Show You Care for Colorado: Spring into Responsible Outdoor Recreation

By Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Department of Natural Resources April 17, 2023

With winter coming to a close, outdoor enthusiasts are preparing for the next cycle of seasonal outdoor opportunities that Colorado offers.

Coloradans and visitors play an integral role in keeping our landscapes healthy, living in harmony with wildlife, and making the outdoors inclusive and welcoming to all.

This spring, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) encourages state park visitors to act as stewards for the state’s land, wildlife, and water by balancing outdoor recreation with mindful conservation.  

Below are a few expert outdoor tips on how to recreate responsibly and help avoid search and rescue scenarios.  

Know Before You Go 

Be aware of constantly changing weather conditions and water temperatures. Early spring brings melting snowpacks and thin ice on the water.  

  • Check the CAIC avalanche forecast and ice conditions
  • Change your outdoor adventure based on the weather forecast, if needed, and avoid hazardous conditions. 
  • Be aware of seasonal closures of public lands that were extended through April.  
  • Stay hydrated. Bring more water than you think you (and your pet) will need. 

Stick to Trails 

Melting snow leaves trails and vegetation more open to damage. Be sure to stick to trails and walk in the middle of the trail — even if it's wet, muddy, slushy, or icy — to avoid erosion and damage to trailside plants.

  • Trail etiquette is social etiquette. Yield to uphill hikers and bikers, be friendly and considerate when needing to pass, and keep control of your pets on the trail. 
  • Use the CPW Park Finder Tool to discover outdoor activities at each state park and learn about trail closures. 
  • Download the COTREX app to find a list of trail maps. 
  • Wear appropriate footwear — like insulated, waterproof hiking boots — so you can stick to trails even in wet and muddy conditions.

Keep Wildlife Wild

Spring can be a particularly sensitive time for wildlife since many species are nesting, having their young, or coming out of hibernation. 

Leave It as You Found It

Conservation starts small, and every individual can take proactive steps to reduce their impact on our natural resources.  

  • Don’t pick flowers. They can help the bees and other pollinators.
  • Treat all living things with respect. Carving or hacking plants and trees may kill or disfigure them.
  • Pack it in, pack it out. Whatever you bring into the outdoors, take it out with you. This includes food waste, toilet paper, and dog waste bags.

Read more about the Keep Colorado Wild Pass and how it benefits Colorado’s wildlife and the great outdoors.