Rocky Mountain National Park deals with overcrowding [updated]

April 9, 2015
Photo: Bear Lake shuttle RMNP
A shuttle picks up visitors in Rocky Mountain National Park to bring them to Bear Lake, one of the park's most-visited sites.

Update: Park officials issued a statement saying they have no plans to close parts of the park. Our original post, which cites the Loveland Reporter-Herald, is below.

Original post: Rocky Mountain National Park officials may close certain parts of the park during its busiest days as part of their plan to deal with an increasing number of visitors.

The Loveland Reporter-Herald reports Thursday that more than 3.4 million people visited the park last year. It already runs shuttles from nearby Estes Park to cut down on traffic and urges visitors to come on the weekdays.

Too many people (and vehicles) in the park can affect the trails, roads and wildlife, but it also can hinder the natural experience park users are seeking with crowds and noise, explained Rick Fedorchak, chief of interpretation and education.

"If you're at Bear Lake on a summer day, you're not going to hear those natural sounds until you're a quarter mile up the road," he said.

The park began planning for 4 million annual visitors more than a year ago, the paper reports.