RMNP Seeks Public Input on an Environmental Assessment for Long-Range Day Use Visitor Access

October 30, 2023  |  Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is seeking public comment on an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the park’s long-range day use visitor access plan. This plan is needed to provide day use visitor access in a way that protects resources while creating opportunities for high-quality visitor experiences.

The park experienced a 44 percent increase in visitation from 2012 to 2019. In 2021 the park received 4.4 million visits making it the second busiest visitation year. Rapid growth in day use visitation and changing use patterns in the park have degraded natural and cultural resources, diminished quality of the visitor experience, increased visitor and staff safety concerns, and created a heavy strain on the park’s facilities and ability to perform daily operations. The goal of the plan is to identify strategies that will help protect park resources, offer varied opportunities for high quality visitor experiences, and enhance visitor and staff safety.

Since 2020, the National Park Service has implemented a pilot timed-entry permit system to stagger entry into Rocky.

Between 2016 and 2023, the park piloted several day-use visitor management strategies to address crowding, congestion, and impacts on park resources. The park also asked the public for their participation in envisioning the future of day use visitor access at Rocky Mountain National Park during the summer of 2021 and the winter of 2022-2023. Based on public feedback and information gathered during the pilots, the preferred alternative described in the EA would establish two timed entry reservation systems, one for the Bear Lake Road Corridor and one for the rest of the park, similar to the 2021, 2022, and 2023 pilots.

Park staff are eager to continue engaging with stakeholders and park visitors about the purpose and need for action; the environmental issues and impacts being addressed, and the proposed alternatives. We hope to hear from members of the public who have visited the park, local businesses, and the surrounding community. Park staff invite members of the public to submit their comments via the park’s Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/R... beginning October 30, 2023, through December 14, 2023.

The park will host public open houses on Tuesday, November 14, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Grand Lake Center in Grand Lake, Colorado and Monday, November 27, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Estes Valley Community Center in Estes Park, Colorado. These open houses will provide an opportunity to drop in, meet with National Park Service (NPS) staff, and learn more about the EA and the proposed alternatives.

Visitors on Tundra Communities Trail. Photo courtesy NPS

The park is also hosting a virtual public meeting on Wednesday, November 8, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. to provide opportunities for the public to learn more about the EA, ask questions of NPS staff, and learn how to provide formal written comments through the PEPC website.

To participate in the virtual meeting, please register at the following link. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information on how to join the Teams Webinar. We recommended joining the webinar via computer to have full use of the webinar tools that Teams provides.

Registration URL: https://forms.office.com/g/cn4...

Unable to attend the virtual meeting? A recording of the meeting will be posted on the park planning link below. The park will provide live captioning of the meetings. Park staff encourage public participation throughout the planning process. Public comments are invited beginning October 30 through December 14, 2023. Comments can be submitted online beginning October 30, by visiting https://parkplanning.nps.gov/R... click on ‘Open for Comment’ on the left side of page to submit a comment.

Comments may also be sent to the following mailing address:

Rocky Mountain National Park
1000 US Highway 36
Estes Park, CO 80517

Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. Although you can ask in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee we will be able to do so.

If you would like more information about the park’s long-range planning efforts please visit go.nps.gov/romo/duvas

If you would like more information about Rocky Mountain National Park, please visit www.nps.gov/romo or call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206.

The park will announce operational plans for summer 2024 in the coming weeks.