COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Tourists will have to wait until next summer before they can return to the popular Flying W Ranch in northwest Colorado Springs.
Ranch spokesman Aaron Winter said Wednesday that the staff has decided the 60-year-old ranch isn't safe for the public yet, nearly a year after the Waldo Canyon Fire.
Winter cited danger from falling trees and and an increased risk of flash flooding. The June 2012 blaze destroyed nearly every building on the ranch.
The decision to keep the ranch closed will disappoint many who love visiting the attraction and are eager to see the fire's aftermath. The ranch is famous for its hearty chuck-wagon suppers and western-style entertainment.
Ranch staff and volunteers are working with a restoration expert and the federal government to dig 12 retention basins. Winter said the basins will trap debris and settlement that flow down the mountainsides during heavy rains.
The ranch has been working hard to lessen erosion around its property, after rains caused erosion damage last summer. Workers have used burned trees to slow the flow of erosion and water.
Winter said when the ranch reopens next summer, it will have an outdoor structure for meals and entertainment.
There will be special events at the ranch this summer, however. Winter said wedding bookings will start in a few weeks, and there's also a possibility of all-terrain vehicle tours through the ranch.
The ranch also has an ongoing need for volunteers to help with cleanup and erosion/flood control. If you're interested, please visit http://www.flyingw.com/