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The city of Boulder and Boulder County are reminding hikers to stay on open space trails and walk through mud as increasing visitation and off-trail traffic around muddy areas is leading to increased path widening and plant damage.

If visitors need to maintain physical distance on narrow trails both due to COVID-19 concerns, the city and the county request community members follow several guidelines.

Hikers should avoid stepping on vegetation and if possible, step onto a rock or a bare spot to let others pass, then step back on the trail. Politely announce yourself if you need to pass others. If no one else is around hikers should, “get muddy” and stay on muddy trails, according to a news release. Traveling off trail, whether hiking, running, or biking, can permanently damage vegetation and widen trails.

Open space rangers have seen increased instances of anger from visitors, and ask that visitors support and protect rangers by following all rules and regulations, giving them 6 feet of physical distance and recognizing the challenges they and other first responders are facing during the pandemic. Additionally, stepped up enforcement of parking and crowding issues continues, and open space trail closures may be considered if needed.

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