No Reservation? Expect To Be Turned Away From RMNP
I truly can't imagine what it's like working as a guard at Rocky Mountain National Park these days.
Ever since the park's reservation policy went into effect for a second season last Friday (May 28), guards stationed at the guard shack at the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station in the park have faced some backlash in response to the re-instated reservation policy at Rocky Mountain National Park.
.“We’re going to get yelled at nonstop all day this summer,” one guard said, according to the Greeley Tribune. “It’s going to be a nightmare. I’ve already seen some pretty hostile interactions.”
On Friday, May 28 at around 10am, the wait in line to enter Rocky Mountain National Park was reportedly running right at one hour. Several people were turned away from the park for neglecting to have reservations, including Shane Paul, who had been visiting the park with his wife and two daughters from Ohio.
A family trip to Rocky Mountain National Park seemed like a good idea to the Paul's, who were mainly in Colorado to celebrate a birthday down in Aurora, until were denied entry because they lacked a reservation they didn’t know was required.
Luckily, Shane handled the rejection better than most did that day.
“It was unfortunate,” Paul said in a rather pleasant tone. “We sat in line a long time.”
The Greeley Tribune said there was one electronic road sign allegedly intended to warn visitors they should turn around if they didn’t have reservations, rather than wasting an hour in line, but it wasn’t clear. The sign reportedly flashed three messages on a loop: “PERMITS FULL … COME BACK AFTER 3 … BEAR LAKE AFTER 6.”
While the message from the signage might've been clear to some, it was confusing to others.
Rachel Mandello, a Windsor resident who's recently moved from California said she saw the electronic sign but had assumed her season pass was her permit. She found out that was not the case once she got to the guard shack.
“Very frustrated,” Mandello said. “I feel bad for the people who come from out of state, they drove all the way here, they sit for an hour only to be turned away and told to come back after 3. But I’m like, ‘You’re at a national park, it’s a beautiful day, that was your view while you waited, so how mad can you really be?”
While Mandello admits there were some undeniably great views to see as she and her family waited in line to get into the park, she thought park officials could have handled the entire situation better.
“You go to In-N-Out, there’s the lady taking your order halfway down the line,” Mandello said. “You can’t have a ranger standing there, like, ‘Turn around if you don’t have a permit’? There needs to be signage. There was that one flashing sign. It made no sense. It said ‘Permits full.’ I’m like, ‘We have a permit, so I don’t I need a permit.’ It didn’t say anything about ‘timed entry.’”
The experience was undoubtedly frustrating for many, but rather a breeze for some, too.
The Coghlans of Littleton, for instance, had a much better experience while waiting in line to enter the park. Brendan Coghlan was able to obtain one of the few reservations that are held back until the day before a visit. They typically go on sale at 5 p.m., and he was reportedly online at the stroke of 5 to successfully secure a reservation. Additionally, the Coghlans didn’t have to wait long at all to get into the park.
Brendan's Coghlan's wife, Cheryl, said she understands why park officials implemented the reservations policy in response to the high influx of park visitors in recent years.
“With so many people, you have to change with the times,” she said. “I don’t particularly like it, I’d love to just be able to say, ‘Oh, it’s a beautiful day, let’s drive on up.’ Is it good or bad? I have to say it’s probably best for the park. Is it the best for the locals? No. Is it the best for travelers? Maybe, if they plan ahead.”
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