Be Aware- Recreate with Care in Spring

The spring season is a time when the snow starts to melt and the flowers start to bloom. It's also a time when we need to be extra careful with our recreation around Durango. Here are some tips to help you enjoy the spring season while being aware and recreating with care.

Things to Consider

The snow is melting and the rivers are rising. Be aware of your surroundings and be sure to stay on trail. Here are some things to consider when playing outside this spring:

Know and Respect the Fire Restrictions

Before you head out on your next camping trip, be sure to check the fire restrictions for the area you will be visiting. These restrictions are in place to help prevent human-caused wildfires. In most cases, campfires and charcoal grills are not allowed on US Forest Service land.

For more information, always check the US Forest Service website before considering a campfire of any kind.

Pack Out Your Waste, TP, and Litter

Litter is also a big problem in our springtime recreation areas.

We all know to pack out our trash, but did you know that you should also pack out your toilet paper and human waste? That's right, even your biodegradable stuff.

Please be sure to pack out all of your trash, including toilet paper and cigarette butts. If you see litter while you are out, please pick it up and pack it out.

Stick to the Trail

When exploring Durango's incredible trail system, please stay on the marked and designated trails. Walking off-trail can damage fragile vegetation and soils. It also creates new social trails which can lead to erosion problems.

Switchbacks are an important part of trail design. They help reduce erosion by spreading out the impact of foot traffic. They also help protect against overuse by allowing for a more gradual elevation gain.

Please do not shortcut switchbacks!

Know the Trail Conditions

Before you head out on your next hike, be sure to check the trail conditions. Trails can be slippery and dangerous when they are wet. Be sure to check the weather forecast and trail conditions before you go.

If you come across a muddy section of trail, please walk through it, rather than around it. This will help prevent the trail from widening and becoming more eroded.

Be a Responsible Pet Owner

Know and respect the leash laws with your furry friend. It's important to keep in mind that these regulations vary based on location.

Furthermore, when you're strolling with your animal friend, always remember to pick up their waste and carry it away with you. It's inconsiderate to fellow nature-goers and unacceptable to leave poop bags at the trailhead– especially considering that most local businesses and trails have free dog bag dispensers.

Know The Proper Trail Etiquette

Remember to follow trail etiquette by being respectful of others, yielding to those going uphill, keeping your speed under control, and putting your pets on a leash (when required).

Also, be considerate of how loud you are. People use the trails for different reasons and some might want peace and quiet early in the morning or later at night. This means not using portable or backpack speakers.

Be Bear Aware

We have a healthy population of black bears in the Durango area. While they are usually afraid of humans, they can become aggressive if we make them feel threatened or comfortable around us.

To avoid an encounter with a bear:

  • Make sure to store your food and trash properly (in a bear-proof container if possible)
  • Never leave food or trash out in the open
  • Don't approach or try to feed bears


Be High-Altitude Aware

If you are not used to the high altitudes in Durango, please be aware that it can take a few days for your body to adjust.

To help prevent altitude sickness:

  • Drink plenty of water (at least 3 liters per day)
  • Eat a high-carb diet
  • Avoid alcohol


Watch for signs of altitude sickness, which include:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Headache


If you start to experience any of these symptoms, descend to a lower elevation as soon as possible.

Know and Respect the Weather

Before you head out, check the weather conditions and be prepared for whatever may come!

In the spring, we can have a wide range of weather conditions, including snowstorms, thunderstorms, high winds, and more. Be sure to dress in layers so that you can easily add or remove clothing as needed.

Take the Care for Durango Pledge



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