Estes Park

Erin O'Toole / KUNC

In September 2013, four days of torrential rainfall devastated parts of Colorado’s Front Range, killing nine people and damaging or destroying around 1,800 homes. A number of roads were washed out by floodwaters, stranding thousands of people who had to be helicoptered to safety.

Courtesy of NCAR/UCAR

A regional energy project entering final planning stages this fall is set to become one of northern Colorado’s largest sources of wind power. 

Courtesy National Park Service

Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the top places in the country for search and rescue operations, logging an incident almost every other day last year. That's according to a KUNC analysis, which found that the costs of incidents in National Park Service areas across the country hit a three-year high in 2017. In the same period, visits rose by about 8 percent.

Investigators are working to determine the cause of a fire that did an estimated $5 million in damage to a lodge just outside Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.

Colorado Department of Transportation

A major stretch of US highway 34 through Big Thompson Canyon is set to reopen just in time for the Memorial Day holiday.

The route will be accessible to the public starting May 24 at 4 p.m., said Johnny Olson, Colorado Department of Transportation regional director.  

“The Thursday before Memorial weekend we will be opening that up,” he said.

Matt Bloom

Speak now or forever pay more to enter the country’s most popular national parks.

Friday, Dec. 22 is the last day to submit a public comment on a proposal to increase entrance fees at 17 parks, including Rocky Mountain National Park. After that, the National Park Service will determine if - and by how much - it will ramp up the cost during parks’ peak seasons.

Grace Hood / KUNC

In September 2013 torrential rain caused a swollen Big Thompson River to tear away -- and in some places completely destroy -- parts of U.S. Highway 34.

Temporary repairs reopened the road by December, but permanent repairs didn’t start until October 2016. 

Since then, hundreds of tons of rock have been blasted from the canyon walls, prompting the closure of a three mile stretch of the canyon. The road will reopen in late May 2017.

About three years ago, flood waters rushed down the Big Thompson River through Estes Park and eastward to Loveland, destroying whole stretches of the river channel and adjoining roads. That flood echoed a similar one 40 years ago that killed 144 people, destroyed countless homes and decimated the riverbed. Now, roads are being repaired and the eco-system is slowly recovering. That recovery is crucial for the economy of local communities.

David Anderson

The fall of 2013 did not seem like a great time to buy a small candy store in Estes Park. The town’s economy was in iffy shape. Flooding had decimated roads into and out of the mountain community. Internet and cellphone service, not to mention grocery delivery, were out for days.

Right after the flood, Mark and Kelly Igel took the plunge and bought the Taffy Shop - and the secret recipe from the retiring original owner. They were betting that people would still come to the tourism-dependent town on the eastern edge of Rocky Mountain National Park for a piece of old-fashioned candy and charm.

“We’ve lived here for years,” Mark Igel said. “We knew the town would bounce back.”

Stacy Nick / KUNC

On Nov. 8, voters in Larimer County defeated Initiative 200, which sought to create a Scientific and Cultural Facilities District. However, in Denver, the renewal of their SCFD passed by a wide margin.

Organizers of the failed Initiative 200 in Larimer County vowed to try again in the future.

“I think that it took Denver either two or three times on the ballot to actually pass,” Yes On 200 Campaign Manager Kelly Giddens said.