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    Rocky Mountain

    National Park Colorado

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New Improvements Completed at Rocky Mountain National Park

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Date: September 18, 2007
Contact: Kyle Patterson, 970-586-1363

In partnership with the Rocky Mountain Nature Association, two projects were recently completed in Rocky Mountain National Park; rehabilitation of a trail and picnic area at Lake Irene along with a new amphitheater in the Timber Creek Campground.

The Lake Irene area allows visitors access to a close-in picnic and scenic recreation area as they traverse Trail Ridge Road. The existing trail from the parking lot to the lake was never formally constructed, and with increased visitation, there were significant issues concerning both visitor use and safety and resource damage. Work began last summer to construct a sustainable trail to an overlook past Lake Irene. A bridge, stone work, additional log work, retaining walls and buck and rail fence were used to delineate the trail and protect resources. Eight picnic sites were improved and three were made accessible for people with disabilities. A network of trails connects the picnic pads to minimize resource damage. The project cost approximately $110,000 and was funded by Rocky Mountain Nature Association, the park’s friends group.

The amphitheater at the Timber Creek Campground was reconstructed during the last two summers. The original amphitheater was constructed in 1966 and was not accessible to people with disabilities. The old amphitheater and access trail were demolished and some rock and seating lumber were salvaged for use in the new construction. Along with the new amphitheater, an accessible trail and parking area were constructed. A vault toilet facility was also built. The project cost approximately $640,000. About $560,000 was funded by Rocky Mountain Nature Association and the remaining funds were from a combination of sources including park visitor fees.

Park Superintendent Vaughn Baker said, “Since 1986, the Rocky Mountain Nature Association has contributed over $12 million for park projects. These improvements are just two more examples of how they provide vital support to enhance the experience for visitors who come to Rocky Mountain National Park.”

Did You Know?

a photo of Elizabeth Burnell, the nation's first female nature guide

Rocky Mountain National Park licensed the nation’s first female nature guides in 1917. Sisters Ester and Elizabeth Burnell learned the naturalist trade from advocate and author Enos Mills.