March 27, 2020
Parks and Open Space managers urge visitors not to crowd outdoor areas and to follow all rules and regulations
Visits to open space are still encouraged for exercise and fresh air, but strict adherence to open space rules and regulations and social distancing are mandatory.
Boulder County, Colo. - Boulder County Parks & Open Space and other area agency city and mountain trails are seeing increasing crowds as the State of Colorado’s stay-at-home order restricts many other activities around the state.
In addition to unsafe crowding, the additional use of public open space is causing adverse impacts to recreational areas, especially at trailheads, in parking lots, and along roads adjacent to these trails. Given the ongoing school closures, guidance against travel, and the number of people with more flexible schedules now working from home, agency land managers understand the value and necessity of getting outdoors. While visits to open space are still encouraged for exercise and fresh air, strict adherence to open space rules and regulations and social distancing are mandatory.
“As always, we value physical exercise and getting outdoors as key factors in promoting personal wellness and maintaining healthy habits,” said Boulder County Public Health Director Jeffrey Zayach. “During this stay-at-home period of COVID-19, where our goal is to significantly reduce the spread of the disease, we still want people to get out and enjoy some fresh air, but we can’t emphasize enough how important it is at all times to maintain a physical distance of at least six feet between anyone not of the same household and to avoid creating crowded conditions at trailheads, parks, and open space areas.”
The March 26, 2020, Colorado State COVID-19 Public Health Order allows for outdoor recreation, including hiking, biking, Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, and running. While parking areas, trailheads, restrooms, and trails remain open, shelters and other picnic areas at Boulder County Parks & Open Space properties are closed.
The state has mandated limiting travel except for critical activities, so recreating close to home is highly recommended. The Boulder Area Trails App (trailsapp.org) is available for free for iOS and Android users. Current trails data—including closures—is updated regularly by 12 local agencies. It’s a great way to find and explore a trail near home.
It’s important to note that public lands in Boulder County are under the jurisdiction of different land management agencies, including towns, cities, the county, the state, and federal governments. The county does not have the authority to regulate trails outside of our jurisdiction, and other areas may have unique rules and regulations. It is incumbent on the recreators to know and adhere to the rules and regulations of the particular park or open space area they are visiting. For Boulder County Parks & Open Space, please visit boco.org/trails for a list of trails and their status, and boco.org/regs for the rules and regulations for Boulder County trails.
To help manage the increased visitation to the county parks, the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office has increased the number of deputies assigned to mountain patrol, with specific emphasis on increasing presence in and around highly used recreation areas. In addition, Boulder County Parks & Open Space has increased staffing at trailheads and in parking areas to help with the increase in use and maintenance of trailhead facilities, including trash and restrooms. Please note that restrooms cannot be sanitized between every use, so utmost care in using the restrooms is recommended.
“We are all in this situation together, and every person is responsible for doing their best to keep everyone else safe, whether on their local sidewalk or a foothills trail. So get out and reap the benefits to health and well-being of recreating outdoors. But please do so responsibly by following the social distancing protocols, obeying all rules and parking restrictions, and being kind to one another,” said Boulder County Parks & Open Space Director Eric Lane.