Clear Creek in Golden will be indefinitely closed starting on Monday, August 24 due to large crowds of tubers and other waterway recreators ignoring masks and social distancing regulations.
The City of Golden originally closed off access to Clear Creek in July. The creek itself remained open with recreators entering the water west of city limits and exiting the creek at Vanover Park. However, not all COVID-19 guidelines were not being followed along the creek and within downtown areas.
According to the City of Golden, police made contact with more than 500 individuals in one weekend (August 1-2) related to mask requirements and violated creek access. A total of six citations were issued, which included for cutting of the fence and climbing over it.
As a result, the City of Golden will tighten its closure of Clear Creek access within city limits. Temporary waterway restrictions will be enacted on Monday, prohibiting the operation of vessels in Clear Creek including all single-chambered air inflated devices such as belly boats, inner tubes, single chambered rafts, body surfing, and swimming as well as kayaks, whitewater canoes, and multi-chambered river boards.
City officials say they have been busy "counting mask order compliance twice a day, every day" with an average compliance of 88%. In addition to mask compliance, officials say they have also been monitoring the area with "photos and drone video footage" to see if gatherings are taking place.
Vanover Park, which is located just before the Coors property, will also no longer be used as a point of exit. Signage and barriers to be placed in the area warn of a possible citation for trespassing into the creek and banks.
Local businesses will be allowed close out the weekend with rentals of water gear before the full closure goes into effect on Monday, August 24.
Clear Creek is not the only outdoor recreation area struggling to control summer crowds. In effort to limit the spread of COVID-19, reservations are now being required for popular destinations such as the Maroon Bells Scenic Area, the Manitou Incline, and Rocky Mountain National Park.