News Release

Hermit Park Open Space Temporarily Closed Due to Damage from Flooding

Department: Natural Resources
Release Date: Oct 4, 2013

Contact:

Dan Rieves, Visitor Services Manager, (970) 619-4555 , drieves@larimer.org

 Larimer County Natural Resources' (LCNR) staff is working with Larimer County Engineers to assess the damage to parks and open spaces following the recent floods.  Included among the areas facing the worst damage is Hermit Park Open Space in Estes Park, a highly sought after destination in the LCNR system. Many of the unpaved roads throughout the 1360-acre open space were severely impacted due to heavy rains. 

 
“The situation at Hermit Park Open Space is somewhat staggering,” said Dan Rieves, Visitor Services Manager for LCNR.  “It’s going to take time to assess, prioritize and secure funds to fix it all.  We hope folks are patient and understanding during this process.” 
 
For now Hermit Park Open Space remains inaccessible to visitors during restoration as the damage prevents access to many of the campsites, cabins and some of the trails on the property. Temporarily closing an area is never taken lightly, however Natural Resources managers feel in this instance it is the best way to ensure visitor safety and allow the necessary repairs to take place unhindered. 
 
While the department is still determining what repairs are needed and exactly what steps to take in order to reopen, staff are hopeful that the situation will be largely resolved by the start of the 2014 camping season. That timeline is largely dependent on availability of funding and any weather related construction delays.  LCNR is also working closely with the Estes Valley Land Trust on the effort in order to adhere to the conservation easement the group holds for the property.
 
“At this point we’re confident the area will be open in some capacity by summer 2014,” Park Manager Chris Fleming said.  “It’s important that we take time to get things fixed, but we also understand that many people look forward to vacationing in and visiting this area, so we’ll do our best to get everything done as soon as possible.”   All visitors who held camping reservations to Hermit Park Open Space, and any other impacted LCNR campgrounds received full refunds.  No future reservations will be allowed for Hermit Park’s campgrounds until a soft open date can be established.  
 
Despite the severity of the damage, managers did strike a positive note. “We can try and see this as somewhat of an opportunity as well,” Rieves said.  “Now we can reestablish some of the roads in better locations and hopefully improve things to avoid these kinds of losses in the future.  Overall, it will open up again as a new and improved Hermit Park Open Space.” 
 
Residents in the area may also see some activity near the entrance of Hermit Park Open Space over the next few weeks that is unrelated to the restoration of the area. The Natural Resources Department is assisting with the larger recovery effort in Estes Park by providing a staging area for National Guard units and equipment. “We’re glad we can help with the recovery in Estes Park,” Fleming said. “This is a time we all need to pull together and lend a hand where we can. It’s really the least we can do for our neighbors.” 
 
The most up to date information about the ongoing restoration at Hermit Park Open Space will be posted on the Department of Natural Resources website at www.larimer.org/naturalresources
 
 
To learn more about Larimer County’s parks and open spaces,
visit our website at www.larimer.org/naturalresources
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