Friday, June 14, 2013

Fire Destroys Much of Canon City's Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge & Park

To the left is what Royal Gorge Bridge, over the Arkansas River, in Canon City, Colorado looks like today, after being burned by a wildfire which Canon City and Royal Gorge Bridge and Park officials describe as leaving a tragic, devastating, cataclysmic, demoralizing, desertscape, moonscape.

As of late Thursday the Royal Gorge Fire's estimated 3,100 acres was 20% contained.

Of the 52 structures on the park's property, only 4 remain unscathed by flame. Those structures which have been burned by the fire, include the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park's visitor's center, tramway building, carousel and multiple restaurants.

The Royal Bridge Suspension Bridge is 956 feet above the Arkansas River, making it one of the highest bridges in the world. Over 1,000 wooden planks make up the bridge's road bed. Of those more  than 1,000 planks, 32 were burned  on the south end of the bridge.

Park  officials plan to have the park reopened within months and rebuilt within a year.

Below is the same view of the Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge, as above, in its pre-fire state, back when I had my one and only visit to Royal Gorge, back in the last century. My memory of the Royal Gorge area does not include a lot of flammable foliage of the sort which would make such a catastrophic fire. Clearly my memory is faulty on this subject.