While many campgrounds are closed, trails remain open and many Coloradans are taking advantage of that despite Gov. Polis’ stay-at-home order Fort Collins Coloradoan
Larimer County residents with camping reservations at Carter Lake and Horsetooth Reservoir will be able to start using them this weekend.
The county’s Department of Natural Resources plans to open its campgrounds for the season in phases tied to the gradual lifting of state and county stay-at-home orders related to the coronavirus pandemic, Natural Resources Director Daylan Figgs told the county commissioners Monday.
The first phase launches Friday. Camping at Carter Lake and Horsetooth Reservoir will be limited to one campground at each of the popular destinations — the Flatiron Campground at Carter Lake and the South Bay Campground at Horsetooth Reservoir.
About 30 campsites will be available at Carter Lake and around 20 will be available at Horsetooth Reservoir, Figgs said.
Only Larimer County residents with reservations already in the county’s reservation system will be allowed to camp. No walk-up camping reservations will be accepted.
At the campsites, only hard-sided camping units, defined as units with bathrooms, may be used. No tents will be allowed. Occupancy at each campsite is limited to eight people.
Restrooms and shower facilities at the campgrounds will be closed. Group picnic sites and pavilions remain closed, as do cabins and tipis. Visitor centers at the parks are closed until further notice.
While boat ramps are open, marinas and concessions will stay closed at Carter Lake and Horsetooth Reservoir. Pinewood Reservoir, Flatiron Reservoir and Hermit Park will remain closed.
When restrictions imposed by public health orders ease, a second phase would open additional campgrounds to those with reservations regardless of where they live. Restrooms would likely remain closed, and only hard-sided camping units would be allowed.
Depending on restrictions, a third phase would allow campers who don’t currently have reservations to make them and additional campgrounds would open.
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County open space and day-use areas are open. Activity at the sites has returned to normal levels after seeing a boost in numbers a couple of weeks ago, Figgs said. Rangers and other Natural Resources crews are contacting hikers and other recreationists about safe social-distancing practices.
“The lid’s back on the pot,” Figgs said. “There for a while, it felt like it was bubbling off a little bit. Now it seems like everything is pretty much getting back to a normal routine of where people are.”
U.S. Forest Service campgrounds and picnic areas are closed through May 31. Hiking trails are open, but restrooms at trailheads are closed.
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