Colorado State Parks, Roosevelt National Forest close to camping due to coronavirus

The parks closed to camping Thursday but are still open to fishing, hiking, biking and other activities. Fort Collins Coloradoan

Colorado State Parks and the Arapahoe and Roosevelt National Forests announced Thursday that all sites are closed to camping until further notice.

The action was based on the stay-at-home order from Gov. Jared Polis and advice from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent further spread of the new coronavirus.

The state parks closure includes all playgrounds, campgrounds, camping and camping facilities — including yurts and cabins — as well as camping at State Wildlife Areas until further notice.

CPW said it will notify campers currently at parks to vacate immediately and staff will contact reservation holders and provide the process for refunds or changes for those affected campers. 

Loveland resident Dave Hyde was camping at nearby Boyd Lake State Park on Thursday when he was notified of the closure to camping.

“For social distancing, this is awesome because you are away from everyone,” he said with empty campsites on either side of his camper trailer. “But if this is what the government needs to do to control the pandemic, I’m all for it.”

Rangers were stationed at Boyd Lake campgrounds Thursday, waiting for orders as to when the campers would need to leave.

More: Map: Where in Colorado has coronavirus been detected?

As of Thursday, noncampground outdoor areas of parks, including trails, boat ramps, marinas and shorelines remain open. CPW said managers may close areas that do not allow for social distancing. This could include picnic areas, fishing piers and other more concentrated recreation areas.

CPW encourages people to adhere to local and state stay-at-home orders and limit travel time even for approved recreation.

Park visitors are reminded to practice social distancing and maintain at least 6 feet between other visitors. Anyone demonstrating signs of illness, such as coughing, fever or shortness of breath, should stay home. Restrooms also remain open, and visitors are advised to take soap and alcohol-based hand sanitizers when water is not available. 

Last week, CPW temporarily suspended classes and large events and has temporarily closed facilities such as visitor centers and area offices.

More: Larimer County issues stay-at-home order to slow coronavirus pandemic in Northern Colorado

Visit CPW’s website for the most up-to-date information or check out the agency’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

In addition, all U.S. Forest Service campgrounds, restrooms, cabins and fire lookout rentals, picnic sites and trash facilities are closed to the public until at least April 30, at which time the closure will be re-evaluated.

Roosevelt National Forest spokesperson Reghan Cloudman said while technically trailheads remain open, the forest service is discouraging recreational use. And Gov. Polis has asked people not to travel to the mountains to recreate.

Rocky Mountain National Park closed Friday.

Larimer County parks remain open as of Thursday, per the county’s website.

Check with your local U.S. National Forest, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service office for specific closures and allowed recreation activities. 

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Reporter Miles Blumhardt looks for stories that impact your life. Be it news, outdoors, sports — you name it, he wants to report it. Have a story idea? Contact him at [email protected] or on Twitter @MilesBlumhardt. Support his work and that of other Coloradoan journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today. 

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