The summer tubing season appears to becoming to a premature end in Golden.
On Aug. 20, Golden City Manager Jason Slowinski signed an administrative order prohibiting the public from accessing Clear Creek in the city. The city’s previous policy had been to allow those participating in recreation activities to legally get out of the water at Vanover Park if they had entered the creek in unincorporated Jefferson County.
In addition to the administrative order, Golden Police Chief Bill Kilpatrick has also enacted temporary waterway restrictions prohibiting the operation of vessels in Clear Creek, including all inner tubes, belly boats and other single-chambered flotation devices.
City staff made decided to reverse course and close the creek to recreation because of an increasing lack of compliance with social distance rules observed among those participating in creek activities, according to the release. On the weekend of Aug. 15 and 16, Golden Police and park rangers made over 900 contacts with people who they observed not following COVID-19-related city mandates.
“We are seeing an increase in individuals trying to access the creek within the city limits, a decrease in those wearing masks, and a lot of gatherings that we presume would be in violation of public health orders,” Slowinski said in the city’s release. “This past weekend was far worse than each of the previous weekends and I believe that the status quo is not acceptable and more aggressive action is necessary.”
The portions of the creek located in unincorporated Jefferson County will remain open to water activities. However, according to the release, barriers will be put into place, along with signage, to ensure tubers and other waterway visitors must exit the creek before reaching Golden’s city limits. Anyone who trespasses into the creek or on the banks, including at Vanover Park, will face a possible citation.
The release stated the city has spoken with local businesses that rent out water equipment and will allow them to operate through the weekend before the full closure goes into effect on Aug. 24. The restrictions will remain in effect indefinitely.