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The Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland will open the Brainard Lake Recreation Area for the summer season with social distancing measures in an effort to help slow the coronavirus pandemic, according to a release.

The Brainard Lake Recreation Area encompasses around 3,000 acres of higher elevation forest and is the most popular destination in the Boulder Ranger District. During the peak summer season, parking lots for the area are often filled by 9 a.m., the release states.

To encourage social distancing, these parking lots will be permitted to fill at a maximum of 80% capacity with a scheduled entry system, which can be viewed on the Brainard Lake Recreation Area webpage,”]. The 298 available parking spots will be reduced to 238.

The plan also includes scheduled entry times when visitors will be able to enter the area until lots fill to capacity. Those times are 6 a.m., 10:30 a.m., noon, and 1:30 p.m.

“This plan will allow staff to focus on needs, such as increased frequency of restroom cleaning, as opposed to managing traffic congestion issues,” the release states.

These changes do not affect visitors with reservations at the Pawnee Campground or permits for overnight use in the Indian Peaks Wilderness.

Visitors to the area are urged to follow CDC and local public health guidelines. More information can be found at

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