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Colorado Springs, El Paso County emphasize need for proper public behavior at area parks, trails, open spaces

On Monday, KRDO NewsChannel 13 showed you how the first day of Colorado's transition from the governor's "Stay at Home" order to his "Safer at Home" order led to crowds that were too large at some area parks, trails and open spaces.

At Helen Hunt Falls and North Cheyenne Cañon Park in particular, so many vehicles were illegally parked that police issued an unspecified number of citations.

"That becomes very difficult and unsafe," said Karen Paulus, director of Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services. "Especially if there's a search and rescue, or a fire. If you have to make your own space, please find some other space to recreate."

During the coronavirus pandemic -- as local parks and related destinations have remained open -- authorities have stressed the importance of spreading out, maintaining social distancing, visiting new or different areas and going at different times.

But Monday's results have shown authorities that in many instances, the public's eagerness to return to a normal lifestyle may jeopardize the ability to keep destinations open to limit the spread of the virus.

"We know that other states have closed their parks," said Susan Davies, executive director of the Trails and Open Space Coalition. "We want to avoid doing that, because we need them. They cut down on depression and anxiety. We go outdoors more than anyone else in the country. But we've got to do it safely. We owe it to each other."

Authorities also discussed the lack of mask-wearing at some of the more crowded destinations.

"If I'm in the middle of the woods and nobody's around, am I going to have a mask on? Probably not," Davies said. "But on a trail, if someone is close to me, I'm going to have my mask up because I'm protecting them. I don't know if I'm a carrier."

The "Safer at Home" order asks the public to visit parks no farther than 10 miles from home, maintain a minimum social distancing of six feet, bring your own sanitizing materials and wear masks.

"We need our park users to be responsible," Palus said. "Make sure that you're taking care of not only yourselves, but of others."

Tim Wolken, executive director of community services for El Paso County, said people visiting county parks appear to be better adhering to the "Safer at Home" recommendations.

"We're seeing more people at trails and trailheads," he said. "And many of our parks are larger and in more remote areas, so they can safely handle a larger number of visitors."

Wolken said the county's park restrooms will reopen next week, along with nature centers.

"We'll have a 10-person limit for those centers," he said.

Public playgrounds, pavilions, visitors centers and community centers remain closed in the area. Team sporting events are prohibited except for small family groups.

Golf courses are open, and authorities recommend that people visiting Pikes Peak stay in their vehicles and maintain social distancing.

The Forest Service said that campgrounds offering restrooms, offices and other facilities are closed but campgrounds that provide only tent space and a campfire site are open.

Websites for the city, county, Forest Service and TOSC have more details on current regulations related to the virus.

On Wednesday, the Broomfield family of Houston, Texas visited Helen Hunt Falls while carrying their masks -- an example that authorities hope many others will follow.

"I would hope that everyone will get on board and start doing the things that they're supposed to do," said husband and father Troy Broomfield. "So that we can enjoy this nature that we come up here to vacation and to see."

Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.



  1. We must obey the orders of Der Fuhrer Polis or he will come down harder on the working class people. Please don’t let Der Fuhrer take anymore of our Constitutional rights.

  2. On Wednesday, the Broomfield family of Houston, Texas visited Helen Hunt Falls while carrying their masks — an example that authorities hope many others will follow. ALL THE WAY FROM HOUSTON……THIS IS WHAT WILL SPREAD THE VIRUS…..

  3. Go ahead and wear a mask if you want to. Telling other people they have to wear one is a whole different thing. Some people actually enjoy breathing oxygen and exhalaling without obstruction. There has been no clear data provided that masks in these situations do any good anyway. Consider the fact please people are many times more likely to pick this virus up off a plastic bottle in Walmart. The hobby lobby thing is another. You criticize a business who literally sells some of the same products as Walmart. Now, artist have to buy supplies from the one place that is still open. Does that seem more fair to you. You are part of the problem.

    1. Headwrench. Come out of your hole. There is nothing but evidence proving masks are effective. Good grief. Welcome to the planet, Mr. Vice President. Indeed, there is less evidence you can get it from a plastic bottle.

      1. Cwaga7, “come out of your hole” what an interesting choice of words. This is called a projection. The hole is a prison you are willingly digging for yourself. The shovel being used is your irrational fear. The people who have handed you the fear have proven to be untrustworthy. Maybe if you dig it deep enough you will find those infamous ” weapons of mass destruction” good luck with that. You will make a great servant of the coming totalitarian regime.

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