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REPORT OF THE ACTING SUPERVISOR OF ROCKY MOUNTAIN
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK,
OFFICE OF SUPERVISOR,
Estes Park, Colo., October 4, 1915. SIR: Pursuant to instructions of departmental letter of September 24, 1915, I make the following report on the affairs of the Rocky Mountain National Park.
The Rocky Mountain National Park was created on January 26, 1915, on which date the act of Congress was approved. (Public, 238, 63d Cong.) This park is located in the northern part of Colorado and has
an area of 3581 square miles, and includes the principal part of the Rocky Mountain Range, the highest point being Longs Peak, which is 14,255 feet, and 14 mountain peaks that are over 13,000 feet above sea level. The park is accessible to tourists and travelers at numerous points on the eastern and western boundaries, where trails have been in existence for a number of years.
There are two roads within the boundaries of the park which are accessible from the county roads without passing through private property before entering the park. The most central point from which the public can enter the park to different points therein is Estes Park, a small village located about 3 miles from the nearest point to the park boundary and approximately 7} miles from the main entrance where the Fall River Road enters the park.
The nearest point from the main entrance to a railroad is 294 miles. The supervisor's office for this park was opened July 10, 1915, and located at the village of Estes Park, the nearest points to railroad stations from that place being Lyons, Colo., 22 miles; Loveland, 33 miles; Fort Collins, Colo., 46 miles; and Boulder, 40 miles-automobile stage lines making regular trips between these points and Estes Park, with special rates during the tourist season. I assumed charge of the Rocky Mountain National Park as acting supervisor on July 1, 1915, and was unable to accomplish as much as I desired owing to the fact that I was unassisted, no appointments of employees being made until August 10, when one ranger was appointed. Consequently there has been little progress made this season toward improvements in the park.
Fall River Road.-The Fall River Road, which was constructed with State convict labor in 1914, before the national park was created, was built to a point about 2 miles within the park boundary.
Construction of this road is now being continued to a point 3 miles distant from where the convict work ended. This work is being done under contract by the State of Colorado at a cost of $18,000, $2,500 of which is to be paid by the Department of the Interior. The contractor commenced under the present contract, on July 2, 1915, and expects to complete the work by November 1 of this year. This road when completed will terminate at the junction of the county road, about 9 miles north of Grand Lake, a distance of approximately 194 miles within the park boundary, and will reach the highest point when crossing the Continental Divide at about 11,300 feet above sea level.
That part of the Fall River Road which was built by convict labor is in fair condition but requires repairing at certain points. It is entirely too narrow, in some places being only 8 and 10 feet in width. The point known as the second "switchback," which is reached by a 12 per cent grade, was not sufficiently wide for the average vehicle to change direction without a “seesaw” movement, which made the point extremely dangerous, there being no protection to prevent a vehicle from going over the embankment.
This defect has been remedied by cutting into the bank a distance of 8 feet, thereby enabling a large automobile to make the turn. Contract has been let for the construction of a stone retaining wall at this point, and when completed all chances of accidents at this point will be eliminated. At the time of building the “convict road” no culverts were constructed, and this is necessary at points 400 feet apart where the grade is 7 per cent or more. These culverts should be installed as soon as possible in the spring of 1916, and the gutters opened up. The county road extending into the park on private holdings is in bad condition. A survey of the balance of the Fall River Road should be made before any further steps are taken to continue the construction. The survey which was made in 1912 was a preliminary survey only.
Road to Sprague's.—There is a roadway entering the park running parallel to Glacier Creek approximately 11 miles in length which was constructed by Mr. A. E. Sprague at his own expense, and leads to his summer resort, located in the park. Access to this road is through private property. The road is in fair condition and an expenditure of $100 would improve it considerably.
Road to Bear Lake.-Continuing from Sprague's resort in a westerly direction and extending to within 1 mile of Bear Lake is a roadway, 2 miles in length, in poor condition. At an expenditure of about $300 this roadway could be made passable for automobiles, if a log bridge was constructed across Glacier Creek in close proximity to Sprague's resort.
Copeland Lake Road.—There is a roadway entering the park near Copeland Lake and extending a distance of approximately 14 miles. The road is in poor condition and was built by the Arbuckle Supply & Reservoir Co., and is passible for horse-drawn vehicles only and leads to a trail to “ Wild Basin."
Road to Mill Creek Ranger Station. This road runs parallel to Mill Creek and extends about one-half mile into the park. The road is in poor condition, and in order to enter the park at this point it is necessary to pass through private lands over a road which is exceed