Rocky Mountain National Park Shuts Down
Rocky Mountain National Park is shutting its gates to visitors to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. It’s the first of Colorado’s national parks to take the step.
The closure started on Friday at 7 p.m. and will remain in effect “until further notice,” according to a statement from the National Park Service. The closure includes all visitors at all times.
“The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners at Rocky Mountain National Park is our number one priority,” said Kyle Patterson, a park spokeswoman. “The National Park Service is working with the federal, state, and local authorities to closely monitor the novel coronavirus situation. We will notify the public when we resume full operations and provide updates on our website and social media channels.”
Earlier on Friday, Estes Park Mayor Todd Jirsa sent a letter to the U.S. Department of the Interior requesting officials temporarily close the park to visitors.
As more people turn to outdoor recreation as an escape from their homes, Jirsa worried about a potential overload of local medical services should visitors become ill or injured during their visit.
“This is not the time,” Jirsa said. “We will get back to a time when we can provide that exceptional guest experience. Please come back and visit our town again, come back and visit the national park when we don’t have this virus and its concerns hanging over our heads.”
Estes Park reported its first case of COVID-19 on Thursday.