Travel likely to be heavy over Memorial holiday, AAA says

Grand Junction will see travelers coming and going in the valley this Memorial Day weekend.

AAA Colorado has predicted low gas prices and travel deals will lure more than 12 percent of the Rocky Mountain region’s population to travel more than 50 miles away from home for the weekend. The organization said popular activities for travelers include dining, hiking, biking and sightseeing.

If you hoped to camp this weekend at a campground, you may be out of luck, at least on Grand Mesa or at the Colorado State Parks around the valley.

The campgrounds in Grand Mesa National Forest remained closed as of Thursday, according to the U.S. Forest Service Web site.

Crawford State Park, Highline State Park, Paonia State Park, Rifle Gap State Park, Rifle Falls State Park and Vega State Park reported Thursday all of their campsites have been reserved. Some of them may have a few sites available on a first-come, first-served basis. State Parks employees said the parks fill up fast for the popular Memorial Day weekend, and eager campers make reservations online months in advance.

Campgrounds in parks statewide have done well this year. Deb Frazier, communications coordinator of the parks, said as of May 13 reservations at the campgrounds are up 1.9 percent compared to last year.

If you want to take a scenic drive, Colorado Highway 82 over Independence Pass opened Thursday afternoon.

Grand Valley residents who stay in town for the weekend can kick off summer with the Junior College World Series, which starts Saturday and runs through next week.

“That’s the big hoo-ha, the JUCO,” said Jennifer Grossheim-Harris of the Grand Junction Visitors and Convention Bureau.

The annual event brings 10 teams from around the United States, each with four coaches, two trainers, 30 players, and 60 to 70 additional visitors who accompany the teams to town according to the Visitor and Convention Bureau.

The bureau estimates travel expenses for the teams, such as hotels, transportation and meals, will bring approximately $400,000 to $500,000 in revenue to the area.

Even with JUCO in town, hotels still have vacancies, according to a random sampling of hotels done by the Visitor and Convention Bureau on Thursday.


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