As we begin our playing season for 2013, the weather and drought conditions will still be very much top of mind. We are currently planning to open our fields as previously indicated: baseball/softball on March 18; all other fields on April 1.
As we get into our season, our rangers and our Parks staff will be constantly monitoring the health and condition of our fields. If the severe drought conditions persist, there may be a need to close our fields again later in the spring, summer or fall. We are committed to giving all organizations and teams at least 30 days notice should we decide we need to close our athletic fields again to ensure their long term health.
As you may know, Denver Water has declared a stage II drought for its service areas. That means that watering restrictions will be in place, beginning April 1, for all resident and commercial customers, including Denver Parks and Recreation. Denver Parks and Recreation has agreed to a water budget program with Denver Water, which will allow us to irrigate daily, but will certainly require us to keep a close eye on our usage and develop irrigation plans that keep us compliant.
Going forward, we're hopeful that we can continue to keep our parks and athletic fields adequately irrigated. That said, we will continue to constantly monitor the health and condition of our fields along with potentially changing drought conditions. We hope we do not have to close our fields again, but given the extremely dry conditions, it is something that we'll need to plan for.
We are asking our users and permit holders to help us do everything we can to minimize the wear-and-tear on our athletic fields. Your vigilance will help keep our fields healthy. Here are a few simple things you can do to help us keep our fields in good condition:
- Limit practice time or game times if possible – even just shortening your session by 15 each will help the turf tremendously over the course of the season
- Change practice areas on the field, throughout the week and season ; if you notice an area that looks worn, try to stay away if at all possible, giving it time to rest
- After a significant rain or snow storm, call the Weather line to see if the fields are open for play
- If fields are not listed as closed but the grass or dirt infield feels spongy or very wet when it is stepped on, please cancel your practices or games
We appreciate your cooperation and we look forward to a fun and successful 2013 season.