News Release

Rocky Mountain National Park Resumes Operations After The Government Shutdown And Expresses Appreciation

Staff based on east side of Rocky Mountain National Park express appreciation after government shutdown.
Staff based on east side of Rocky Mountain National Park express appreciation after government shutdown.

Courtesy RMNP

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News Release Date: January 31, 2019

Contact: Kyle Patterson, Public Affairs Officer, (970) 586-1363

Contact: Park Information, (970) 586-1206

Rocky Mountain National Park employees are happy to be back at work and are in the process of resuming all normal visitor services and operations. Park volunteers are also happy to be back, as they were unable to volunteer during the shutdown. Earlier this week our priority was processing payroll so our employees could begin receiving pay. Our initial challenges will be to reassess hiring priorities and park projects for this year's operations to limit impacts as much as possible, and work on getting contracts for projects back on board.

We would like to express our sincere appreciation to our Friend’s Group, and cooperating association, Rocky Mountain Conservancy, for staffing the Fall River Visitor Center for the entirety of the shutdown. This visitor center is located outside of the park near the Fall River Entrance. We would also like to express our heartfelt gratitude to our neighbors, local businesses, organizations, and national park enthusiasts near and far who were unwavering in their support. We cannot emphasize enough how a simple expression of "we are thinking of you" meant to park staff during the shutdown. 

The National Park Service’s mission is to conserve the scenery, natural and historic objects and wild life and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for future generations. Rocky Mountain National Park staff are proud to be public servants and we take this mission seriously. During the shutdown, park staff took a number of proactive measures to protect resources by having a strong law enforcement presence in the park. Facility staff limited the impacts on toilet facilities and trash receptacles in particular by preemptively sealing containers and closing vault toilet facilities during the second week of the shutdown.  On January 12, fee funds were approved to be used to bring back a limited number of custodians to begin cleaning these facilities.

Most people respect their national treasures and understand and abide by rules and regulations, unfortunately some do not. The park did experience illegal activity during the shutdown, including people driving around locked gates through meadows, and an increase in dogs on park trails. Compared to what some other national park sites experienced in resource damage and illegal activity, we were fortunate that the majority of visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park were remarkable stewards during the shutdown, some going above and beyond in their support and care for their beloved national park.

104 years ago this week, Rocky Mountain National Park was established by a group of passionate, forward looking people who wanted to preserve the high-elevation ecosystems and wilderness character of the southern Rocky Mountains. With your help, we will continue to move forward to provide visitor services and preserve and protect resources in this incredible place.


Last updated: January 31, 2019

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Mailing Address:

1000 US Hwy 36
Estes Park, CO 80517


(970) 586-1206
Through winter, the Information Office is open 8:00 am–4:30 pm Mon–Fri. Recorded Trail Ridge Road status: (970) 586-1222.

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