RMNP is still clean de­spite shut­down

The Denver Post - - NEWS | DENVER & THE WEST - By Elise Schmelzer

De­spite re­ports of ram­pant van­dal­ism and lit­ter­ing in na­tional parks dur­ing the par­tial fed­eral shut­down, vol­un­teers who hoped to help clean up Rocky Moun­tain Na­tional Park this week­end found lit­tle work to be done.

After read­ing news sto­ries about trash and dirty bath­rooms at Rocky Moun­tain Na­tional Park, Cañon City res­i­dent Ja­son Moore de­cided he wanted to do some­thing to help.

He or­ga­nized a Face­book event in co­or­di­na­tion with lo­cal chap­ters of the Lib­er­tar­ian Party of Colorado and within 30 min­utes of an­nounc­ing the event saw a large in­ter­est in help­ing out.

When he ar­rived about 8:45 a.m. Sun­day at the Beaver Mead­ows Vis­i­tor Cen­ter — one of two pop­u­lar en­trances to the park west of Estes Park — he found “im­mac­u­late” bath­rooms and fa­cil­i­ties coated with noth­ing but a layer of fresh snow.

“I was very, very sur­prised at the clean­li­ness,” Moore said.

Moore also vis­ited the Fall River Vis­i­tor Cen­ter, which is lo­cated out­side the park and has been open dur­ing the shut­down thanks to the Rocky Moun­tain Con­ser­vancy, and said it was clean as well. He and the other 16 peo­ple in his group walked about a quar­ter mile past the road clo­sures and did not see any trash on the ground.

The main roads into the pop­u­lar na­tional park have been closed for al­most the en­tirety of the shut­down, prevent­ing peo­ple from ac­cess­ing much of the in­te­rior by car. Park staff closed the roads in on Dec. 30 in an­tic­i­pa­tion of a snow­storm. . The park also closed re­strooms and trash bins due to “hu­man waste is­sues, wildlife con­cerns and over­all pub­lic health,” ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease.

Other na­tional parks have been greatly im­pacted by short staffing dur­ing the shut­down. Van­dals at Joshua Tree Na­tional Park in Cal­i­for­nia chopped down mul­ti­ple of the park’s sig­na­ture trees.

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