Flying W Ranch won't reopen this year

Local attraction closed since 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire

Flying W Ranch Won't Reopen This Summer

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The need for flood control work is keeping the Flying W Ranch in Colorado Springs closed for a third consecutive summer.

The popular tourist attraction, famous nationwide for its hearty chuckwagon meals and entertainment, has been closed since it was virtually destroyed by the Waldo Canyon Fire in June 2012.

Spokesman Aaron Winter said the staff tried to reopen this year but flood damage and the need for flood mitigation work makes the property unsafe for the public.

"A lot of the mitigation work that we did last summer was washed away during the heavy rain last fall," he said.  "We still have 90 percent of the work to do."

Flood damage, Winter said, also makes the ranch unsafe to conduct driving tours as the Royal Gorge Park, rebuilding after a fire last summer, is doing.

The ranch seeks volunteers to help with flood control projects.  Work will be done on weekends during the spring and summer.

One of the 50 volunteers at the ranch Thursday was Karan Randall.  She moved to Woodland Park recently after visiting the ranch.

"The night it burned down, I happened to be online and saw it," she said.  "I was heartbroken because I was so looking forward to bringing my grandchildren here when they visited us.  This is my way of giving back."

The ranch was built in 1953.  Only one building withstood the flames.  Winter said plans for rebuilding the ranch should be finished this summer.

"It's going to still have the same appeal and feel of the Flying W," he said.  "But it's going to be more modern, obviously.  Sprinkler systems, high-vaulted ceilings, better lighting.  It's going to be different.  We'd love to build it the way that it was, but we know that we can't.  We just want to make sure that when we do build it, it's better than what it was."

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