Estes Park, Colorado, USA – 2016 International Finalist
Estes Park, Colorado is located 70 miles northwest of Denver at the eastern entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. Surrounded by some of the most spectacular scenery in the Rocky Mountains, Estes Park is a popular choice for vacationers throughout the year. Many people come to see various flocks of birds, small herds of deer, coyotes, bighorn sheep and large herds of elk. The Town of Estes Park was incorporated in 1917 and is governed by an elected mayor and a six-member board of trustees. The Town Administrator oversees daily operations with roughly 120 Town employees.
While offering outdoor recreation, shopping, dining, festivals and special events, there are a number of local clubs, an exceptional medical center, an excellent school system, and an engaging library. More than 300 unique shops offer items ranging from hand-crafted art to apparel. A free shuttle system allows a convenient alternative for guests and locals to get around Town. There are accommodations to fit any visitor’s needs including historic lodges, condominiums, hotels, motels and B&Bs. There are a number of events that draw guests to Town such as the Rooftop Rodeo, Fourth of July fireworks over Lake Estes, Longs Peak Scottish-Irish Highland Festival as well as local traditions such as the downtown corridor being closed off for a family friendly Halloween trick-or-treat.
Planting flowers in Estes Park can be quite a challenge. A rugged climate and inquisitive wildlife keep gardeners on their toes. The growing season starts in late May and typically ends with the first frosts that vary from the beginning of September to mid-October. The largest, and no doubt the most popular, wildlife are the elk. Many roam through even the most populated areas of Town. And, since eating flowers is their favorite pastime, keeping these sizeable animals out of floral displays is not an easy task. Efforts to do so include careful plant choices, fencing, and deterrent sprays.
The YMCA of the Rockies encourages guests to walk around their property that contains a hedge-based labyrinth, a legacy garden and a walking promenade which prominently features wildflower grass and potted seasonal flowers which may include many different kinds of annual flowers. The YMCA of the Rockies is also involved in a number of environmental and conservation partnerships, including working with the Colorado State Forest Service since the 1980s on preservation and wildfire prevention projects. A Forest Stewardship Plan is in development for the next decade. This plan will help the facility prioritize actions in terms of safety and preservation over the next ten years.
Estes Park is a combination of small town living and a premier mountain destination. The culture and diversity make it a vibrant place for guests and residents. The Town of Estes Park and its partner agencies strive to provide citizens with clean public properties and amenities that create a high quality of life – from diverse public spaces, trails and art, to the award-winning Rooftop Rodeo, to the millions of twinkle lights that decorate the town with merriment during the holiday season. Community members are drawn together in activities and stewardship to make the community a great place to live and visit. Just enter the valley and let the village’s natural beauty speak for itself.