Dolores depends on the outdoor recreation economy, and nobody exemplifies that more than Billy and Lainey Beyhan, owners of the Dolores River Campground.
The hard-working couple were awarded the 2017 Business of the Year by the Dolores Chamber of Commerce Saturday night at the annual spring banquet.
When the Beyhans left their corporate jobs in 2013 to join the outdoor lifestyle, they came upon the neglected campground east of Dolores and saw a diamond in the rough.
“It was exactly what we were looking for: a fixer-upper that needed a lot of work,” Lainey says.
They quickly transformed the scenic riverfront property into a thriving business that brings in campers to Southwest Colorado from across the nation and world.
“As a business they set the bar for the community because they have a heart for what they do, and we all see it,” said Dolores Chamber president Lloyd Calvert. “They provide a much needed resource for our community and attract many of our part-time residents back year after year.”
The Beyhans invest strongly in the community and give generously to local organizations, Calvert said. They donate use of their facilities to Dolores Schools’ events, including prom, the School to Farm project, elementary restaurant project, and youth programs. They are always improving their campground services and refer customers to fellow chamber partners.
“They have made it their purpose to run a top notch business,” Calvert said. “They direct their campers to local attractions and keep them spending money in our town.”
Lainey said when the campground opens May 1, it will be their fifth season.
“Thank you for the honor. We love being a part of the community,” she said. “It has been a ton of fun doing this and we hope to be here for many more years to come.”
The campground’s amenities are impressive, thanks to major renovations and additions.
Besides 78 RV sites, cabins on the river, and 2,000-square-foot rec hall with commercial kitchen, the campground also recently added two vintage Air-stream trailers and a yurt for customers to rent.
There are wooded trails, fishing areas, a kid play house, tent camping on the river bank, swimming holes, and spacious bathrooms with showers. A well-stocked and remodeled gift shop provides Dolores memorabilia, artwork, clothing and camping supplies.
“I love the variety of working at a campground. It never gets boring,” Lainey says.
During the season, the campground hosts food trucks, including Sweet Water Gypsies wood-fired pizzas, and Gyros made by Pat Kincaid.
The Beyhans welcome locals to check out what they have to offer, browse the gift shop and order a meal for a picnic on the grassy shores of the Dolores River.
“Come see what we have done, check out the gift shop, or have a casual dinner from the food trucks and let the kids run around,” Lainey said.
The campground is at 18680 Colorado 145. Visit its website at doloresrivercampground.com