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With visitation to Pikes Peak region parks and trails expected to increase over the next several weeks, a group of six federal, state and local Colorado land managers remind visitors to recreate responsibly on area public lands. Recreating outdoors is an important way of life for all Coloradans, and public land agencies need everyone’s cooperation to help them sustain enjoyable outdoor experiences and preserve natural areas for future generations.

Public land agencies with lands in Colorado’s Pikes Peak region remind visitors to “know before you go” — plan ahead and remember essential responsible recreation guidelines throughout the summer:

• Enjoy and protect shared public lands. With visitation continuing to increase, the agencies remind visitors to do their 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” (lnt.org) and be prepared to pack out all trash and dog waste when receptacles aren’t available.

• Be courteous and inclusive. People visit trails and public lands for many reasons, including emotional and physical well-being and spending time with friends and family members. Visitors of all identities and abilities deserve respect and courtesy while recreating outdoors.

• 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. Mountain biking and off-highway vehicle use on muddy trails will damage the trail — please come back when trails are dry.

• 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, such as passing others on a narrow trail.

This is a joint release from these public land agencies (check out critical advisories and trail maps before you head into the wild): 

• Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services: coloradosprings.gov/parks

• Colorado Springs Utilities: csu.org/Pages/Recreation.aspx

• El Paso County Parks and Recreation: communityservices.elpasoco.com/parks-and-recreation

• Colorado Parks and Wildlife: cpw.state.co.us

• U.S. Bureau of Land Management: blm.gov/office/royal-gorge-field-office

• U.S. Forest Service: tinyurl.com/fs-21-summer

Download the free COTREX trail app, developed with support from the state, Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Great Outdoors Colorado (available from Apple and Google stores).