Recently, Sue of Rabbit Run Cottage was on facebook chatting about all of the wonderful places in the U.S. to visit. I had to chime in about the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park that is practically in my own backyard. It is owned by our city -- Canon City, Colorado -- and was built in 1929, at that time the world's highest suspension bridge.
But, a year ago in June 2013, a devastating wildfire swept through the park destroying 48 of the 52 structures.
Miraculously, the bridge was spared -- I took the picture below last weekend. You can see the landscape has changed after the fire; but there has been reseeding and new trees planted.
A few of the boards on the bridge deck were scorched; they were replaced; and the bridge has been inspected for safety.
Point Sublime has a new roof.
The views are as spectacular as before!
A view of the Arkansas River 1000 feet below.
Going back to that horrible day a year ago -- below is the bridge and park being evacuated safely on that day.
A new visitor center is being built. To the right of the entrance, they are incorporating some of the boards from the bridge that were charred in the fire.
The trip on the narrow-gauge funicular railway to the river below the bridge was always my favorite part of touring the park. Our son worked many summers on the "incline" during high school and college. Unfortunately, it was destroyed beyond repair during the fire.
In this pre-fire picture, you can see the rock house in the back that housed the mechanics.
This fire has been devastating to our community -- the loss of jobs at "The Gorge" included so many high school and college kid's summer work plus the full-time, year-round positions.
Also, since the bridge and park are owned by the city, we have been dependent on the income to supplement tax dollars.
This is the current logo being used on advertising. They want to let all of our visitors know that there is still a lot to do and see in our beautiful community. Right now, there are guided tours available on the weekends at the bridge to view the scenery and to see the reconstruction occurring. They plan to open the new visitor's center and some of the other attractions next month, August 2014.
PLUS, we have wonderful rafting on the Arkansas River; lots of hiking, climbing, and biking opportunities; and we have a railroad running on short daily trips along the river through the gorge where you can view the bridge from below.
For more information check out the following:
Royal Gorge Bridge and Park
Canon City Chamber of Commerce
Royal Gorge Route Railroad
Fremont County Adventure Recreation (FAR)
Arkansas River Rafting and Fishing Companies
COME VISIT US!
I have not been compensated by any of these local businesses; I just love my community and think it is beautiful!