Outdoors: Stay Off the Grass

March 20 2013, 12:20 PM

If you're staying in the city this weekend, the ideas of park picnics, Frisbee, soccer, and volleyball may be clouding your end-of-work-week thoughts. But, some areas of Denver Parks aren't quite ready for the pitter-patter of soccer cleats and barefoot tramplings of volleyball just yet.

The metro area's dry winter conditions led Denver Parks and Recreation to ban organized soccer and volleyball on many of the city's favorite spots until April 1. While baseball and softball fields are open on March 15, what are active Denverites supposed to do with this warm spring-like weather?

The recent blasts of snow have turned the tundra-like parks into sloppy mud fields. Angela Casias, the Denver Parks and Recreation marketing communications specialist, says the ban is not meant to lock people out of the parks, but just to make them aware of vulnerable high-use areas. "We are tring to avoid the permitted use of certain fields to stop overuse wear-and-tear," Casias says. "We're not trying to discourage the use of the parks. The damage due to the dryness and early March snow should be avoided so we can use the fields into the summer."

The key to the ban is that it is only on parts of each park. The select grass fields are labeled with signs and will be patroled by park rangers. Fret not, there are still large sections to stretch your legs. An easy way to plan your outing is to start at the Denver Parks and Recreation "Find a Park" website. By clicking on your park of choice and looking at a map, you'll see yellow boxes in the protected areas. For instance, at Washington Park, only the two main volleyball fields and one mixed-use field fall under the ban. Those fields make up less than half of the park's main grassy area.

Pack up your picnic and gather a group for some kick-around soccer game, but mind the signs and we'll get to enjoy some of Denver's favorite summer spots sans cleat wear-and-tear throughout the summer. 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Follow editorial assistant Lindsey R. McKissick on Twitter at @LindseyRMcK.