Public land agencies remind everyone to recreate responsibly this summer
June 7, 2021 by Jennifer Peterson
Know before you go, plan ahead, be courteous on area trails and help protect sensitive natural areas
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – With visitation to Pikes Peak region parks and trails expected to increase over the next several weeks, a group of six federal, state and local Colorado land managers remind visitors to recreate responsibly on area public lands. Recreating outdoors is an important way of life for all Coloradans, and public land agencies need everyone’s cooperation to help them sustain enjoyable outdoor experiences and preserve natural areas for future generations.
Public land agencies with lands in Colorado’s Pikes Peak region remind visitors to KNOW BEFORE YOU GO, plan ahead and remember several essential responsible recreation guidelines over Memorial Day weekend and throughout the summer, including:
- Enjoy and protect shared public lands. With visitation continuing to increase, the agencies remind visitors to do their part to help protect land, wildlife, water and plants. Numerous small disturbances can quickly harm sensitive natural resources and have a lasting impact on shared public lands. Remember to “Leave No Trace” and be prepared to pack out all trash and dog waste when receptacles aren’t available.
- Be courteous and inclusive. People visit trails and public lands for many reasons, including emotional and physical well-being and spending time with friends and family members. Visitors of all identities and abilities deserve respect and courtesy while recreating outdoors.
- Plan ahead and know your limits. Local public land agencies continue to see sustained high numbers of rescues. Don’t take unnecessary risks. Look at the weather forecast and trail and trailhead information. Visit public lands with a friend or a family member. Tell people where you’re going and when you plan on returning. Make sure to bring food and water. Wear appropriate clothing and shoes for cold, wet or changing weather conditions.
- Don’t park illegally at full trailheads and follow all rules and regulations. Have an alternate plan in case the parking lot is full. Parks and trails are generally less crowded on weekdays. Trailhead parking lots are often full early in the morning on weekends. Take shuttles to popular recreation areas, if available. Review agency rules and regulations before heading to the trailhead as individual areas may have special restrictions or guidelines. Rangers may issue tickets for illegally parked vehicles.
- Stay on trail and walk through mud. If you need to step off-trail to let others pass, avoid stepping on vegetation. Step back on trail immediately after people pass you. Please don’t travel off trail. Help protect sensitive wildlife habitats by staying out of wildlife closure areas. Mountain biking and OHV use on muddy trails will damage the trail – please come back when trails are dry.
- Continue to follow all public health guidance and requirements. Stay home if you are sick. Remember to “keep the space in open space” by maintaining 6 feet of distance from people not in your household. While no longer required, it’s recommended you bring a face covering with you because it’s not always possible to maintain 6 feet of physical distance outdoors, such as passing others on a narrow trail.
The group of public land agencies who participated in this joint release remind residents to access their websites to view critical advisories and trail maps BEFORE planning visits to public lands:
- Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services
- Colorado Springs Utilities
- El Paso County Parks and Recreation
- Colorado Parks and Wildlife
- U.S. Bureau of Land Management
- U.S. Forest Service
Visitors can also download the COTREX trail app developed with support from the State of Colorado, Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO):
- Colorado Trail Explorer (COTREX), available for free in the Apple and Google stores.
- Gillian Rossi, Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services, (719) 385-6525, [email protected]
- Jennifer Kemp, Colorado Springs Utilities, (719) 393-5833, [email protected]
- Amy Jo Fields, El Paso County, (719) 500-9873, [email protected]
- Bill Vogrin, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, (719) 227-5211, [email protected]
- Brant Porter, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, (970) 901-9581
- K. “Reid” Armstrong, U.S. Forest Service, (970) 222-7607