COLORADO SPRINGS — With Memorial Day Weekend’s forecast calling for plentiful sunshine and temperatures in the 80s, outdoor fun is a must – but public land agencies want to remind everyone to plan ahead and help protect sensitive natural areas.
Recreating outdoors is an important way of life for many Coloradans, and land managers need everyone’s cooperation to help them sustain enjoyable outdoor experiences and preserve natural areas for future generations.
The Pikes Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance has provided a set of tips to help the community protect themselves and our natural spaces:
- Enjoy and protect shared public lands. With visitation continuing to increase, you can do your 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. Check 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 trails 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. Help protect sensitive wildlife habitats by staying out of wildlife closure areas. Mountain biking and OHV use on muddy trails will damage the trail – land managers ask that you come back when trails are dry.
- Continue to follow all public health guidance and requirements. Stay home if you are sick.
The public land agencies in the Pikes Peak Region remind residents to access their websites to view critical advisories and trail maps BEFORE planning visits to public lands:
Visitors can also download the COTREX trail app developed with support from the State of Colorado, Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Great Outdoors Colorado, just search “Colorado Trail Explorer” in the App Store or Google Play store.