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Public health concerns force closures at Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park closure
Cross-country skier Kayla Downey, back, of Estes Park, Colo., works her way down Trail Ridge Road after an overnight snow in Rocky Mountain National Park Saturday, Dec. 22, 2018, in Estes Park, Colo. The road was left unplowed because of a partial federal shutdown, which has been put in motion because of gridlock in Congress over funding for President Donald Trump’s cherished Mexican border wall.

ESTES PARK – The National Park Service is reporting issues at Rocky Mountain National Park due in part to the shutdown of some agencies of the federal government.

The NPS has shut down numerous roads in the park due to recent snows, but they have also had to close restrooms and trash receptacles around the park due to “human waste issues, wildlife concerns and overall public health.”

RELATED: Human waste, trash overwhelm some national parks in shutdown

Roads closed in the park include U.S. Highway 36 past the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center and U.S. 34 past the Fall River Entrance. All roads higher than 8,000 feet in elevation are also closed. Due to the shutdown, the park does not have funds needed to plow or maintain roads inside the park. Depending on the length of the shutdown, some of those roads might not be able to reopen.

The NPS warns that all visitors to the park are doing so at the visitor’s sole risk. It also means that park personnel will not be able to provide guidance and assistance to guests. All park rules and regulations are still in effect.

The shutdown also means visitor centers, campgrounds, educational programs will not be offered.

The partial government shutdown began on Dec. 22. The gridlock blocks money for nine of 15 Cabinet-level departments and dozens of agencies including the departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Interior, Agriculture, State and Justice.

(The Associated Press contributed to this story)

Tom Kackley

Tom Kackley

Tom Kackley is a digital content producer at KOAA News 5. He has worked in southern Colorado since 2016.
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