Don’t take any chances when it comes to fire.
These are some of the news state and federal agencies have released in the past few days as they prepare for a flood of people to go out into the great outdoors this Memorial Day weekend, marking the busy summer season in terms of camping, hiking , Boating, and other activities in Colorado’s public areas and waters.
Messaging has become all the more important this year as both the tinder drought continued after a record year for forest fires in the state in 2020, and an expected continuation of the surge in outdoor visits this summer that followed last year in response to the Forest fires began the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.
“Colorado outdoor areas are becoming increasingly popular across the state as residents and visitors outside of the state seek outdoor and social activities,” said a press release from Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “While visits to state parks and wildlife areas have steadily increased over the past five years, the pandemic has increased the need to address the growing human impact in state parks and educate our community on how to balance outdoor recreation with mindful conservation can. “
CPW is reminding the public that camping reservations are required in Colorado state parks. For more information on reservation, please visit https://cpw.state.co.us. There is also a park finder tool with information on activities in each park and links to the websites of the individual parks, on which information on parking or path closures can be found. CPW also recommends using tools such as COTREX or Colorado Trail Explorer. This is a government website at https://trails.colorado.gov that may suggest other outdoor options in the area if the trail, park, or place you plan to use is closed or crowded.
“Expect lines and possible gate closings on a holiday weekend. Have a backup plan and be friendly – the park staff work hard to provide a safe and enjoyable experience, ”CPW said in its press release.
The National Park Service says many campsites and lodges in and around many popular national parks are already booked and recommends making reservations to ensure you have a place to sleep when you arrive at a park.
The valet suggests visiting www.nps.gov and notes that parking websites have ideas on where to go, what to see and do.
“Flexibility and a backup plan are also crucial in the event of changing weather conditions, road closures, etc.,” says the agency’s website.
It suggests that people are considering visiting lesser-known parks to experience fewer crowds and queues.
CPW urges boaters to exercise caution, noting that strong gusts of wind can throw paddleboarders and kayakers into the water, which in Colorado can be cold year round. Water sports enthusiasts should wear a life jacket, the agency said. It also warns of boating under the influence that half of the nearly 1,000 annual boating accident deaths across the country are alcohol-related.
CPW, the Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests, and others have taken caution when it comes to campfires for the past few days due to the risk of forest fires. Last year Colorado saw the three largest fires, including the Pine Gulch Fire north of Grand Junction. Currently, much of the western third of the state is in a severe to exceptional drought.
Agencies recommend steps like:
n Avoid driving and parking in tall grass as vehicle exhaust particles and pipes can start fires.
n Follow steps when shooting targets including placing targets on dirt or gravel, using paper targets, and avoiding using incendiary targets and exploding ammunition.
n Never leave a campfire unattended and before leaving your campsite, extinguish your fire completely by putting out the fire with water or dirt, stirring the ashes and, if necessary, repeating until the fire is extinguished.
Agencies remind the public that the use of fireworks in public spaces is never allowed and even accidentally triggered forest fires can result in those responsible being fined or imprisoned.
CPW urges people to be aware of possible bears on trails and bear-safe campsites. The White River National Forest said in a news release that bears are present in this forest and it is important to keep clean camps and not leave food, coolers and other attractants outside when you are not in camp.
The WRNF in its publication focused on appropriate practices when it comes to distributed camping outside of developed campsites, which is permitted by much of this forest. It is recommended that dispersed camping is not permitted within 30 meters of lakes, streams and forest paths.
It is also said that visitors can drive up to 300 feet of designated routes in this forest for dispersed camping, as long as there is no resource degradation such as B. Trample the vegetation occur. Visitors should therefore stick to previously disturbed routes.
In most areas of the White River National Forest, campers can stay up to 14 days over a period of 30 days. Forest officials say campers should plan ahead and arrive early for the best possible chance of getting a desired location. Backup location plans should be considered in the event that the location is occupied.
The US Forest Service provides a wealth of information on various forest uses, safety precautions and measures to withstand the elements, as well as wildlife opportunities on its Know Before You Go website at www.fs.usda.gov/visit/know-before to respect-you go.