Estes Park businesses hoping for boost as Rocky Mountain National Park reopens

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ESTES PARK, Colo (KDVR) — If you wrote a book about Estes Park, the year 2020 would need its own chapter.

From COVID, to fires, to evacuations, the small mountain community has been hit hard. 

“It could almost read like a fantasy series, except it’s real life,” jokes Anastacia Galloway-Reed. “So maybe that makes it horror.”

Galloway-Reed knows a thing or two about stories. Her business, the Macdonald Book Shop, features thousands of them. 

On Oct. 22, she had to lock up and evacuate as fire closed within miles of Estes Park. 

“We were just hoping and praying that the firefighters and nature would just come together in this perfect thing and thankfully, that’s what happened.”

Evacuation orders were lifted last week, and many businesses in Estes reopened. But Galloway-Reed says the typical fall tourism has been slow to return.

“It’s been slow, and slow as you might expect,” she says. “I’m sure people are still seeing pictures of what was really scary two weeks ago.”

The Estes Chamber of Commerce has been busy trying to bring tourists back, touting clean air and COVID-responsible businesses.

“We’re back,” says Donna Carlson. “We’ve moved back in, our employees are back in town and we’re ready to go.”

Carlson is hoping the reopening of Rocky Mountain National Park Friday will bring business back to town, knowing some businesses may not make it to 2021 without it. 

“With the loss of the past 10 days, we really need to recover that lost the revenue.”

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