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Golden closing all access to Clear Creek because of crowds, lack of social distancing

Posted at 4:39 PM, Aug 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-21 10:33:36-04

GOLDEN, Colo. -- The City of Golden is switching up their plans for the use of Clear Creek.

On Monday, city officials told Denver7 they were doing a good job balancing recreation and public health by only limiting creek access in the city and allowing tubers to access the creek from JeffCo Open Space land.

Now, the city says that’s not the case anymore and they're closing all recreation use in the creek on Aug. 24.

"We’ve been collecting the amount of contacts with the police department and in this last weekend, the police made over 900 contacts with people not wearing masks, not practicing social distancing," said Deputy City Manager Carly Lorentz.

That's up 400 contacts from the previous week.

So now, more signs will be posted alongside the creek telling tubers to pull out before entering city limits or face a possible citation. For some people visiting town, the city’s decision is understandable but feels unnecessary.

"I would think more people would go to a restaurant and be in closer proximity that maybe have a health issue going on versus being outside and doing something active like jogging, hiking, biking, tubing, any of that," said Jennifer Lafleur.

Golden River Sports manager, Kyle Perkins, supports the city’s plan, saying water levels were going down anyway.

"We weren’t all that surprised, there’s been a lot of people and the water is so low that we were really going to only make it another week or two," said Perkins.

But low water levels are perfect for Nik White, who owns Whitewater Workshop and teaches white water kayaking.

"This is exactly the time of year that I would want beginners here in the creek where the river is not really raging," White said. "It’s easy to go and have some places to work on skills."

The city says the state gave them the legal power to close down the creek but they still want people to come and visit.

Golden Police Chief Bill Kilpatrick said police are enacting temporary waterway restrictions, which prohibits the operation of vessels like all single-chambered air inflated devices such as belly boats, inner tubes, single chambered rafts, body surfing, swimming, as well as all kayaks, whitewater canoes, multi-chambered river boards and more in Clear Creek.

For many in Golden, summer is setting sooner than expected.