Unaffected areas of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge open on Saturday, August 17
Numerous sites with plague-infected fleas affecting local prairie dog colonies will remain closed through Labor Day Weekend so that authorities can continue to treat the prairie dogs’ holes with insecticide to kill any remaining fleas that could transmit the disease to prairie dogs, people, and pets.
The Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge will reopen to visitors on Saturday, August 17, including the refuge’s Visitor Center, Wildlife Drive, and recreational fishing access. Some trails and parking lots will remain closed through Labor Day weekend due to ongoing monitoring and plague management efforts. These areas are clearly marked and will reopen to visitors in early September. For up-to-date information about visitor access and activities, please visit www.fws.gov/refuge/rocky_mountain_arsenal.
In Commerce City, the Prairie Gateway Open Space remains closed, along with the vacant fields along East 56th Avenue near the intersections with Quebec Street and Valentia Street. Updates from Commerce City are available at www.c3gov.com
First Creek at DEN Open Space will remain closed through Labor Day weekend. The area is located between the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge and Pena Boulevard, north of 56th Avenue on Buckley Road.
Dick’s Sporting Goods Park is open and hosting all activities, but is restricting cars to asphalt parking areas. Updates are available at www.dickssportinggoodspark.com
“The prairie dog colonies are being monitored and burrows are being treated with insecticide, but there is still evidence of fleas in the hiking and camping areas, which could put people and pets at risk, so those areas will remain closed,” states John M. Douglas, Jr., MD, Executive Director of Tri-County Health Department.
Plague infection in people is uncommon and there have not been any reported cases. Common symptoms of plague include fever, swollen and tender lymph nodes, chills, and extreme exhaustion. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should promptly contact their health care provider. Although plague can cause serious illness, it can be effectively treated with antibiotics, especially when diagnosed early. Dogs that are exposed to plague do not usually get sick, but can transport infected fleas and expose people.
Tri-County Health Department will continue to monitor these plague-impacted areas and provide the next update on Friday, September 6. Check individual agency websites for information, and visit www.tchd.org/271/Animal-Related-Zoonotic-Diseases for more information about plague.