DENVER (CBS4) – Leaf peeping season is in full swing and Colorado Parks and Wildlife wants to make sure the people who drawn to the most scenic trails and parks leave no trace.
“As we head into peak leaf-peeping season, it’s one of the busiest times of the year at our park,” Todd Farrow, Park Manager at Golden Gate Canyon State Park, said in a news release earlier this month.
“We ask that people plan ahead, watch out for people and wildlife crossing slowly on roads and park in designated parking areas to avoid damaging vegetation.”
CPW listed a number of ways to make sure you enjoy your outing by first planning for your trip. It suggests using the CPW Park Finder to explore the 42 state parks and find out about any park or trail closures.
Rangers say if a parking area is full, don’t hang around, just move on the next designated parking area. Parking in undesignated areas destroys vegetation and you could become an unwelcome trend setter.
Even though you may be tempted to get off the beaten path, CPW says don’t. Sticking to designated trails helps natural areas stay natural and healthy for future generations.
Take only memories and pictures when you leave. Carving and hacking plants is also a very bad idea, it disfigures and can even kill them.
Chances are you’ll be taking along snacks and water. Make sure you have bags to carry everything out — that includes poop bags for any dogs joining you on your hike. If you can’t find trash cans, take everything back to your vehicle. You could even add some extra bags to clean up for others who are not as thoughtful.
CPW also says it’s important not to approach or feed wildlife, under the mantra of “Keep Wildlife Wild.” Slow down on roads to avoid colliding with wildlife. This is also the time of year bears are hunting for food as they prepare for hibernation so stay aware to avoid encounters.
It’s also important to be aware of moose. Colorado has had an increase in dangerous conflicts this year.
Also, make sure to keep dogs on a leash.
CPW says this is one of the busiest times of year so make sure to share the trails by being patient and courteous. Trail etiquette means yield to bikers and hikers going uphill.
“We want everyone to have a great time experiencing the vibrant colors and the natural wonders our beautiful state has to offer,” said Farrow. “No matter where you plan to peep- be respectful of our natural resources, park staff and your fellow recreationists out searching for Colorado gold.”