FREMONT COUNTY, Colo. - Work officially began Friday on a project to rebuild and restore fire-damaged areas of the Royal Gorge Park, which should be ready for a complete reopening in August.
Local politicians, businessmen and park managers used ceremonial gold-plated shovels to turn dirt in snowy weather at one of the park's construction sites.
Park managers say up to 70 workers are assigned to the project, and that it will make the park bigger and better with more rides, shows and other attractions. A visitors' center, restaurant and deck are among the facilities being rebuilt.
Insurance will cover the $25 million cost of the project.
Park managers said the new construction will use more steel and less wood as protection from future fires. The project includes turning many burned trees into mulch as bedding for saplings and grass seed.
The park lost business from parts of the past two summers because of the fire at the park and the impact of the Waldo Canyon Fire in 2012.
Beginning March 15, the park will offer guided tours of the area, to be held every weekend until the scheduled grand reopening in August. The tours will cost $10 for adults and $6 for children.