MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK, Colo. (CBS4) — National Park staff have delayed Mesa Verde’s re-opening one week due to repairs to fix damage caused while federal employees were absent. Park employees returned to work Monday after 35 days away due to the recent government shutdown.
While other parks lifted gates and welcomed visitors Monday, Mesa Verde will need a week to clean up rockfalls and fix the road and guardrails where they occurred.
The park plans to have the repairs completed and the park ready the morning of Feb. 4.
Several rockfalls crossed the main park road and the safety of visitors cannot be ensured without lengthy repairs. Staff realized over the past weekend that re-opening Monday was out of the question.
In addition, staff said substantial snow needed to be removed from all the park’s roadways.
Not that they will complain. Recent storms lessened the severity of the drought conditions weighing down southwestern Colorado the last two years.
Other national parks in Colorado wasted little time turning their proverbial lights back on. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve got the jump on the rest of the competition by opening Saturday.
Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument resumed normal operations Sunday.
Rocky Mountain National Park did, too, though with slightly more than the usual seasonal limitations.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Curecanti National Recreation Area, and the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site re-opened Monday.
Dinosaur National Monument partially re-opened Monday, with snowy roads keeping some parts out of visitors’ reach.
President Donald Trump announced a temporary end to the longest shutdown in the nation’s history on Jan. 25.
“We would like to thank everyone for their cooperation and understanding during the shutdown,” MVNP stated in a news release Sunday. “The support and kindness of the local community helped brighten our days. Thank you.”
“Mesa Verde’s employees are happy to be back at work.”