On the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park lies the small town of Estes Park. There’s a very good chance you’ve already heard of it. It’s population is around 6,500 people and is only around 7 square miles, but it’s still plenty popular among tourists. If you’re visiting the national park, there’s a good chance you’ll stop, or maybe even stay, in this town. Plus, it features the famous Stanley Hotel, the supposedly haunted hotel that inspired Stephen King to write The Shining.
The town also includes A LOT of wildlife. Specifically, bears and elk are quite common (I was actually just in Estes Park for a wedding, and we saw five elk hanging out and could hear elk bugling in the distance the whole time). It’s no surprise, then, that videos like this come out of the town. If you’re wondering how the elk are able to stand a good distance away from the shore of Lake Estes, well, it only reaches 45 feet at its maximum depths.
— Seth Boster (@SethBoster) September 27, 2022
Elk actually have a fairly interesting history in and around Rocky Mountain National Park. According to the National Park Service, the settling of Estes Valley by Euro-Americans led to the near complete wipe out of elk in the region by 1890. From 1913-14, 49 elk were brought into the valley by the Estes Valley Improvement Association and United States Forest Service, all while efforts were made to crush the populations of gray wolves, grizzly bears, and other predators. As a result, the elk population was able to skyrocket, leading to an actual overpopulation of the beasts.
“The current Elk and Vegetation Management Plan addresses these issues. The plan’s goal is to maintain a more natural population of 600-800 elk in the park’s low-elevation valleys during the winter.” – National Park Service
Image Credit: Seth Boster on Twitter