La Junta — Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site plans to begin a phased approach to increase recreational access and services starting on Friday, May 15. The National Park Service (NPS) is working service-wide with federal, state and local public health authorities to monitor closely the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis.
Beginning May 15, Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site reopened access to:
— Park entrance road to permit parking on the grounds
— The park landscape is open to visitors wishing to hike the park trails.
— Public restrooms are open.
With public health in mind, the fort’s building will remain closed at this time.
“Unless trends change, we anticipate that the fort will be open for Memorial Weekend,” said Superintendent Stuart West. At that time, the fort staff will be providing orientation talks outside in the fort’s plaza. “We request that the visiting public abide by established distancing protocols, that they keep to small group sizes, and that visitors wear masks while in the fort,” added West.
The health and safety of park visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners continues to be paramount. At Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site, the operational approach will be to examine each facility function and service provided to ensure those operations comply with current public health guidance and will be regularly monitored. The staff continues to work closely with the NPS Office of Public Health using CDC guidance to ensure public and workspaces are safe and clean for visitors, employees, partners, and volunteers.
The current “Safer at Home” guidance for the State of Colorado encourages Colorado residents to “limit activities to your immediate community, not travel more than 10 miles from your home to recreate or vacation and not travel to mountain areas.”
Not yet ready to visit the park? Virtual tours of Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site can be viewed at https://www.nps.gov/beol/learn/photosmultimedia/index.htm. Videos are also available on the park’s YouTube site https://www.youtube.com/user/bentsfortnps, and the park’s Junior Ranger page, https://www.nps.gov/beol/learn/kidsyouth/self-guided-activity-book.htm, offers activities.