Moraine Park, the largest campground in Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado), will undergo a major modernization project next summer, which will likely close the campground until 2024.
As per a report, Caleb Waters, facility manager for Rocky Mountain National Park, said officials are hoping to finish design work for the Moraine Park rehabilitation project in time for the contractor to start construction next summer. Once accomplished, the 244-site campground will be shut down during construction. Park officials hope the project will be completed in time to reopen for the summer of 2024.
The project will relocate some campsites away from wetlands, replace sewer and water lines dating back to the 1960s, bury three miles of power lines above ground, and make the campground more accessible for people in wheelchairs.
“We are going to have 17 accessible camping sites,” Waters said. “We don’t have any right now. We’re going to be putting in accessible paths so the campers can get from their vehicles to the sites, from their vehicles to the comfort stations.”
The replacements for sewers and water are way overdue.
“We’re replacing the water treatment plant, with three-plus miles of water line being replaced,” Waters said. “It’s much-needed infrastructure. It’s all from the ’60s. The sewer line is clay pipes. With the old water lines, we’re losing water. It’s leaking out of the pipes and joints. Likewise, with the sewer system, rainwater infiltrates the sewer system.”
The closure will likely boost the demand for other local camping and lodging options; however, Estes Park has already been through those before, said town spokesperson Kate Rusch.
“It’s always difficult when service disruptions are necessary, but it’s a small price to pay when the end result is major improvements. We appreciate the park’s continuous efforts to improve the visitor experience.”
The $19.9 million upgrade will be funded under the Great American Outdoors Act, enacted by Congress in 2020 to deal with urgent deferred maintenance needs across the national park system.
Officials also revealed that additional federal funding is coming, allowing the park to expand its fuel treatment work in the Deer Mountain area on the east side of the park. This will help remove wildfire fuel in forested areas to reduce the threat of wildfire spreading into the Estes Park valley.