By Michael Abeyta
ESTES PARK, Colo. (CBS4) – Since the federal government shutdown downtown Estes Park has been busy, but that doesn’t mean business owners here are glad about the closure of most services at Rocky Mountain National Park.
“Our business has been pretty darn good up until now,” said Charley Dickey.
Dickey is the president of Estes Valley Partners for Commerce. He and his wife also own a home furnishing shop in downtown Estes Park. He says the holidays are usually pretty busy, but this year has been even more so.
“And that’s mainly because we have family and friends coming up here and unfortunately there’s people that have come up here who are disappointed about not being able to get into the park,” he said.
He thinks those discouraged park patrons are giving him bump in sales.
Meanwhile up the road at Rock Cut Brewery, the shutdown has affected them a little differently. Co-owner Kirby Hazelton says without the outdoor adventurers stopping by for a post-trip beer, every day has been unique.
“One day will be really busy and the next won’t, when usually this time of year it’s pretty consistent,” Hazelton said.
Even though Hazelton and Dickey have had different shutdown experiences, there is one thing they have in common: The fear that if the park stays closed too long, the local economy will suffer.
“The park is the number one biggest draw for tourism here in Estes Park, and with that park closed per se we’re going to see a big impact in our revenue,” Kirby said. “It’s such a vital component of our economy up here, it makes a solid impact on us when the park is inaccessible.”
Business owners are hoping that people keep coming to Estes Park but realize the closure may change a lot of people’s plans. They would just like to remind everybody that Estes Park has a lot more to offer than just Rocky Mountain National Park.