The visitors who travel to Estes Park come from all over the world to enjoy the beautiful Rocky Mountains. They come to hike and fish and escape from more urban landscapes.
In a nod to the natural environment that feeds the local tourist economy, the owner of Coyote Mountain Lodge, 1340 Big Thompson Ave., and Discovery Lodge, 800 Big Thompson Ave., has invested $400,000 to install solar panels.
â€śThis was a huge investment, but we want to make our accommodations sustainable for future generations,â€ť said owner Eric Neeb. â€śI want to give back to the environment that supports us.â€ť
The 1950s mid-century properties now look â€śmore modern and relevant,â€ť Neeb commented. â€śI think it helps revitalize the lodges.â€ť
The impact on energy production will be huge. According to Neeb, the 211 panels at Discovery Lodge will generate 93 kilowatts of solar power and the 170 panels at Coyote Mountain Lodge will generate 75 kilowatts of solar power. He said together they will offset about three-quarters of energy usage annualized.
â€śThere were huge tax credits last year and programming and federal financing to help support this investment,â€ť Neeb explained. â€śIt was the coming together of different incentives that made it financially viable.â€ť
Over the life of the solar panels, more than 5,000 tons of CO2 emissions will be saved.
â€śGetting away from it all is becoming more and more important to people, especially with the pandemic,â€ť General Manager Peter Walstra said. â€śI see many people who come here who want to relax, regain peace of mind and enjoy the beauty of nature at their own pace.â€ť
Discovery Lodge has 57 rooms and Coyote Mountain Lodge has 48 rooms. The properties have been operating at full capacity since June 1, although Walstra said business is down from last year.
â€śItâ€™s building,â€ť he commented. â€śJust this month it seems as though the weekends are getting busier. The weekdays are still pretty slow. In previous years, we would be full every single night.â€ť
The properties offer on-site stocked fishing ponds, fire pits and grills to add to visitorsâ€™ experiences.
â€śItâ€™s like camping, but at the end of the night you get to return to a comfortable, clean, good-smelling bed,â€ť Walstra emphasized. â€śEstes Park definitely has its own flavor. Itâ€™s easy to say that itâ€™s beautiful up here, but itâ€™s a different pace. The air smells different. People in town are nice and welcoming.â€ť