Concerns Over Continued Overuse of Trails

Local officials are expressing increasing concern about the continued overuse of local trails and open space during the current Coronavirus pandemic.

An image taken from the Boulder County Parks & Open Space Facebook page shows recent overcrowding at local trailheads leading to illegal parking on the roadway.

During the Boulder City Council meeting of April 7th, council members heard from city staff monitoring local trails that only 25 to 30 percent of users were wearing recommended masks.

On Friday, April 10th, several local officials published a letter to the community about use of trails during the current pandemic.

Two of the officials who signed the letter, Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle and Director of Boulder County Parks and Open Space, Eric Lane, join Maeve Conran to talk about the current situation. Tom Hoby, Director of Open Space and Parks in Jefferson County also joins the panel to echo concerns about overuse of trails in JeffCo.

Listen to the panel here:

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Credit: Boulder County Parks & Open Space

Sheriff Pelle says the overuse of certain trails has led to physical altercations over parking and access. Recently the popular Hessie trailhead just west of Eldora saw overflowing parking which Sheriff Pelle says led to some pushing and shoving between trail users and local residents.

Nederland Mayor Kristopher Larsen told the Daily Camera that he has been pressing the U.S. Forest Service to close down the Hessie Trail until the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

Sheriff Pelle says the county is discussing the best strategies for dealing with overuse of certain trails, but he cautions that closing some trails could put additional pressure on other trails that remain open.

Jefferson County has an app that transmits real-time information on seven parking lots within the Jefferson County Open Space system, so people can see which trails are busiest.

Boulder County has a similar app that gives users real time information on trails.

Related KGNU Coverage:

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