Soak up Summer with Responsible Outdoor Recreation

CPW Photo

DENVER – As people gear up for summer outdoor adventures, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) wants to encourage state park visitors to act as stewards for Colorado’s land, wildlife and water by balancing outdoor recreation with mindful conservation.

Below are a few expert outdoor safety tips on how to coexist with wildlife and recreate responsibly to keep landscapes healthy and thriving.

Know Before You Go:

Plan your outdoor adventure based on the weather forecast and your skill level. If the area you want to explore has bad weather or appears too difficult, help yourself and our outdoor first responders by changing your outdoor plan to avoid hazardous conditions.

Plan your visit with the Colorado State Parks Guide (el folleto de parques en Español).
Use the Park Finder Tool to discover outdoor activities at each state park.
Camping reservations are required at Colorado state parks.
Find park events, classes and festivals on the CPW Events Calendar.
Download the COTREX app to discover Colorado’s expansive network of trails.
Check out a free state park pass and backpack from a Colorado public library.

CPW Courtesy Photo

Be Safe on the Water:

Life jackets save lives. Last year was the deadliest year in Colorado waters, and the majority of fatalities occurred because people did not wear a life jacket.
Wear a life jacket. Accidents on the water happen too fast to reach and put on a stowed life jacket.
Be aware of weather and water conditions.
Protect yourself from the dangers of cold water shock. Regardless of your age or experience level, cold water can quickly create a drowning emergency.
Paddle boards and kayaks are considered vessels, and life jacket requirements apply.
Follow boating speed limits and maintain a proper lookout to avoid hitting floating debris in waterways.
Take a Boating Safety Class.
Get a safety inspection of your vessel.
Boat sober. Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boating deaths.
Help prevent the spread of Aquatic Nuisance Species by keeping your vessel clean, drained and dry, and by utilizing the green seal program.
Check out the map of Statewide Watercraft Inspection and Decontamination Sites in Colorado.

Trash the Trash:

Together, we can trash the trash. Always dispose of trash properly when on the trail.
Pack it in, pack it out. Whatever you bring into the outdoors, take it out with you.
Don’t leave a pet waste baggie on the trail. Even if you mean to pick it up on your way out. People forget, and that pet waste is not just unsightly but disruptive to wildlife.
Bring along plastic grocery bags to carry trash when trash cans are not available or full.

Keep Wildlife Wild:

Many species call Colorado home, making it the perfect destination for wildlife enthusiasts to catch a glimpse of nature at its finest.
Do not feed or approach young wildlife.
Be bear aware on trails and while camping.
Keep dogs leashed on dog-friendly trails.
If you see wildlife that appears sick or injured, leave it alone. Call a Colorado Parks and Wildlife office and talk to a trained wildlife officer for guidance.
Watch or photograph animals from a safe distance to avoid startling them or forcing them to flee.

Be Careful with Fire:

Although parts of Colorado have received moisture in the last month, drought conditions are still present and impact if summer campfires are allowed or restricted.
Check fire restrictions or bans at
Use designated campfire areas when allowed and available.
Never bring fireworks to public lands or ignite them on trails, campsites or other areas.
Keep campfires small and manageable.
Put fires out with water until you can touch the embers.
Never leave a campfire unattended and report campfires that have been left burning.
Avoid parking or driving on dry grass. Check your tire pressure, exhaust pipes and if chains or exposed wheel rims are dragging from your vehicle that may create sparks.

Join us in keeping Colorado, Colorado. Read more about the Keep Colorado Wild Pass and how it benefits Colorado’s wildlife and state parks at: and

Filed Under: EntertainmentEnvironmentHealthHolidayLetters to the EditorMedia ReleasePublic SafetyRecreationSportsTourism


About the Author: