Hot Sulphur plans to implement overnight camping fees at Pioneer Park |

Hot Sulphur plans to implement overnight camping fees at Pioneer Park

Hot Sulphur Springs officials decided to move forward with plans to charge a fee for overnight campers at Pioneer Park.

The fee stems from a meeting in mid-September when the Hot Sulphur Springs Board of Trustees  discussed ongoing issues such as nude campers and violent assaults in the park, which is located along the banks of the Colorado River in the shadow of Mount Bross.

Pioneer Park is one of the few developed camping locations in north central Colorado that does not charge a nightly camping fee. It is owned by the town of Hot Sulphur Springs and managed as a State Wildlife Area by Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

A popular destination for campers, anglers and day recreators, the park sees a significant number of campers during summer months. Pioneer Park features 14 different campsites, all of which have historically been free for public use.

September’s public meeting focused on a range of incidents related to the park with citizens recounting examples of naked campers, discarded litter and human waste and transient assaults among other issues. The town board, as well as numerous citizens, expressed their belief that the issues stemmed from transients who often live in the park during summer months. The board discussed implementing an overnight camping fee for the park to address those concerns.

Town Trustee Dan Nolan confirmed Monday afternoon that Great Outdoors Colorado, more commonly known as GOCO, approved the town moving ahead with the implementation of an overnight camping fee in the park. Over the years, Hot Sulphur Springs has received significant funding resources from GOCO for improvements and upgrades on the property, so officials desired to get their input on creating a fee.

Nolan said he had not yet heard back from officials at Colorado Parks and Wildlife regarding that state agency’s position on an overnight camping fee.

The town hopes to erect a fee pay station this year with the new fee going into effect next spring, once the park is reopened to campers, Nolan said. The town is still reviewing the fee structures of comparable campsites around the state and, according to Nolan, would determine an exact fee structure before the start of the 2019 camping season.

The new fee will exclusively be applied to overnight campers. No other activities at the park will require the payment of a daily usage fee.

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