It’s no secret that the outdoors are being loved to death. And in the public land-rich states of the West, campsites have seen an explosion in popularity over the last decade, according to Desert News.
Camping Crunch, a report from the Center for Western Priorities released Thursday (Oct. 28), quantified something many in the West already know — it’s hard to find a campsite.
From 2014 to 2020, states — excluding Alaska and Hawaii — saw a 39% increase in occupancy for reservable campsites during peak season, according to the report. Western states saw a 47% increase during the same time frame.
Some key findings from the report:
- The Mountain West was a particularly popular place to camp in 2020 — Montana had the highest rate of reservable campsites filled at 76%. Colorado came in second at 71% and Idaho fifth at 57%.
- At 96%, campsites in Wyoming saw the largest percent change in occupation since 2014.
- National park campsites are by far the most popular, with some nearing 100% occupancy.
- Only six states had an overall decrease in summer occupancy since 2014. Four are in the Northeast and saw increased summer occupancy until 2019, where the report notes COVID-19 impacted recreation in densely populated states.
- In the summer of 2020, Utah had an average of 49% occupancy at its 201 campsites that were analyzed.
- Since 2014, Utah saw a 77% increase in reservable campsites filled.