May has arrived, which means spring is starting to feel a little more like summer and the call to experience the great outdoors rings all the more clearly. Yet the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic — its own interminable season — should compel people to respond to this call more conscientiously.
That’s the latest word from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Together, these two subsections of the state’s executive branch are reminding citizens to stay local and limit travel this weekend as Colorado transitions from the “stay-at-home” to “safer-at-home” phase.
What exactly does this mean for outdoorsy Coloradans? According to a press release from CDOT, individuals who live along the Front Range should not travel to the mountains or foothills to hike, ski, snowmobile or engage in any other recreational activities this weekend. Instead, they should stay within their local communities and/or travel only as far as 10 miles away from their home.
The reason behind these directives is that the presence of coronavirus in Colorado is still far from eradicated, and another spike of new cases is still plausible. Reducing travel likewise reduces the risk of spreading coronavirus to communities that might not have access to resources to fight it on a large scale.
“Colorado has made great progress in reducing the threat of COVID-19 but we all must continue to do our part,” said Dan Gibbs, executive director of DNR. “Our favorite trail or mountain crag will be there for us when this pandemic is over. For the next few weeks, Coloradans need to stay close to home and look for recreation opportunities within 10 miles of where they live. Taking a brisk walk, bike ride or run to a different part of your community are all good activities to do in lieu of heading to our mountains or other further destinations.”
CDOT and DNR also outlined some ideas of how to enjoy Colorado’s exceptional outdoors while still respecting the safer-at-home policy. They include:
- Recreate locally. Keep recreational activities within 10 miles of home to prevent disease spread.
- If you are in the Denver metro area, don’t travel to our mountain communities.
- Reduce visits to the trails and open spaces in the foothills.
- If you live outside the Denver metro area, avoid traveling to Denver for recreational activities.
- Individuals may participate in local and personal recreation in outside public spaces, as an authorized Necessary Activity, in groups no larger than 10 and practicing social distancing maintaining 6 feet between participants.
- Wear a mask when participating in activities.
The departments also forewarn people that car crashes are one of Colorado’s most common reasons for injury-related emergency room admissions in Colorado. Staying off the roads except in cases of essential travel decreases the likelihood of a trip to the hospital that might strain health care resources.
Campgrounds at State Parks and on National Forests and other recreation areas remain closed — find more information about that here. View the new rules for Denver City Park use during the pandemic here.
Check to see if your Colorado county has extended their stay-at-home order here.