Fire officials from the East Troublesome Fire Thompson Zone Incident Management Team and local authorities have downgraded the evacuation status for the Estes Valley. Estes Park is now open to visitors. However, it is not business as usual in Estes Park. The East Troublesome Fire Thompson Zone is still a potential threat to the Estes Valley and businesses may not be operating as normal.
As you all know, the National Park Service has been celebrating their 100th anniversary. During the centennial, people have been encouraged to #FindYourPark, and here in Estes Park, we’re seeing record visitation, which is great for our industry. But the national parks’ popularity also highlights a challenge - many of our parks are showing their age. Degrading roads, rotting historic buildings, damaged trails, outdated public buildings, and safety hazards are all part of an estimated $12 billion deferred maintenance backlog. At RMNP alone, $63 million is needed for repairs. Despite this, unreliable congressional funding means our hardworking park superintendents have to work with a shoestring budget, which often forces them to delay repairs.
The Visit Estes Park Board recognizes the importance of the national parks to our local economy. That is why we have signed a letter to our congressional delegation, spearheaded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, asking lawmakers to ensure that NPS has the resources to protect and maintain our national parks for visitors and generations to come.
Please join us, and hundreds of businesses and organizations throughout the country, in signing on to the “Restore America’s Parks” letter. Your participation will demonstrate the collective power of the tourism industry and business community in the Estes Park area. Together, we can help #FixOurParks, here and across the country.