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Commissioners Celebrate Gold Belt Byway Anniversary

Fremont and Teller County Commissioners took part in the 25th Anniversary Celebration of the Gold Belt Scenic Byway in September. The tour across the two counties included a visit to the Cripple Creek Heritage Center. Pictured left to right: Teller County Commissioner Mark Dettenrieder, Fremont County Commissioner Tim Payne, Teller County Commissioner Norm Steen, Gold Belt Byway Director Charlotte Bumgarner, & Fremont County Commissioner Ed Norden

Federal, state, and local government officials in Fremont and Teller Counties took time out from their schedules to join representatives of the Gold Belt Scenic Byway in celebrating the byway’s 25th anniversary in September.

The City of Florence helped kicked off the tour with breakfast September 22nd at the Florence Senior Center.    The tour then traveled up Phantom Canyon with a stop at the historical steel bridge where Royal Gorge Area Field Manager for the Bureau of Land Management Keith Berger talked about the history of the Gold Belt Scenic Byway designation .   The tour group was greeted in Victor by the Mayor and other town officials before traveling to the Cripple Creek Heritage Center for a luncheon with Cripple Creek and Teller County officials.

BLM Royal Gorge Area Field Manager Keith Berger explains the history of the Gold Belt Scenic Byway designation when the tour group stopped at the historical steel bridge in Phantom Canyon. The steel bridge is the only original bridge still standing from when the Florence and Cripple Creek Narrow Gauge Railroad operated in the canyon hauling gold ore from the Cripple Creek mining district.

A highlight of the tour was a special visit to the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument where officials were allowed a rare glimpse of the laboratory work being conducted in the ongoing research of fossilized specimens.

The tour concluded with a reception hosted by the City of Cañon City at the Fremont Center for the Arts where awards were presented to area photographers who entered the Gold Belt Byway photo contest.