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Denver-area residents flock to Jefferson County causing heavy traffic at park entrances

Packed parks in Jefferson County
Posted at 10:10 AM, Jul 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-05 12:10:20-04

MORRISON — JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — The perfect July 4th celebration was a little harder to come by this Independence Day weekend. With social distancing closing popular gathering places and events being canceled to slow the spread of COVID-19, many in the Denver area headed to the mountains.

"At this point turn around," scoffed Ricky Alarcon who was looking for a place to relax with his wife in Lair O' the Bear Park outside of Morrison. "It is absolute madness."

Visitors to Lair O' the Bear Park were left circling the small parking lot for up to an hour before finding a spot. Many parked down the street and walked in.

Another family, tired of waiting for an open table, found a park bench, and made it a picnic table.

"Everybody should just make the best with what they got," said Matt Nolden who pointed out that his kids can't tell the difference between the two. "Amazingly even though they are sitting on rocks they are still having fun."

Police, in charge of directing traffic through Morrison, say it is not the daytime activities that are concerning.

"I am worried that we are the only fireworks show close," said Morrison police chief Gorge Mumma. "Everybody is going to be coming here and I don’t have a place to put them."

Morrison is one of only a handful of places allowed to have fireworks near Denver after COVID restrictions shut them down.

"I think all in all people are trying to do the right thing. And we are just trying to help people stay healthy and stay safe."

The parking lot at Lair O' the Bear Park was already at capacity Sunday morning.