4:55pm

Fri July 26, 2013
Environment

Royal Gorge Disaster Declaration Signed By President

Royal Gorge Fire perimeter map, June 13
Credit Rocky Mountain Area Incident Management Team

President Obama signed a Colorado Disaster Declaration Friday, releasing federal dollars for victims of the 2013 June Royal Gorge wildfire.

The declaration triggers unemployment benefits for the employees of the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park and others who are out of work after the wildfire and aren't eligible for regular state jobless benefits. The fire destroyed several structures in the park and charred more than 3,200 acres.

The Denver Post reports the state park drew about 300,000 people a year and brought in $9 million in revenue to Fremont County a year. The park, which lost 48 of its 52 buildings, will be closed until the fall.

Gov. John Hickenlooper’s office says a similar request for a disaster declaration is pending for this summer’s Black Forest Fire, which was the most destructive in Colorado’s history.