refund

The final finding from the auditors stated that while the CPW did collect $14.7 million dollars, they missed out on 2.8 million due to the factors discovered and mentioned above.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife agreed to the findings and submitted a plan on addressing them.

The legislative audit of the campground reservation system can be read in its entirety at this link.

If you'd to listen to the legislative audit committee discuss this agenda item, you can access the audio here along with an agenda and handouts from the committee meeting.


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