Tue October 16, 2012
Parks & Rec

Going To Larimer County Parks? Be Sure To Bring A Credit Card

If you plan on heading to a Larimer County Park next week, you’re going to need your credit card. The reason? Automated pay stations will soon replace the cash and envelope system at all county parks.

The stations are already installed at Carter Lake near Loveland and Hermit Park near Estes Park as well as Horsetooth Mountain Park west of Fort Collins. Larimer county officials say the new stations are for the convenience of park visitors as well as for park rangers who had to manage the antiquated cash system.

The county invested around $8,000 dollars per machine from the Department of Natural Resources, and will run off solar panels, a cell tower, and a satellite signal.

According to the Loveland Reporter Herald, a six month test of the automated system was started in February when one was placed near an old cash system at Horsetooth Mountain Park.

By June, the response to the debit and credit card machines was so positive, the county removed the cash option and began planning for the installation of 10 additional units.

The report continues adding that through the use of a cellular tower and a satellite, the system will deposit the money directly into the Larimer County bank account, allowing rangers to focus on important duties other then processing cash fees.

“We're getting rid of the Stone Age,” said Steve McCorkel, maintenance technician who is installing the new technology.

The systems should be online at all parks by next week.

Update 10/17 1:09 p.m.: In response to a comment asking "How are those who don't have a credit or debit card going to be able to visit?",  I spoke to Shannon Barnes, with Larimer County Department of Natural Resources. Larimer County parks will still accept cash, however not at the automated pay stations. Barnes says cash should be accepted at all gate houses, visitor centers and via park rangers. However, automated pay stations will be closer to popular trails etc. and visitors wishing to use cash will have to drive to alternate locations to pay.