Royal Gorge Tram, Tourism Consumed by Fire

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SAM Magazine—Canon City, Colo., June 18, 2013—A 3,200-acre wildfire last week destroyed much of the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park. The iconic suspension bridge survived largely intact, along with several more recent additions, including the park’s skycoaster and zipline. But the park’s aerial tram was destroyed, along with 48 of the park’s 52 structures.

Peggy Gair, a spokeswoman for the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, said that "many buildings on the property were a catastrophic loss." She added that the aerial tram near the bridge was destroyed. The tram cable fell after being severely charred, she said. Other losses included the carousel, visitor center, and gift shop.

The suspension bridge itself appeared to sustain minor damage, as 32 wooden planks burned. The park’s barn and animals, park ranger building, and plaza theater also survived the blaze.

The fire was first reported early Tuesday afternoon, June 11, and rapidly grew in size, fueled by beetle-killed trees. It burned for six days before it was 100 percent contained.

It is not known how soon The Royal Gorge Bridge & Park will be able to reopen, but Royal Gorge Company officials tentatively hope to open on a limited capacity by fall. However, However, nothing will be known until insurance crews and engineers complete their damage assessments."