DENVER - Colorado's extreme drought conditions are to blame for the closure of all sports fields at all parks.

Denver Parks & Recreation says the fields are in bad shape because of the lack of moisture.

The department says the soil is in no shape to withstand the wear and tear that comes with organized sports. They say any sports play on the fields right now could damage the ground and jeopardize it for the busy summer months.

"They really get torn up. We could wind up having to shut them down for the summer. We could wind up having to shut them down for months at a time," Jeff Green, with Denver Parks & Recreation, explained. "We want to make sure that they're available for the season."

That means that some organized leagues will be inconvenienced for now. Soccer and volleyball are not allowed until April 1. Baseball and softball will be allowed March 18 because they are not as tough on the turf as other sports.

The department says that if teams play on drought dormant grass - the turf could be destroyed - and there isn't enough sod in the region to replace it, nor the money.

"If they were to open the fields and they were to be severely damaged or destroyed, it's going to take an awful lot more time to repair those," Green said. "And maybe some of them we wouldn't even be able to repair, and then they wouldn't be available for future use."
Green said he hopes for some good snowfall Wednesday night. However, if the dry conditions don't improve over the coming weeks, the schedule will need to be altered.

"There's certainly the possibility that if the moisture conditions don't improve we may have to extend that closure," Green said.

We know that this is an incredible inconvenience to every sports team that's out there that is planning on and relying on these fields," Green explained. "It's a difficult decision, but we had to do it. We absolutely feel that this is the right decision to protect the health of our fields."