Colorado Parks and Wildlife shares tips for Memorial Day weekend
As the outdoor community heads outside for the upcoming holiday, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is reminding Coloradans of simple ways to recreate responsibly.
Colorado outdoor spaces continue to see increased visitation across the state as residents and out-of-state visitors seek outdoor and socially distanced activities.
While visitation at state parks and wildlife areas has increased steadily over the past five years, the pandemic elevated the need to address increased human impact at state parks and the importance of educating the community on how to balance outdoor recreation with mindful conservation.
Know before you go
Check the weather conditions where you plan to visit. In Colorado, even late spring can bring snowstorms, so be aware of the latest news for weather and snow, as well as for road and trail closures.
• Camping reservations are required at Colorado State Parks.
• Use the CPW Park Finder to learn about what activities are available at each state park and visit a park’s individual web page to learn about any possible park or trail closures.
• Tools such as COTREX provide additional outdoor opportunities in the surrounding areas if your desired trailhead, park or location is crowded or closed.
• On a holiday weekend, expect lines and potential gate closures. Have a backup plan and be kind.
Practice boating safety
With an increased level of visitation and an uptick in water-based recreation activities, it is essential that people follow boating safety best practices so they are safe on the water this summer.
• Check your equipment and the weather and water conditions. Strong wind gusts can knock a paddleboarder or kayaker into the water, but it’s important to be aware of the cold water temperatures that exist year-round in Colorado.
• Wear the proper life vest. All water recreationists should wear a life vest when recreating on the water.
• Boating under the influence is the leading cause of fatal boating accidents. Every year, nearly 1,000 people die in boating accidents nationwide and 50% of these accidents are alcohol-related.
Be careful with fire
Know any restrictions or bans before you go. Colorado’s low humidity has perks but can create dry, dangerous conditions. Keep campfires small and manageable to avoid sparking wildfires.
• Dry conditions frequently impact what type of fires are allowed, and they may be completely restricted in some areas. The website http://www.coemergency.com provides up-to-date information on county fire restrictions and bans.
• When putting out a fire, water it until you can handle the embers. Never let a fire burn unattended or put hot coals in a dumpster.
• It is also important to help prevent invasive critters from hitchhiking along on your trip or across state lines by purchasing locally sourced firewood.
Keep wildlife wild
Colorado is home to 960 species of wildlife. To keep them — and you — safe, don’t feed or approach them.
• Do not feed or approach young wildlife no matter how hungry you think they might look.
• Be bear aware on trails and bear-proof your campsite to avoid encounters with bears.
• Keep dogs leashed when enjoying dog-friendly trails, and pack out waste all the way to a trash can.
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