It’s Colorado Public Lands Day and the Start of #CareForColorado Week!

Coloradans are incredibly lucky to live in a state with endless outdoor opportunities, but with that comes a responsibility to educate ourselves about the impacts of our outdoor recreation.
Celebrate Colorado Public Lands Day on May 15, 2021.

Join Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) and the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics in celebration of #CareForColorado Week! Kicked off on Colorado Public Lands Day, May 15, 2021, and continuing throughout the week, #CareForColorado Week is an opportunity to educate Coloradans and visitors to our beautiful state on how to recreate responsibly and help conserve Colorado’s amazing natural resources.

Colorado Public Lands Day logo courtesy of Colorado Public Lands website

This coordinated Colorado effort provides the perfect opportunity for everyone to play their part in caring for the state we love. The #CareForColorado Week campaign reminds us that we all need to balance outdoor recreation with mindful conservation. Throughout the week, Colorado Outdoors Online will share Leave No Trace principles to guide you in protecting the outdoor spaces we all cherish. And if you’re looking for something to do on Colorado Public Lands day, check out the Colorado Parks and Wildlife calendar for cleanup events, birdwatching adventures, guided nature hikes, and much more.

“Colorado offers an outdoor oasis. So it’s no surprise that Coloradans pride themselves on our outdoor lifestyle and want to keep Colorado wild,” said Colorado Parks and Wildlife Director Dan Prenzlow. “As Coloradans, we live life outside – and with that comes the responsibility for all of us to care for Colorado and invest in nature and conservation so our outdoor spaces can be enjoyed for generations to come.”

Colorado’s outdoor spaces continue to see explosive growth in attendance as more people are seeking outdoor and socially distanced activities. While visitation at parks and wildlife areas has increased steadily over the past five years, the pandemic has elevated the need to address increased human impact at state parks and exposed the need to educate the outdoor community on how to be mindful about conservation. 

“Coloradans are incredibly lucky to live in a state with endless outdoor opportunities to enjoy, but with that comes a responsibility to educate ourselves about the impacts of our outdoor recreation,” said Dana Watts, the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics’ Executive Director. “Our goal is to encourage people to make a conscious effort to protect our outdoor spaces. This partnership is an opportunity to work with Colorado’s extensive outdoor community, to help remind people how small acts of conservation can make a big difference in protecting our environment.”

Leave No Trace Principles

Video: Care for Colorado Principles

The Care for Colorado Leave No Trace Principles reveals conservation starts small, and every individual can take proactive steps to reduce their impact on natural resources.  

  • Know Before You Go
  • Stick To Trails 
  • Leave It As You Find It
  • Trash the Trash
  • Be Careful With Fire
  • Keep Wildlife Wild
  • Share Our Trails and Parks 

Walking the Walk

Roxborough State Park, Castlewood Canyon State Park and Barr Lake State Park have earned Gold Standard Site designations by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics

Colorado Parks and Wildlife has promoted the Leave No Trace principles for decades while teaching people that conservation is the foundation of outdoor recreation and our economy. Some examples of educational support efforts include:

  • CPW’s Roxborough State Park, Castlewood Canyon State Park and Barr Lake State Park have earned Gold Standard Site designations by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, meaning these parks have been distinguished in their promotion of Leave No Trace ethics. There are only 13 Gold Standard Sites in the country, so being recognized is a notable achievement. Other Colorado state parks pursuing Gold Standard Site designations include Eleven Mile State Park and Staunton State Park.
  • Incorporate Leave No Trace messaging in park visitor materials.
  • Joined the Care for Colorado Coalition to help educate Coloradans to serve as active stewards of Colorado’s natural resources.
  • Insert Leave No Trace materials in the Check Out State Parks Program adventure backpacks offered at more than 300 Colorado public libraries.

It takes a Community

Trash the Trash

The Colorado Tourism Office joined with the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics in 2020 to found the Care for Colorado Coalition. Now an alliance of nearly 30 statewide organizations, federal and state agencies, the Coalition is dedicated to educating Coloradans and visitors to protect the state’s extraordinary natural and cultural resources.  The Care for Colorado Coalition asks all recreationists to follow the Care for Colorado Leave No Trace seven key principles when enjoying the state’s great outdoors. Colorado Parks and Wildlife became a Stewardship Partner of the coalition in 2020, to help educate visitors to all of Colorado’s lands, waters and wildlife habitat to consider our impact on the wildlife and wild spaces that make Colorado so special.

“The Colorado Tourism Office is happy to partner with Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Leave No Trace in coordinating this second Care for Colorado Week,” said Courtney Frazier, CTO Board Chairperson and director of the Colorado Dude & Guest Ranch Association.  “We want everyone who plays in Colorado’s great outdoors to enjoy our wonderful natural resources while practicing “Colorado Style Stewardship” and observing the Care for Colorado Leave No Trace Principles.  

While Colorado Parks and Wildlife and state, federal and local partners are working together to promote #CareForColorado Week, it’s important to #CareForColorado every day of the year. As the state offers unparalleled outdoor experiences all year long, the need to care for our lands, waters and wildlife must remain a part of all outdoor activities to ensure we can share this outdoor lifestyle with generations to come. 

To follow and learn more about #CareForColorado Week, visit the following websites and social media accounts:

Check back during the week for #CareForColorado Week tips!

Written by Bridget Kochel. Bridget is a public information officer for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

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