ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, Colo. (AP/CBS4) – Rocky Mountain National Park has reopened to visitors now that Colorado has agreed to pick up the tab for running it.
The park opened Saturday and Trail Ridge Road will open as soon as the highway can be plowed.
Colorado has agreed to pay the $40,000 a day needed to operate the park and pay its employees during the shutdown. The governor’s office says the money will come from the tourism budget but eventually the state plans to seek reimbursement for the cost.
The state has enough money to keep the park open for 10 days.
Estes Park leaders say the move will help the town recover from last month’s flooding. Once Trail Ridge is reopened, it will also provide a second access road to the town.
“I think Colorado is going to bounce back with the park and the Estes area,” park visitor Bob Head said.
Bob Head is retired which means he normally has all the time in the world to visit the park, but in reality he and his wife Cynthia only have 10 days.
“We drove up and there was a herd of elk there ready to greet us and welcome us into the park,” Cynthia Head said.
Between the floods and the government shutdown Estes Park business owner Brian Murray’s store took a double hit. But with the park reopening, the Estes Park sidewalk sale and the leaves changing, it’s a recipe for a big weekend.
“We’re optimistic here, this is a beautiful town and people will come back,” Murray said.
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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