‘Know Before You Go’: How to enjoy the outdoors responsibly

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Taken by Walt Altman at Jeffco Open Space Pine Valley Ranch

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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — “Know Before You Go” is the message from federal, state and local agencies to recreate responsibly on Colorado’s public lands.

What to know before you go:

Enjoy and protect shared public lands

  • Do your part to help protect land, wildlife, water and plants. Numerous small disturbances can quickly harm sensitive natural resources and have a lasting impact on shared public lands.
  • Remember to “leave no trace” and be prepared to pack out all trash and dog waste when receptacles aren’t available.

Be courteous and inclusive

  • Visitors of all identities and abilities deserve respect and courtesy while recreating outdoors.

Plan visits ahead of time and know your limits

  • Don’t take unnecessary risks. Look at the weather forecast, and trail and trailhead information.
  • Visit public lands with a friend or a family member.
  • Tell people where you’re going and when you plan on returning.
  • Make sure to bring food and water.
  • Wear appropriate clothing and shoes for cold, wet or changing weather conditions.

Don’t park illegally at full trailheads and follow all rules and regulations

  • Have an alternate plan in case the parking lot is full. Parks and trails are generally less crowded on weekdays.
  • Trailhead parking lots are often full early in the morning on weekends.
  • Take shuttles to popular recreation areas, if available.
  • Review agency rules and regulations before heading to the trailhead as individual areas may have special restrictions or guidelines.

Continue to follow all public health guidance and requirements

  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Remember to “keep the space in open space” by maintaining 6 feet of distance from people not in your household.
  • While no longer required, it’s recommended you bring a face covering with you because it’s not always possible to maintain 6 feet of physical distance outdoors.

Stay on trail and walk through mud

  • Stay on trail and walk through mud.
  • If you need to step off-trail to let others pass, avoid stepping on vegetation. Step back on trail immediately after people pass you.
  • Please don’t travel off trail.
  • Help protect sensitive wildlife habitats by staying out of wildlife closure areas.

Plan before you go – find trail maps and critical advisories:

Download trail apps:

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