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Larimer County plans phased opening of campgrounds after coronavirus closures

Kevin Duggan
Fort Collins Coloradoan
Published 2:59 PM EDT Apr 21, 2020

Larimer County residents with camping reservations at Carter Lake and Horsetooth Reservoir will be able to start using them this weekend.

The county’s Department of Natural Resources plans to open its campgrounds for the season in phases tied to the gradual lifting of state and county stay-at-home orders related to the coronavirus pandemic, Natural Resources Director Daylan Figgs told the county commissioners Monday.

The first phase launches Friday. Camping at Carter Lake and Horsetooth Reservoir will be limited to one campground at each of the popular destinations. 

About 30 campsites will be available at the Carter Lake campground and around 20 will be available at the Horsetooth Reservoir campground, Figgs said.

Only Larimer County residents with reservations already in the county’s reservation system will be allowed to camp, and only hard-sided campers may be used; no tents will be allowed.

A man fishes from the banks at Horsetooth Reservoir in Fort Collins, Colo. on Monday, April 20, 2020.
Bethany Baker / The Coloradoan

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Restrooms and shower facilities will be closed. Picnic tables would be roped off to discourage people from congregating.

While boat ramps are open, marinas and concessions will stay closed at Carter Lake and Horsetooth Reservoir. Pinewood Reservoir, Flatiron Reservoir and Hermit Park will remain closed.

When restrictions imposed by public health orders ease, a second phase would open additional campgrounds to those with reservations regardless of where they live. Restrooms would likely remain closed, and only hard-sided campers would be allowed.

Depending on restrictions, a third phase would allow campers who don’t currently have reservations to make them and additional campgrounds would open.

A man fishes from the banks at Horsetooth Reservoir in Fort Collins, Colo. on Monday, April 20, 2020.
Bethany Baker / The Coloradoan

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Activity at county-run open spaces and day-use areas has returned to normal levels after seeing a boost in numbers a couple of weeks ago, Figgs said. Rangers and other Natural Resources crews are contacting hikers and other recreationists about safe social-distancing practices.

“The lid’s back on the pot,” Figgs said. “There for a while, it felt like it was bubbling off a little bit. Now it seems like everything is pretty much getting back to a normal routine of where people are.”

U.S. Forest Service campgrounds and picnic areas are closed through May 31. Hiking trails are open, but restrooms at trailheads are closed.

Kevin Duggan is a senior columnist and reporter. Contact him at Support his work and that of other Coloradoan journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.

This content was originally published here.