Moraine Park

Forest Canyon in Moraine Park inside Rocky Mountain National Park is the birthplace of the Big Thompson River, turning snowmelt from the Continental Divide into a vital resource for the region.

The National Park Service announced on Wednesday that timed reservations will return to Rocky Mountain National Park for a third consecutive year. 

The reservation system will go into effect on May 27 and run through Oct. 10, and will give outdoor enthusiasts the option of two different passes like in previous years. 

One permit will be for the Bear Lake corridor, which includes the entire corridor, as well as access to the rest of the park between 5 a.m. and 6 p.m. The other will allow access to all of the park except for the Bear Lake corridor from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., according to a release from park officials. 

People with reservations can access the park within two hours of their slotted entrance time.

Parkgoers can purchase reservation permits beginning at 10 a.m. May 2. Those reservations will give people access to permits between May 27 through the end of June.

Additional releases will happen on the first of the month and will give people access to permits for the following month or any other available permits in the current month. For example, permits for the entire month of July will become available on June 1. Reservations can be made online at recreation.gov. 

Officials said this year's system will allow for more people to enter the park each day and reservations will be based on about 90% of the park's total parking capacity. In 2021, the park's reservations were based on 75% to 80% parking capacity, according to the release. 

Rocky Mountain National Park was the third most visited national park in the country in 2019, when it saw more than 4.6 million visitors, which was a 42% increase over a seven-year period, officials said. 

Officials said the increase in visitation has led to negative impacts on visitor and staff safety, resource protection, visitor experience and operational capacity. Park officials have implemented various measures since 2016 to reduce these impacts, including the timed reservation system in 2020, officials said.

Others parks like Acadia, Arches, Glacier and Zion national parks have also implemented similar reservation systems in recent years. 

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