Waterton Canyon closes outdoor recreation during coronavrius outbreak

Waterton Canyon, a popular recreation area for fishing, running, biking, horseback riding and wildlife viewing, has been closed to the public by Denver Water because of the coronavirus.

The recreation area begins near Chatfield Reservoir and extends 6.5 miles up a canyon to the Strontia Springs Dam on a dirt road beside the South Platte River. Because the road is narrow, it doesn’t not allow for much dispersal of people.

“It’s no secret that Waterton Canyon is one of the most popular outdoor recreation amenities for Coloradans and tourists alike,” said Joe Salas, a spokesman for Denver Water. “But as a key Denver Water operational facility, the No. 1 priority of this working facility is to store and send water to two of Denver’s three drinking water treatment plants. The narrow road is vital for Denver Water employees to access the canyon facilities and Strontia Springs Reservoir. It also happens to double as a canyon trail for recreationists. This means we need to limit exposure to our crews working in the canyon.”

Salas said more than 1,000 people went to the canyon last Sunday, most of them between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and that when wildlife is present, people sometimes congregate in groups.

This closure follows the governor’s Sunday announcement that he would enforce a week-long, statewide ban on downhill skiing. Statewide and local gathering bans are in place across the state.

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