Estes Park businesses want tourists back

Town to hold annual ElkFest

ESTES PARK, Colo. - Although flooding left access to Estes Park difficult, local business owners want to make sure everyone knows they're still doing business. In fact, most of the businesses in the tourism-dependent town are open or working to get open in time to be ready for visitors looking at the fall colors.

The only way to get to the remote mountain community at the base of Rocky Mountain National Park is via the Peak to Peak Highway, using Highways 119, 72 and 7 through Nederland or via Trail Ridge Road through Granby.

But this is peak tourist season in Estes Park, and more than half of the workers there have jobs directly related to tourism.

"It really is essential to our economy to have guests and visitors here from out of town," said Brooke Burnham, with Visit Estes Park.

And while last weekend's festival was canceled, the town announced it will hold its annual Elk Fest this weekend. Businesses are scrambling to get flood-damaged properties ready.

"We’re all thinking positively, working really hard  to make the town look good again," said Cricket Coleman, an employee at The White Orchid, a boutique that was flooded. "In our little shop alone, we had 20 or 30 people helping get the water out as fast as possible."

Next door, Rob Pieper is working to repair his two restaurants, Poppy's Pizza and Mama Rosa's Italian.

"We've made a lot of progress in the last 48 hours," said Pieper. "At least it didn’t happen in June – we had a great summer."

But not everyone is so optimistic. 

Signs outside Matt Moulden's jewelry store state that it is going out of business due to the flood.

He said his business has tanked since the flood and he doesn't see tourists being willing to make the longer drive.

"The goal is to reopen, but it’s too much right now with the income being lost," said Moulden.


Print this article Back to Top