Protest Thursday at Rocky Mountain National Park


Update, Oct. 10: Channel 7 reported at noon that the states will be given permission to reopen some national parks under state control. No word yet from Gov. Hickenlooper’s office about reopening RMNP. People power!

Update, Oct. 9: Local media are reporting the governor will ask the White House tonight to let the state take control of Trail Ridge Road and keep that vital artery open for as long as weather permits. Only the road would be opened, not park trails, campgrounds, etc.

A demonstration protesting the government shutdown of Rocky Mountain National Park is being organized for tomorrow, Thursday, October 10.

After first hearing of the march on Denver’s Channel 7 last night, I started looking for details like time, place, organizer, etc. None of that essential information was included in the story.

Several hours ago (approx. 11 am), the following was posted on Channel 9’s Facebook page by Richard Hahn*:

The blockade of our park is very wrong. It’s time for the people to show how they feel about this economy wrecking move by government.

Please join us for a Peaceful March to protest the closure of RMNP.

Meet at Beaver Meadows Visitors’ Center on Thursday, October 10, at 10 AM.

We will walk from the visitors’ center to the barricaded Beaver Meadows entrance. The park belongs to the people.

Please carry signs of protest.

Media will be notified

I don’t know if I can get up to Estes to participate, much as I’d like to. But given the park’s importance to the financial well-being of Estes Park, I hope every person in that town shows up. It would be far more impressive than 16 hikers hopping the gate at Zion National Park.

*Hahn is a professional photographer in Estes Park. Check out his beautiful images on his Facebook page and website


22 thoughts on “Protest Thursday at Rocky Mountain National Park

  1. Yeah, I sympathize with the park closures, but seem far more concerned with kids going hungry or sick folk not getting medical attention or people worried about paying their bills… on and on. This is all madness, but I wonder if the parks aren’t enjoying a bit of a breather from all the mobs. 😉

    1. Estes Park is a tourism-dependent town. The town and park are contiguous (see map). Tourists and sportsmen who visit Rocky Mountain National Park are the town’s financial life-blood. No park means no tourists means no income for many of the businesses in that town. And that translates to people struggling to pay their bills and somehow stay afloat.

      All that comes on top of the fact that Estes was ravaged by floods a few weeks ago and is struggling to recover from that. Closing the park closed one of only two roads still open into Estes, roads that bring tourists but also necessary food, building materials, medical supplies, and everything else a town needs on a daily basis.

      This is decidedly not just a case of poor Susie can’t hike in the park this month.

  2. The Parks do not need much at this time of year – during the summer much is run by volunteers – and there are plenty willing to help if allowed. Parts could easily be opened without costing a dime.
    Actually, kids were going hungry before the shutdown…etc. Schools here still offer breakfast, lunch, and sometimes after school snacks – all paid by state funds and local charities.
    Why do federal employees get an opportunity for back pay and unemployment and a paid vacation ( Let me tell you, those still on the job are pretty mad since their co-workers are home and enjoying time off with pay – have friends in DC)
    Closing SOME not all the parks is odd…look at the ones still open and available in certain districts. AZ and WY and other states are willing to open their parks and use state funds to pay as needed – but the NPS/ Feds will not allow it – WHY? What are they afraid of?
    One man showed up and mowed around the Lincoln Memorial today – until Park Service and 3 cars showed up. WHY? Why not let volunteers pick up the slack? What are they afraid of?
    Thanks for the info about the protest march.
    The ocean, the road by Mt Rushmore, the War Memorials (built by donations and usually open 24/7 unattended) are closed? Seriously?
    These are OUR parks. They belong to US.
    Everyone needs to stand up and show up and say “enough” WE THE PEOPLE!

    1. I could almost laugh at the idea that RMNP is “closed.” There’s no fence around it. You can drive right by the “blockade” in my photo. With 4WD (maybe only 2WD) you could easily drive around the locked gates farther up the road. There are a million places you can drive or hike into the park without anyone seeing you. And with park employees furloughed, who’s there to see you? Here’s the gate that swings from posts on either side of the road:
      [caption id="attachment_33659" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Image: Walt Hester / Trail-Gazette Image: Walt Hester / Trail-Gazette[/caption]
      That’s it. That’s all. The park is “closed” only because the public chooses to obey the signs. Estes should close for an hour so all 6,000 or so residents can go to the march.

      1. Agreed. Sending notification to all I know in driving range of Estes. Some hadn’t heard and are also forwarding message – CU should also shut down and let the kids have a real civic lesson. Thanks for all the pix and info.
        Hear the ocean is also closed in Florida…and a highway in AZ because people kept stopping and walking past the barricades…so the feds closed the road. Insanity – must be answered with cool determination

      2. Right on, we should take bolt cutters and open our parks back up. These BELONG TO US, not “the government”. It’s time citizens took back our country from these government thugs.

      3. For the record, I live fifty yards from the RMNP boundary. Yes, you could have easily gained entrance to the park. However, there was heavy presence of law enforcement, ready to issue citations to unauthorized people caught inside the park. And yes, they were well armed. For the most part, people here in our community work in cooperation with the park and respected the closure, despite strongly disagreeing with it.

        1. Have they been there throughout the closure? I was pretty sure I saw police cars over on High Drive the morning of the demonstration, via a webcam. I would not have violated the closure in any case. I have too much respect for the park and the park service.

          I envy your living so close to the park. Prior to about 2001, my favorite rental cabin was out along High Drive. I considered it quite a privilege to be that close to the park, with a view of Longs. Broke my heart when it was sold off and I couldn’t afford to buy it.

  3. I’d love to be there but I’d have to drive 5 hours to get around the road closures due to the flood. There is no reason the park has to be closed…it’s just Obama and his cronies trying to strongarm the citizens to force the opposition’s hand. Anything for maximum PAIN to us. Besides, who OWNS these parks anyhow? WE DO!

    1. Understood. Five hours would be a bit much for something like this, or a day trip of any kind.

      I don’t blame Obama in particular for this. I blame everyone on the Hill for not acting like adults and running the government like adults.

  4. The parks should not be made the target. There are thousands of other government run agencies, facilities, and services that are not in operation, and it isn’t because they don’t want to. It is because congress has ordered them to close. The target of all these protests should be congress and the stalemate decisions they have come to “in the better interests of the American people”. Tell THEM how the parks shutdown is affecting the people of Estes Park. The parks have no choice in this. Your representatives do.

    1. Of course Congress should be our target, and all government operations and services should be reopened, but we can’t all go to Washington and demonstrate in the halls of Congress. So we write and call and march here in Colorado. Meantime, our governor and representatives in Washington have been pleading with Congress and the president to reopen all services, but this park in particular because of its critical importance to Estes Park.

... and that's my two cents