ESTES PARK - After more than a week of waiting for the federal government to reopen, Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-Colorado) told 9NEWS he's asking the White House to temporarily hand over control of part of Rocky Mountain National Park to Colorado's state government.
The governor is proposing that the park service allow Colorado to maintain and patrol Trail Ridge Road, which runs through the national park, connecting Estes Park and Grand Lake.
The Colorado Department of Transportation would plow and maintain the road, while Colorado State Patrol would be tasked with sending troopers to keep it safe for use.
Before the shutdown, Rocky Mountain National Park spokeswoman Kyle Patterson told 9NEWS she didn't think this idea would be workable, but did not entirely rule it out.
"I can't see a reason why not," Gov. Hickenlooper said. "There might be some federal law that gets in our way. That's the only thing I think that can happen, otherwise I think they'll probably try to find a way to do it."
Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colorado) wrote a letter the White House asking for the road to be reopened as well, though it did not specifically ask for the state to be granted control.
It's not just about opening a connector.
Most businesses are back open in the town of Estes Park, but complain that the shutdown of the national park has dried up tourism.
"The store used to be jam-packed. The line used to be out of the store," said manager Anish Tamrakr, standing inside the dead-quiet Hayley's Ice Cream shop. "We had to lay off a couple of people because of this."
Reopening the road would not mean an open park.
Trails and other park facilities would remain off-limits, but tourists could enjoy the scenic drive in fall.
Park officials say plowing the road only works for so long.
Once winter comes, blowing snow at the pass tends to recover the roadway quickly after plowing it.
(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)