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We're back with open space from Dan Burke, OSMP director.
There was no howling in my 'hood tonight. Fair-weather howlers, all of 'em.
"We continue to experience summertime visitation," Burke says. 6 of 7 last days were higher than usual: except for Sunday, when it snowed.
Weekdays still less busy than weekends, but still high.
Aside from COVID, trail conditions are not ideal for high traffic, Burke says.
BUT a lot more social distancing and masks on trails in the last week: "At our less visited areas, non-compliance is estimated at around 10%. At our busier sites, there are certain locations and times when non-compliance can be as high as 25-30%"
That's per the staff presentation
OK, those numbers were for social distancing only. Mask use is still low, particularly among the youths. YOUTHS!!
Despite more compliance, Burke says, there are still issues OSMP will continue to focus on.
From the presentation about what other open space agencies are doing: No system closures seem to be on the horizon.
They are instead, like Boulder, focusing on education and other strategies to increase social distancing, mask wearing.
BUT some agencies are closing trails when parking lots have filled.
"They're very labor intensive," Burke says, and didn't show much benefit.
Boulder IS considering weekend or targeted closures: Flagstaff Mountain is a top candidate (in partnership with Boulder County)
Burke just pronounced Bobolink as BAWbah-link.
I always thought it was BO BO and in Bobo's Oat Bars (for pronunciation sake)

I feel like a fool.
Anyway, back to Flagstaff closures: "It's being contemplated to address a few Dif things:" significant crowding and vandalism at Walker Ranch open space, Burke says. County reached out to Boulder to ask about a closure.
It would also address issues Boulder is having with lack of social distancing atop Flagstaff.
Brockett q: Is the idea to close the base of the road just past Chautauqua to everything but... ? what local traffic, bikes and beds?
That's the idea, Burke says.
Wallach: Are we seeing any trail degradation from the traffic?
Yes, Burke says.
"I think that's really twofold: high visitation happens all through the summer, so I don't want to point it just to that."

It's the muddy season right now, Burke says. That makes a difference.
"You have more ppl stepping off trail — rightly so — to create that 6 ft of difference."
Burke: We'll have to put more focus on routine maintenance and restoration than we normally would.
Swetlik: Are we going to have the ability and staff capacity to do that work, given furloughs?
That depends on our 2021 workplan, Burke says. "It's a reshuffling; we definitely will have less capacity, at least for the next 9-12 weeks."

Our focus "probably needs to be on this type of maintenance" vs trail re-routes or new trail construction.
Swetlik: What's your suggestion for ppl trying to social distance, as opposed to stepping off trail?
Burke: "Stay at home, first and foremost."
Try to recreate at home, where you can walk, where you can bike.
Peak times are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Spikes are happening even with ppl trying to be conscious, Burke says.
As far as stepping off trail: "We understand that may be the only way to get that 6 feet. We just don't want to create a trend in that way."
"We just ask that when this is over, get back to staying on trail at all times," he says.
Yates: We've got 46,000 acres of open space, hundreds of trails. A lot of our problems are in our most popular trails. Ppl could research online and go to lesser-known trails.

Yes, Burke says, plugging…
They have mapped what trails are 6" or wider and which ones are more popular or less popular.

Over 21,000 visits to that site in March, Burke says.
I'mma wrap this one, too. I feel like my threads have been kinda lengthy lately.

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