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FORT COLLINS, Colo. (KDVR) — Another busy season has been forecasted by managers at the nation’s third-most visited national forest unit, but a pilot permitting program launched last year is expected to keep the park safe and serene as the pandemic stretches into another year.

The Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grasslands are extremely popular due to their proximity to the metroplex. If one or more visits to one of these campgrounds, trailheads, lakes or other hidden gems is what you crave, then now is the time to plot and plan your mid-2022 visit.

Sadly, but realistically, getting to enjoy the outdoors has become a more gated bureaucratic process. Hunters, campers, boaters and wilderness roamers of all levels will need a permit to do just about anything along the Northern Front Range.

Brace for an increase in fees for online reservations, wilderness permits, recreation passes and other expenditures managed by Forest Service concessionaries. These price hikes can be attributed to the nationwide inflation in goods, according to a Forest Service press release.

The Coloradan outdoors continues to bring in more and more people each year, so make sure you get to experience what makes the region so unique by staying ahead of the competition for these time slots.

When to get Colorado national forest reservations

According to the Forest Service, the campground reservations system posts reservations six months out, and since May and June are two of the loveliest months to be outside in Colorado, those reservations are going and going fast.

Lovers of the remote brand of camping should look into overnight camping offered in the remote and tranquil Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, which is available from June 1 to Sept. 15. Those become available to the public on Feb. 1.

And for those wondering what to do with their car while camping remotely in Mount Evans and Brainard Lake, they will be required to purchase a pass, according to the Forest Service. Those are scheduled to also go live on Feb. 1.

Those interested in “Day Use” reservations have some time to wait before they can act. Those time slots become available for purchase once the snow recedes, which typically occurs around May, according to the Forest Service, and are released for purchase on a rolling basis. At this point, the Brainard Lake Recreation Area trailhead is penciled in to open on June 10.