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Rocky Mountain National Park Gauges Public Opinion On Trail Restoration

Rocky Mountain National Park
The Twin Sisters Trail, September, 2013.

Four popular trails at Rocky Mountain National Park – the Lawn Lake and Ypsilon Lake, Alluvial Fan, Twin Sisters and Aspen Brook trails – were so damaged by Colorado's historic flooding, park rangers are preparing to repair or reroute them. The park is asking for the public's help in deciding which trail plans to go with.

Post-flood, the trails look very different from what many may remember.

"It was very localized. Much of the park didn't see a lot of impacts from [the flooding.] But, boy some of the areas you can see significant and damage from the floods," said park spokeswoman Kyle Patterson.

Credit Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park rangers have outlined four alternatives for the damaged trails.

The impacted areas have remained opened and as a result, hikers are creating social non-sanctioned trails, which the park expected. That can cause unintended damage, so the park has created specialized alternatives, all of which require an environmental impact study.

Restoration of the four trails could include constructing more sustainable trails around damaged segments, or opting for shorter detours locally just around the damaged area. Patterson said restoration of the trails in their previous place isn't always feasible due to the extent of the damage.

All routes abandoned due to reroutes or closure would become off limits to park users so they can return to a natural state.

Public comment can submitted online. All restoration project comments must be received by December 8, 2014. A meeting will be held Tuesday, November 18, 2014 at the Estes Valley Library in Estes Park so the public can get more information about the potential alternatives.

"This is basically the initial public input, and then from the comments and from this meeting we will then move forward with developing an environmental assessment which will come out sometime in 2015," Patterson said.

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