Loveland’s Viestenz-Smith Mountain Park reopens five years after it was destroyed in the floods

Loveland’s Viestenz-Smith Mountain Park reopens five years after it was destroyed in the floods

Since 1926, many memories have been created at Viestenz-Smith Mountain Park — weddings, reunions, picnics and much more.

The Loveland city park in the Big Thompson Canyon is ready for the next round of memories, reopening Friday for the first time in five years since it was destroyed by the 2013 flood.

The park has changed from a manicured city park of green lawns and playgrounds to a natural mountain park with native grasses and trees, boulders and picnic shelters. And the Big Thompson River flows through a different spot, where it moved to naturally after the 1976 and 2013 floods.

Many partners spent the past few years designing and rebuilding the park for resilience, creating a natural haven in the canyon that could withstand another flood. There are two, wider bridges, a paved area to access the river, a winding path, trees and a unique character.

That experience is now open for residents, and sunny, warm temperatures are forecast for its first weekend open since the flood that caused $4 billion in damage across 24 counties and killed 10 people in Colorado, two who lived in nearby Cedar Cove, just down the canyon from the mountain park.

Read more at the Reporter-Herald.

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