By Micah Ling

Around Colorado, and throughout the country, COVID19 recommendations and mandates are changing almost daily. Leaders are encouraging fresh air and physical activity, but also restricting travel. The most important consensus is that people should take advantage of what’s in their backyard. While playgrounds, dog parks, and recreation centers are now closed, most mountain parks and trails remain open. Here are some tips and resources on how to stay healthy and safe from City of Boulder Open Space & Mountain Parks Ranger Rick Hatfield.

Don’t travel outside of your county

for anything, but especially not to recreate. Take advantage of your neighborhood, your local trail systems, and the spaces closest to where you live.

Boulder hiking trail informational signage for hiking during Covid-19

Check out new online sources.

Since the middle of March, Open Spaces and Mountain Parks have seen a record number of visitors — beyond their highest visitation days over all of last year. Because of the number of visitors, Open Space & Mountain Parks recommends checking their interactive maps for updated information about trails and closures, including a list of trails that are wider than 6 feet.

Know before you go.

Only around two percent of Boulder visitors check online before visiting an open space or park. Boulder, Jefferson and Larimer Counties have excellent resources, including tons of live cameras on parking lots and trailheads, that can help visitors decide where to go and when.

Pay attention to signs

at trailheads. Most parks and open spaces across the Front Range have put up new signage, directing people to important information. Take note of the signs and follow the requests and directions.

Laramar hiking trail informational signage 1 for hiking during Covid-19

Laramar hiking trail informational signage 2 for hiking during Covid-19

Visit at off-peak times.

Hike before 10 am, and at many park systems you’ll have the place to yourself.

Don’t stand around

at trailheads, summits, and parking lots. Clean up after your dog, and pack any trash out. Keep in mind that rangers are working double-time and could really use a hand to keep parks and open spaces available for your enjoyment.

While it is a lot of work to keep the parks and trails open, Hatfield says it’s even more work to close them. Many of the park and trail systems have multiple access points, and closing them all down would require a significant effort. They also don’t want to place a bigger strain on city parks and other outdoor options that do stay open if the OSMP system shuts down. So let’s all do our part to maintain safety and common sense when it comes to enjoying our parks and trails.

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