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Update: Estes Park reopens to visitors

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Update: Highway 7 into Estes Park has reopened to visitors. For more information, click here.

Original post, 9:06 a.m. September 17: Estes Park is a favorite tourist destination of visitors to Colorado from across the country and the globe. And the town was likely to receive an onslaught of such folks in the coming weeks due to the September 24 release date of Doctor Sleep, author Stephen King's sequel to The Shining -- a book inspired in part by the community's iconic Stanley Hotel.

But if fans show up right now, they'll be reluctantly turned away, due to cleanup from flooding of the sort that's caused so much damage throughout the state.

Conditions are improving in Estes Park. Here's a photo posted on the town's Facebook page on September 13....

...and another from that same day showing the waters beginning to recede: Moreover, a video shared by Nick Mollé Productions demonstrates that the mop-up operation is well underway.

Nonetheless, the Facebook page for Visit Estes Park, the community's main tourism arm, makes it clear that the welcome mat isn't out again just yet. One of the most recent posts reads in part:

The use of Highway 7 to enter Estes Park is still restricted by the National Guard to Estes Valley residents or family arriving to assist them, people who work in Estes Park, supply deliveries and emergency services. Visitors must be turned away. Rumors that this has changed are incorrect. We are working with our partners to see that the road can be opened as soon as infrastructure stability allows.

In the meantime, residents are being kept abreast of the latest developments on the town's official Twitter feed, which is documenting a slow return to something at least within spitting distance of normalcy. For instance, cable TV has been restored, and today, Federal Express deliveries are expected to resume.

In the meantime, Estes Park spokeswoman Kate Rusch offers the following note of thanks:

Hello friends,

This is a note to thank all of you for the support and encouragement you have shared with the entire community of Estes Park. In the past five days, hundreds of people have reached out to volunteer time and expertise, to donate food, goods, services, equipment and funds, to provide brilliant recovery ideas, and offer housing for displaced neighbors. This tremendous support comes from within our valley and across the country.

As a community, we definitely need some time to get back on our feet. We've been working around the clock with our local partners to make repairs and find temporary solutions to the incredible damage sustained by some of our critical infrastructure.

It goes against everything we believe in to discourage visitors to be in Estes Park. But that has been our message during the rescue and response mode. We'll make no apologies for the fact that our first priority is keeping our neighbors safe. We're still working on that, and we ache for our friends who have experienced great losses. Still, our sights are also set on recovery and we are determined to move forward.

We want you to know that we intend to welcome visitors back to the community as soon as possible. When roads are safe and our situation has stabilized a little more, we're going to do that. It cannot be too soon. Many businesses are still open, and others intend to reopen very soon. They're here for us!

With the help of Larimer County and other experts, our teams have been out assessing businesses in the floodplain for health and safety, with hopes that we can restore safe access to them very soon. Rocky Mountain National Park and CDOT have worked tirelessly to maintain access to Estes Park. Believe me when I say our partners are focused on helping us.

The effects of this historic event are overwhelming, but so is the outpouring of support and the resiliency of this community. Estes Park is no stranger to adversity, and we'll spring back very soon.

On behalf of the Town, thank you for supporting our community.

Kate Rusch, Public Information Officer

More from our News archive: "Videos: Startling aerial footage of flooding in Lyons, Longmont."

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