While visitors are no longer able to enjoy the beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park in person due to recent closures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, they can still take in a sunrise via the park’s social media presence.
Last weekend, the park dedicated two sunrise photos to first responders, health care workers and other critical employees who are working to keep things running even as many are stuck at home, and asked page visitors to do the same.
What public affairs officer Kyle Patterson didn’t expect was the outpouring of support both for park officials and other workers as the two posts received more than 22,000 engagements and close to 150 comments, with more coming in each day.
“When Rocky Mountain National Park did close for public access on the 20th, we really wanted to find ways to reach out and connect with people. There are so many people who follow the park’s social media channels and have a deep connection to Rocky, so we wanted to continue to think of ways we could connect with our virtual visitors,” Patterson said.
On Saturday, the page posted an image from near Trail Ridge Road of the sun rising over morning dew and fog, dedicating it to first responders and health care workers, asking them to “picture yourself here, take a deep breath, and know we appreciate all you are doing!”
However, it quickly became clear that the list of those currently working who deserve thanks was nowhere near complete.
Sunday’s post showed another gorgeous sunrise shining down on the snow and mountains of the park, and was dedicated to those maintaining services such as grocery store employees, delivery workers, truck drivers, custodians, construction workers, pharmacies, utilities and many more, with a call for commenters to share who they are thankful for.
And comment they did. “It had a wonderful snowball effect and people are still engaging with it. If it touched just a few people that means the world to us,” Patterson said.
Going forward, her plan is to continue to use the page as well as the park’s Instagram account to reach out to those who can’t visit in person, but who can gain some peace from a glimpse of nature on their screens.
“We know it’s obviously not the same as being here in person, but it brings comfort for people to see photos and know they will be able to visit again,” Patterson said.
Thankful comments on the two posts include:
- Laura Stilwell said, “ALL essential workers….the list goes on, and we can never thank them enough for what they’re doing!”
- Walter Clark said, “All the farmers working every day.”
- Kelli Flores said, “We are in this together and we will get through this! There is a lot of good work being done by so many people in our industry and others! Stay safe, healthy and strong everyone!”
- Debbie Resch said, “Thank you for posting this beautiful picture. I agree, It’s scary to go to work. I work in a hospital lab. Dreaming of the day this is over and I can return to my beloved mountains.”
- Maggy Lind said, “I would like to thank all of the folks you listed and many more unsung everyday heroes who are out there working daily to keep us all going!”