The following is a letter from Parks, Recreation and Cultural Service Director Karen Palus to the Colorado Springs Community.
Update 3/26/2020 - Parks, trails and open spaces are open per the governor’s Stay-at-Home order. However, this does not mean you should use these spaces as you normally would. If you choose to participate in responsible outdoor recreation, please adhere to the following at all times:
- Playgrounds, pavilions and other gathering spaces are closed. These areas are considered high risk for increasing transmission.
- No organized group recreation. This includes sharing of equipment (like a basketball). All gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason other than critical business or government functions are banned per the Stay-at-Home order.
To those who love, use and support our city’s unparalleled park system:
Perhaps now more than ever, parks, trails and open spaces are providing our community with a much-needed benefit to sustain both our physical and mental health. These are the places that are helping us all cope with the uncertainty of this public health crisis that has disrupted our daily lives and left us feeling stuck inside.
Our commitment to you is to keep these areas accessible, maintained and benefiting our community as long as it’s responsible to do so. However, in order to do this, we all need to do our part to use these areas in a way that respects each other and public health guidance.
This means we need to use these areas differently than we normally do, even if it feels different or overly cautious.
It means that playing pickup team sports, particularly contact sports, is not responsible at this time. It means respecting people’s space. It means not touching shared sports equipment, including balls or bats or rackets.
It means paying extra attention to personal hygiene, refraining from touching surfaces that are likely touched by others and staying home if you are sick.
It also means physical distancing in all instances. 6 feet. Practice it and know what it looks like. In many instances, this means creating a single-file line.
If you approach other folks enjoying their time outside, offer a wave and some communication and discuss the best way to pass by. You may be at a very tight and constricted part of a trail, we urge you to make the safest decision for the circumstance.
Please understand that we know this is hard. It’s hard for the moms who are having to walk by playground equipment with crying children who don’t understand. It’s hard for kids whose sport seasons have been cut short. It’s hard to give up the comradery of playing team sports. This is hard for all of us.
So, Olympic City USA, let’s play. But, let’s play by the rules. The new rules.
In all instances, the following guidance should be followed:
- Do not use parks, trails and open spaces if you are exhibiting symptoms. If you or your children are experiencing symptoms, it’s important to stay home when sick.
- Follow the CDC’s guidance on personal hygiene prior to and during use of parks or trails. Bring hand sanitizer with you to clean your hands if soap and water are not available.
- No organized group activities are allowed. This includes activities involving physical contact or sharing of equipment.
- While on trails, warn other users of your presence before you pass, and step aside to let others pass. Signal your presence with your voice, bell or horn.
- Observe the minimum recommended physical social distancing of 6 feet from other individuals outside your immediate family. If this is not possible, users should find an alternate location or depart that space. In many cases, especially on trails, this may mean creating a single-file line. If this is not possible, find an alternate location or depart that space.
- Bring a suitable trash bag. Leave no trace, take everything out to protect park workers.
- Do not touch any surfaces that are likely to be touched by other people. Playgrounds, pavilions and other gathering places are closed. Staff will be applying disinfectant weekly to all playground equipment. The product is EnvirOx H2Orange2. Its active ingredients are hydrogen peroxide and orange oil.
- Users may find public restrooms closed. Be prepared before you leave and time outings so that you are not dependent on public restrooms.
- Bring water or drinks. Public drinking fountains may be disabled and should not be used, even if operable.
Taking all of this into account, we anticipate an increase in outdoor recreation, so the need for us to communicate with other users is more important than ever. Say hello, offer a wave and support each other during this time. Maybe it can carry over to when we all get back to a more normal way of life.
Along with checking the city’s website, you can also call 719-575-8888 for general public information related to COVID-19 in our community.
Remember, responsible park use is a great way we can all be #DoingMyPartCO.
Other ways to engage with the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department
- Follow us for digital programming and contests on our social media channels, including a photo bracket challenge and ideas for socially-distant activities both on and off park properties. We are on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
- Check out the digital exhibits and Children’s History Hour presented by the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum.
- Take a drive to the summit of Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain. As always, call ahead for the latest weather conditions. Modifications include: online ticket purchases only (ie. you can’t purchase a ticket at the gate) and all gift shops, including the Summit House, are closed. Restroom facilities are available in locations along the highway, but not on the summit.
Thank you for your help respecting our park infrastructure, playing your own role in keeping our community safe, and for so quickly adapting to this changing environment. Enjoy the outdoors but continue to follow the guidance set forth by our health department.
Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Director, City of Colorado Springs