Beach, Beach, Beach: State Park Swimming Areas Closed This Weekend

Lake Pueblo State Park looks lovely, but stay out of the water!
Lake Pueblo State Park looks lovely, but stay out of the water! Colorado Parks & Wildlife
While most Colorado State Parks are open for recreation and even camping — with special guidelines because of the coronavirus pandemic — one amenity is definitely not available this holiday weekend: beaches and swimming areas at those parks.

They were closed before the very social, unsocial-distanced gatherings at Boulder Creek on May 19, which Governor Jared Polis singled out at a press conference the next day.  "This is not a vacation," he said. "This is a global pandemic, and we need to treat it as such."

But the scenes captured on video at Eben G. Fine Park, an area managed by the City of Boulder, certainly didn't make a case for further opening state parks for wide-open action.

While many of the state's beaches and swimming areas typically open over Memorial Day weekend, this year they remain closed until further notice. According to Colorado Parks & Wildlife, here are the beaches and swimming areas off limits over Memorial Day weekend:

Boyd Lake State Park
Chatfield State Park
Cherry Creek State Park
Elkhead Reservoir State Park
Highline Lake State Park
James M. Robb - Island Acres
John Martin Reservoir State Park
Lake Pueblo State Park
Lathrop State Park
North Sterling State Park
Ridgway State Park
Stagecoach State Park
Steamboat Lake State Park

While swimming areas and beaches at state parks are closed, boating is allowed. "We recommend people go boating in their local area and do not travel to go boating," says Bridget Kochel, CPW spokesperson. "Boaters also need to comply with all CDPHE requirements to stop the spread of COVID-19."

Under the state's safer-at-home program, Polis still advises that people stay within ten miles of their home, but there's some wiggle room for recreation and getting out into Colorado's very great outdoors.

"It hasn't been rescinded," says Travis Duncan, CPW public information officer, of the ten-mile advisory. "We're still advising folks to stay as close to home as you can." If you do travel to a state park outside that area, though, you should pack in everything you need so you don't chance spreading the virus to local communities.

"We won't be monitoring your license plates," he notes.

But monitoring beaches and swimming areas? Yes.

If you want to stay out of hot water with the state, stay on dry land Memorial Day weekend.

Find out more about what's open — and what isn't — on the Colorado Parks & Wildlife website
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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun