As people gear up for warm-weather outdoor adventures, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) wants to share a few expert outdoor tips on responsible recreation to help avoid a search and rescue scenario.
Know Before You Go
Be aware of weather conditions, water temperatures, and trail closures where you plan to visit. In Colorado, even late spring can bring snowstorms, strong winds, and extremely cold water temperatures.
- Camping reservations are required at Colorado state parks.
- On a holiday weekend, expect lines and potential gate closures. Use the CPW Park Finder Tool to discover outdoor activities at each state park and to learn about park or trail closures.
- Change your outdoor adventure based on the weather forecast. If the area you want to explore has bad weather, help yourself and our outdoor first responders by changing your outdoor plan to avoid hazardous conditions.
- Download the COTREX app to find a list of outdoor opportunities in surrounding areas if your desired trailhead is crowded or closed.
Life Jackets Save Lives
As boat ramps open and warmer temperatures entice people to recreate on the water, CPW urges the public to wear life jackets while enjoying water sports like power boating, kayaking, paddle boarding, swimming and fishing.
Last year was the deadliest year on Colorado waters, and the majority of fatalities occurred from people swimming, paddle boarding, or kayaking while not wearing a life jacket. Outdoor enthusiasts should follow these tips to stay safer on Colorado waters.
- Wear your life jacket.
- Paddle boards and kayaks are considered vessels, and life jacket requirements apply.
- Take a Boating Safety Class in Colorado.
- Carry all required safety gear.
- Get a safety inspection of your vessel.
- Review navigation techniques.
- Be aware of weather and water conditions.
- Boat sober – Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boating deaths.
Keep Wildlife Wild
Spring can be a particularly sensitive time for wildlife since many species are nesting, having their young, or coming out of hibernation.
- Do not feed or approach young wildlife.
- Be bear aware on trails and while camping.
- Keep dogs leashed on dog-friendly trails.
- If you see wildlife that appears sick or injured, leave it alone. Call your local Colorado Parks and Wildlife office and talk to a trained wildlife officer for guidance.
Be Careful with Fire
Colorado’s low humidity has perks but can create dry, dangerous conditions. Keep campfires small and manageable to avoid sparking wildfires.
- Use the website www.coemergency.com to find up-to-date information on county fire restrictions and bans.
- When putting out a fire, water it until you can handle the embers.
- Never let a fire burn unattended or put hot coals in a dumpster.
- Buying locally-sourced firewood can help prevent invasive critters from crossing state lines.
Do you have a Keep Colorado Wild Pass?
This new annual pass gives all Coloradans access to state parks and the added benefit of supporting our great outdoors and wildlife in a meaningful way. Visit the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website to learn about the Keep Colorado Wild Pass and how it benefits Colorado’s wildlife and the great outdoors.
Written by Bridget O’Rourke. Bridget is a Statewide Public Information Officer and Marketing and Communication Specialist for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.