Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today applauded the Administration’s announcement that selected National Parks could reopen where the state is willing to cover personnel and maintenance costs. This announcement paves the way for Colorado to reopen Rocky Mountain National Park, which has suffered from the recent floods. Bennet sent a letter to the White House today urging the Administration to act swiftly to implement this policy in Colorado so that tourism businesses in the area could maximize the few remaining weeks before winter.
The announcement follows Bennet’s efforts to reopen Trail Ridge Road, which is an access route to Estes Park.
The reopening of Rocky Mountain National Park would help support the local economy, which was hit hard by the recent floods. The Park has been closed since the government shutdown began October 1st.
“This time of year is important to communities like Estes Park that rely on visitors from all over the world who come to see the changing Aspen trees in Rocky Mountain National Park,” Bennet said. “With a massive recovery and rebuilding effort underway, the government shutdown that forced the closure of Rocky Mountain National Park made a bad situation even worse. The Administration should act quickly to reopen this Park to help boost tourism in Estes Park before winter comes.”
Two of the main highways leading into Estes Park are still closed due to extensive flood damage, and currently only a single route in and out of the town is available. Today’s action could help reopen a crucial second access point for Estes Park, guarding against the possibility that inclement weather or an unexpected event could cut the town off completely from the rest of the state.
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced that the federal government will allow states to use their own money to reopen some national parks that have been closed since last week due to a lapse in funding.
Rocky Mountain National Park draws over 3 million visitors every year who contribute close to $200 million in tourism revenue.