What’s in the worst shape at Rocky? The stuff you can’t see – Colorado News

What’s in the worst shape at Rocky? The stuff you can’t see – Colorado News

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Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most popular, and dangerous, 14,000-foot Colorado peaks.
Stephen Meyers/The Coloradoan

Colorado’s iconic national park enters its 102nd year with more than $75 million in deferred maintenance needs

Nobody cares much about water and wastewater systems until the faucet runs brown or the toilet backs up.

But that reality isn’t so far down the trail for Rocky Mountain National Park, which will celebrate its birthday next month with 102 candles and more than $75 million in deferred maintenance.

It’s the heftiest repairs backlog the park has seen in seven years, and a recent funding award from the Department of the Interior won’t do much to change that.

Facing a growing maintenance to-do list and an uncertain funding future, park officials say they’ll spend the next several years focusing on the nuts and bolts: waterlines and septic systems.

“It’s underground, so nobody pays much attention to it,” said Justin Pattison, RMNP facility manager. “And now, service-wide, everything’s kind of coming to a point beyond its life cycle.”

Related: Interior Secretary Zinke unveils major funding plan at RMNP

That means some of Rocky’s older facilities could be a mere five to 10 years away from serious issues, like unsafe water, malfunctioning toilets and poor water pressure that would leave emergency responders hamstrung in the event of a big fire, Pattison said. New data that pinpoints the condition of each of the park’s various…

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