Larimer County, Rocky Mountain National Park ease coronavirus restrictions




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Outdoor recreation opportunities around Larimer County will increase in the coming week as COVID-19 restrictions ease.

Rocky Mountain National Park will begin its phased reopening Wednesday with limited services and access. The majority of roads and trailheads will be open and shuttle service will be available, although occupancy on shuttle vehicles will be limited to 15 people at a time.

Campgrounds will be closed; so will visitor centers and the park entrance at Wild Basin. The upper part of Trail Ridge Road will be closed because of snow conditions.

The number of vehicles entering the park will be metered throughout the day and limited to prevent overcrowding.

“When the parking lots fill, we’ll just have to stop people at the entrance stations,” RMNP Superintendent Darla Sidles told the county commissioners Tuesday. “That could get very interesting as the weekend comes around and we start seeing a lot more visitors.”

New entry system could be coming: Rocky Mountain National Park proposes entry reservations to limit visitors

Larimer County will open its campgrounds to tents and soft-sided camping units beginning June 1.

All campgrounds at Horsetooth Reservoir, Carter Lake, Pinewood Reservoir, Flatiron Reservoir and Hermit Park Open Space are open.

Cabins and tipis will remain closed out of concern about cleaning them to an appropriate level, said Daylan Figgs, director of Larimer County Natural Resources.

“I see them closed into the foreseeable future,” Figgs said in an interview.

Restroom facilities at campgrounds will be open, but shower houses, group picnic sites and pavilions, and swim beaches will remain closed.

Camping at Carter Lake and Horsetooth Reservoir is limited to eight people per site.

Hermit Park allows a maximum of six people per site.

Park visitors are reminded to practice social distancing by staying at least 6 feet from other visitors and wearing face coverings when distancing is not possible.

Officials at Rocky Mountain National Park are still waiting on approval from the Department of the Interior for their plans to open campgrounds and other facilities at the park beginning June 4.

The plan calls for requiring reservations to drive into the park. Entries would be booked in advance through the website

Entry permits covering two-hour windows would be required between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. Entrance fees could be paid at the time of making reservations.

Initially, 60% of the park’s maximum parking capacity would allocated, or about 4,800 vehicles per day. That would allow about 13,500 visitors per day, park officials say.

If the June 4 opening plan is approved, about half the campsites at Moraine Park and Glacier Basin campgrounds would be available for reservations. Other camping areas would remain closed but might be open later in the summer.

FAQ: Larimer County got the OK for lighter coronavirus restrictions. What does it mean?

Kevin Duggan is a senior columnist and reporter. Contact him at kevinduggan@coloradoan.comSupport his work and that of other Coloradoan journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.

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