12:30pm

Tue October 1, 2013
Government Shutdown

After Enduring Floods, Estes Park Now Faces Government Shutdown

Estes Park officials are stressing the town is open for business despite recent flooding and the forced closure of Rocky Mountain National Park due to the government shutdown.

If you call the Rocky Mountain National Park visitor center you’ll get this message:

When you call Rocky Mountain National Park, you'll get this message regarding the government shutdown.

The message isn’t good news for the small resort town of Estes Park. Tourism is the dominant industry, and the town has been struggling to attract visitors to the area since historic floods ravaged the town and cut off its main access point Hwy 34 through the Big Thompson Canyon.

“We definitely hope to see the park reopened as quickly as possible,” said Estes Park spokeswoman Kate Rusch. “It is a big time of year for us and for people to travel into Rocky and see the aspens as they change color and the elk during the annual rut.”

Since the national park is closed, Rusch says there are other locations around the town where people can observe the annual rut as well as the changing fall colors. But there is another issue the park’s closure raises – it shuts off one of the two remaining roads into town, Trail Ridge Road.

The Peak to Peak Highway remains the best, and only way to reach Estes Park. Rusch adds that while Trail Ridge Road is now closed, the road would likely have been closed eventually anyway  with the arrival of winter.

Contrary to some reports, the town of Estes Park government remains open and isn’t affected by the shutdown. Rusch says work continues on recovery efforts started after the recent flooding. She also echoed similar statements made by Vice President Joe Biden upon his visit to Colorado to tour flood damage.

“The government shutdown will not affect the emergency assistance that’s been coming from the federal government,” Rush said.