ESTES PARK, Colo. (CBS4)– Estes Park has two priorities: allowing evacuees to return home and getting tourists back to visit.

The town wants to improve access to Rocky Mountain National Park so tourism can continue to recover after last week’s devastating flooding.

Virtually all the mud and debris has been cleared from the sidewalks and roads but what remains is the effort to get those visitors to return.

Highways 36 and 34 are not accessible anymore and that leaves only the Peak to Peak Highway and Trail Ridge Road, the highest-paved road in North America, to get to Estes Park.

Businesses are hoping for the best.

“I don’t know yet. Certainly a lot of people will come up from the Front Range to see the town,” said one Outdoor World employee.

What they will see is that one side of Elkhorn Avenue has been damaged while the other side escaped virtually unharmed.

Estes Park is a gateway to the main attraction, Rocky Mountain National Park.

The entire park was closed but has since reopened to the few visitors who are here.

“We drove in from Illinois, from near Chicago, when we stayed an extra night in Kerney just waiting for this to shake out,” said one visitor to RMNP.

It’s rare for the entire park to close.

“It’s extremely rare. In recent times we don’t know of a time when we’ve done this before. Certainly we’ve had some historic snowstorms like in March 2003,” said RMNP spokeswoman Kyle Patterson.

For those who did make it the park entrance is free. Some trails and roads on the east side of the park remain closed because of safety concerns.

While some businesses in Estes Park are closed most have reopened.

“Tell everybody in Colorado that Estes Park is open for business,” said one business owner.

The motto seen on a business sign: “Dig out, fix, and clean up. Estes Strong!”

Trail Ridge Road will only be open until it begins snowing and then it will close for the season.

Colorado Floods: How To Help

The recent floods are impacting families and communities throughout Colorado, so CBS4 has compiled a list of ways you can support the local communities impacted by the floods.


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