Mary's Lake Campground and RV Park, Estes Park, Colo.

Mary's Lake Campground and RV Park, Estes Park, Colo.

Colorado’s Larimer County is now in the camping business with the Estes Valley Park and Recreation District.

The county commissioners approved a contract Tuesday (Dec. 29) for county staff to manage two Estes Park campgrounds that the district leases from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, according to the Loveland , Colo., Reporter Herald.

The profits will be split by the two, with 65% going to upgrade the facilities at Mary’s Lake Campground and RV Park and Estes Park Campground and 35% going back to the Larimer County Department of Natural Resources.

From those campgrounds, the county expects to earn about $100,000 per year to boost the Department of Natural Resources’ budget.

In the past, the recreation district hired a private company to manage the campgrounds. The profits went to the company and not to fixing up the campgrounds, district officials have said.

Next year, they decided instead to try a new arrangement with Larimer County — a contract that has been approved by the Estes parks district board, the Larimer County Parks Advisory Board and the Bureau of Reclamation.

Larimer County will front up to $75,000 to prepare the 200-plus campsites for use by May. That money will be repaid by the park district’s share of the profits.

All three county commissioners supported the contract, which Natural Resources Director Gary Buffington said can be dissolved if problems arise.

“We think it’s going to work,” Buffington said. “There’s a lot of ways to retreat from it if it doesn’t.”