The mountain community of Estes Park, CO and the surrounding area was hit by what is being called a 100-year flood (and 1000-year flood in some areas). The rain started on Wednesday night, September 11th and continued through Friday.
Thousands of structures have been destroyed, mainly in the Big Thompson Canyon, but including the towns of Drake and Glen Haven and highways 34 & 36.
The slogan to immediately come out of this natural disaster is “Mountain Strong.” And that is what Estes Park residents are. While Boulder was getting all the attention, and word wasn’t out about Estes Park, the residents were already pulling together. Just a few examples:
- One resident used a shovel to divert a river.
- Residents in Little Valley repaired their own roads, and built temporary bridges so residents could drive their cars out instead of getting airlifted with only a backpack.
- Climbers set up Tyrolean traverses to evacuate residents stranded across flooded rivers in Glen Haven.
- Glen Haven volunteer firefighters ferried food and supplies to stranded residents on 4-wheelers (also donated by a local business).
- Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ donated meals to town employees and other rescue personnel.
- Mama Rose’s made lemonade out of lemons…and gave it away.
- One local business repaired a major road with their own road repair equipment so their employees, and local residents, could get into town.
- People opened up their homes to strangers for “flood parties” and bonding.
- With only local phone service, no cell phone service, and limited internet, residents gave out their internet codes so complete strangers could get in contact with concerned loved ones in the “outside world.”
- Free coffee and food was readily available throughout town, including Mocha Angelo’s.
- Estes Park Pet Supply (and Feed Store) readily handed out clothing to displaced residents and gloves to cleanup crews.
- Rocky Mountain Health Club gave passes to town employees (including police and fire) so they could get hot showers.
The common denominator in these stories, and far more, is that these locals stepped up, without anyone telling them to. They did these things without waiting for government assistance, but rather, because it was the right thing to do.
For information about all things Estes Park, check out the Estes Park Community Flood Recovery page on Facebook (the page was started on Friday, September 13th and has nearly the entire town as friends, 6,278 people).
Local donations can be made to Crossroads Ministry of Estes Park, PO Box 3616, Estes Park, CO 80517. Earmark any gifts for “flood recovery” and 84% of each gift will directly assist the people of Estes Park with flood relief.