Colorado State Parks Remain Open During Coronavirus Outbreak

March 18, 2020
Cheyenne Mountain State Park (2007 file photo)Cheyenne Mountain State Park (2007 file photo) Courtesy: Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Cheyenne Mountain State Park (2007 file photo)

3/21/20 UPDATE from CPW: Effective March 20, 2020, Colorado State Parks remain open, but all Colorado Parks and Wildlife visitor centers, service centers and offices will restrict access to the public. Restrictions and closures are subject to change. ------

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is keeping state parks open in alignment with Gov. Polis' statement that people enjoy the outdoors while social distancing due to the novel coronavirus.

Classes on hunting and boating safety have been cancelled. Employees have been encouraged to work from home if possible, and wear gloves when interacting with guests. Common areas like bathrooms and visitor centers are sanitized throughout the day.

Travis Duncan, a spokesman for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, said hiking, fishing and camping at state parks is an essential way people can maintain their health in the midst of COVID-19.

"Especially if folks are working from home or aren't getting time with [other] people, I think it's going to be more important to have that time and space to recreate outside," said Duncan. 

He said went ice fishing this past weekend at Eleven Mile State Park. After the trip, he felt better mentally and physically.

"I left Sunday with a clear head," said Duncan.

Rebecca Ferrell, spokeswoman and website manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, said while she encourages people to get outside, it's essential they enjoy the parks responsibly.

"If you decide now would be the best time to try the most technical climbing route of your life, or go backcountry skiing for the first time, this is really not the time," said Ferrell.

Both Ferrell and Duncan said park rangers and search and rescue teams are essential employees and will be active at state parks, but there's a chance their response could be reduced or delayed.

Duncan said the department is taking things day by day, but the plan for now is to try and keep recreational opportunities open as much as possible. The current status of the state parks is available at the agency's website

Currently, the Glenwood Springs area office is closed, as is the Sylvan Lake State Park Visitor Center.