During this “pandemic year,” Colorado residents have been reminded of something we have known for a long time: getting outdoors is healthy for you. We’ve written about the health benefits of outdoor adventures, in general, and of fly fishing specifically, many times over the last few years. Whether it is physical or mental, emotional or spiritual, outdoor adventures does a person good.
This year, visitors and tourists have tapped into the Colorado outdoors in unprecedented numbers. State parks saw an increase of more than 30% in usage and city parks, open spaces, and federal lands were similarly accessed. And adventures don’t have to stop because the temperatures start to drop. Colorado does, indeed, offer a winter wonderland.
Governor Jared Polis has declared the week of December 7 as Colorado Backcountry Winter Safety Awareness Week. We at Angler’s Covey stands behind this declaration 100%. While our fly fishing opportunities in the backcountry pretty much get iced out and frozen over, we support the efforts for safe and healthy exploration of Colorado’s natural resources in all seasons.
With the current conditions from COVID-19, adventure-seekers are showing an unprecedented interest in backcountry experiences: snowmobiling, showshoeing, fat biking and hut trips, along with cross-country and backcountry skiing. Outdoor enthusiasts pursuing these adventures need to be aware of two potential risks: impact on the resources and personal safety (see our past blogs on proper layering and hypothermia risks).
A wide and diverse group of stakeholders –– Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Great Outdoors Colorado, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, tribal partners, and local land managers –– have partnered to encourage outdoor enthusiasts to commit to three principles outlined in the Colorado Backcountry Winter Safety Pledge: Know Before You Go, Recreate Responsibly, and Care for Colorado. A special shout-out to the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics in founding the Care for Colorado Coalition and partnering with the Colorado Tourism Office. As one of the many members in the outdoor recreation industry, and as year-round outdoor enthusiasts ourselves, we fully support these principles:
- Know Before You Go (know your destination, hire a guide or mentor)
- Recreate Responsibly
- Care for Colorado (Leave No Trace after your experience!).
The Colorado Tourism Office has created a full menu of resources to support the outdoor enthusiast pursuing Colorado’s backcountry adventures. Check out the “basecamp” of resources here: Come to Life Colorado.
Watch this blog space and check out our Facebook page for updates throughout Colorado Backcountry Winter Safety Week, December 7 – December 13, 2020.
Best Practice 1: Know Before You Go / Choose Your Destination Wisely
Best Practice 2: Recreate Responsibly/Avoid Activities Beyond Your Skill Level
Best Practice 3: Care for Colorado / Trash the Trash
Best Practice 4: Know Before You Go / Check Avalanche Information Center
Best Practice 5: Recreate Responsibly / Bring the Proper Safety Equipment
Best Practice 6: Keep Wildlife Wild
Best Practice 7: Take The Pledge
#KnowBeforeYouGo #LiveLifeOutside #RecreateResponsibly #CareForColorado