Mountain communities increase enforcement as non-local visits spike

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CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — People continue to flock to the high country despite warnings from local law enforcement and the statewide stay-at-home order.

Bruce Snelling, Clear Creek County Undersheriff, says their deputies have made contact with about 50 non-residents on Saturdays and Sundays since the order went into effect. This Saturday, that number jumped to around 200.

“We planned for it and that’s why you put additional staff just to deal with it,” said Snelling.

Snelling says extra deputies will continue to monitor popular trails and county roads through the weekend and into the week as the statewide stay-at-home order expires.

“We can be overrun rather quickly and for the last couple weeks when people come up on the weekend, we are,” said Snelling.

He says it’s not only a matter of enforcing a state order, but also minimizing potential risk to the public.

“We don’t have a hospital, have limited resources when it comes to ambulances and first responders. We have a lot of volunteers that work the fire department and alpine rescue,” said Snelling.

He estimates about 98 percent of people using their trails at this time are not from the county, and most are from the front range.

“We had a number of increased complaints from our citizens. The citizens want us to do stronger enforcement so really it’s a balancing act for the sheriff’s office,” said Snelling.

Snelling says there is currently no hard expiration date for the county’s local order. He expects a decision will be made by early May.

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