Visitors are flocking to Colorado’s public lands. But large crowds can post a risk of spreading COVID-19. KSUT’s Mark Duggan spoke with Joe Lewandowski of Colorado Parks & Wildlife about their efforts to keep visitors safe at state parks.
People are visiting national forests and state parks in Colorado in record numbers. It's as if we're trying to make up for lost time, after months of staying home to avoid the COVID. Joe Lewandowski with Colorado Parks & Wildlife agrees.
“We're seeing increased visitation from 30 to even a hundred percent,” he says. “The outdoors have been the safest place to be. And still is. State parks have been almost overwhelmed with people this year.”
CPW officials expect even bigger crowds over the Fourth of July weekend. But this isn't the year for large gatherings. Coronavirus infection rates are surging in many states. At Colorado's state parks, there is a limit to the number of people in a group.
“And that's for group picnic sites and group camping sites,” explains Lewandowski. “We're still asking people to be really careful, to wear masks if they have to be in close proximity to people.”
Lewandowski says all parks are open, but campgrounds are booked solid. Children's playgrounds are still closed.
And with Stage 1 fire restrictions in effect for southwest Colorado, most campfires are off-limits.
KSUT COVID-19 news reporting is made possible by support from individual donors and the Colorado Media Project.