Rocky Mountain National Park has record-breaking year |

Rocky Mountain National Park has record-breaking year

Rocky Mountain National Park visitors photograph wildlife in the Kawuneeche Valley in July of this year. The park saw record numbers of visitors this year.
Byron Hetzler file photo/ | Sky-Hi News

If you’ve driven through the Kawuneeche Valley this summer or fall you might have noticed a spike in the traffic rolling down Trial Ridge Road.

Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) has had a record-breaking year in 2014.

As of Nov. 14 RMNP records 3,263,804 visitors, the highest the park as ever received by that date with over a month and half left to go in the year. While visitation numbers to Rocky drop drastically during the winter months the park still averages several thousand visitors each month during cold season.

The higher numbers were caused by a number of contributing factors including the particularly warm late fall weather and the fact that Trail Ridge Road stayed open until Oct. 26. RMNP began celebrating the Park’s centennial on Sept. 4, bringing even more tourist to the area in recognition of the anniversary.

Visitation numbers last year were relatively low, especially during the fall following severe flooding in Colorado and a federal government shutdown.

Park officials state that determining exact visitation number is both difficult and imprecise.

RMNP recorded 3,128,446 visitors in 2010, the last year for which data is available on the National Park Service Web site. Since its dedication as a National Park in 1915 annual visitation to Rocky has increased gradually over the years, peaking at 3,379,644 visitors during the entire year of 2000.

Visitation slowed after the start of the millennium and did not exceed 3 million again until 2010.

RMNP saw just 31,000 visitors their first year of operation in 1915.

The community of Grand Lake has seen a comparable increase in sales tax receipts this year. The last Sales and Use Tax Report, presented at the Nov. 24 Grand Lake Board of Trustees meeting, outlines an 11.59 percent increase over 2013 totals in sales tax receipts year-to-date.

Grand Lake saw a nearly across the board increase in sales tax receipts including increases in retail sales, restaurants and bars and lodging.

This summer promises to be another busy season for Rocky as they prepare to kick the centennial celebrations into high gear.

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