Tune in to Watch RMPBS Fairy Caves Episode

Rocky Mountain PBS “Colorado Experience” Viewers’ Choice Episode about the Fairy Caves airs Thursday, March 26, at 7:30 p.m.; viewers outside of Colorado can watch at www.rmpbs.org/coex at the same time.

Fairy Caves Wins Viewers’ Choice

This time last year, Colorado residents voted for “Fairy Caves” to be the 2020 Rocky Mountain PBS “Colorado Experience” Viewers’ Choice.

Every year, Colorado Experience conducts a Viewers’ Choice Award contest to let viewers decide what episode Rocky Mountain PBS will produce. According to producer Eric Hernandez, “For a few weeks, typically in March, there is a call for submissions when anyone can suggest episode ideas; we always get a long list of interesting and important topics. This year we had 360 submissions! We narrowed that down to six finalists from different regions and timeframes and opened the contest for voting.”

Getting the Vote Out

The team at Glenwood Caverns and the Historic Fairy Caves, which is part of Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, pulled out all the stops to encourage people to vote. An initial email was sent to managers and supervisors asking them to share with their employees, friends and family members. A social media and email newsletter campaign started, and the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association asked for support from the business community. It all came together with reminder emails and Facebook posts.

History in the Spotlight

“This show is so special to us as it chronicles the history of the Fairy Caves as well as Glenwood Springs, and the timing is wonderful because this year marks the 125th anniversary of the discovery of the cave. We got a sneak preview and it brought tears to my eyes,” admitted Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park co-owner Jeanne Beckley. “Although our local premiere has been postponed, we hope our community can tune in Thursday night.”

Episode Airs March 26 

The Fairy Caves episode airs Thursday, March 26, at 7:30 p.m.; viewers outside of Colorado can watch at www.rmpbs.org/coex at the same time. Filming primarily took place last May. Jeanne and husband and co-owner Steve Beckley are featured in the show along with general manager Nancy Heard, natural attractions manager Kathy Miller, executive director of the Glenwood Springs Historical Society Bill Knight, and cave historian and author of “Colorado Caves” Richard Rhinehart.

 

Learn the Fascinating Story of the Fairy Caves

“Colorado Experience: Fairy Caves” explores the magical Fairy Caves—once dubbed “The 8th Wonder of the World.” Hidden inside Glenwood Springs’ Iron Mountain, this living cave network inspires awe. But the caverns were nearly lost to time and were closed for more than 80 years—until an engineer who also happened to be a caver had a vision of how to return the magic to this fantastical place.

Mechanical Wizard Keeps Thrill Rides Rolling

Mike Liebelt is a whiz at all things mechanical. As Lead Mechanic at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park he does whatever it takes to ensure thrill rides are open and ready for Park visitors.

While visitors to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park get an adrenaline rush from thrill rides like the Alpine Coaster, Giant Canyon Swing, Cliffhanger Roller Coaster, Canyon Flyer, Soaring Eagle Zip Ride and the Haunted Mine Drop, the Park’s Lead Mechanic Mike Liebelt gets his from making sure the rides perched on the pinnacle of a mountain in Glenwood Springs are all in top form and running like well-oiled machines.

Liebelt grew up living between Elitches and Lakeside, two Colorado amusement parks. The irony that he’s now employed at one isn’t lost on him. “I loved those parks when I was growing up. When I came here I quickly fell in love with Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park,” he said. “Working here is serendipitous and wonderful!”

Liebelt started as an attractions attendant in 2012, working at the Alpine Coaster. When the season ended he was hired on to spend the winter digging, clearing and expanding areas in the caves. Not only was he grateful for the job, he was all in for the laborious, difficult and exhausting work ahead. “For five months I smashed rocks. It was great,” he said, laughing at the memory. In 2014, he transferred to the maintenance department full time.

“Mike’s knowledge of rides is unmatched. He has been absolutely invaluable with his skills, experience, dedication and ‘can do’ attitude as well has his mentorship of new mechanics,” Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park General Manager, Nancy Heard said.

In the eight years since he began, Liebelt has been part of the installation of all thrill rides since the Alpine Coaster at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. In addition to Lead Mechanic, Liebelt is also Lead Ride Inspector certified through the National Association of Amusement Ride Safety Officers (NAARSO). For trainings he’s traveled to major theme parks including Hershey Park in Pennsylvania and Carowinds in North Carolina. The most recent training took place in-house with Utah-based Apollo Engineering and S&S Worldwide, the largest U.S. manufacturer of amusement park rides and roller coasters.

When it comes to his personal favorites—to work on and ride on—roller coasters are the hands-down winner for Mike Liebelt. He’s particularly excited for the new experience visitors will have on the Cliffhanger Roller Coaster beginning in the spring of 2020. “The Cliffhanger is being completely redone and will basically be a new ride when we’re through. It’s going to be all magnetic, with no moving parts. Guests will experience a smoother, quieter overall ride. My job right now is to make sure it’s open and ready to go by May 22,” he said. “I’m confident we’re going to make it.”

Mike Liebelt, Lead Mechanic at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

Another ride that’s getting an overhaul under Liebelt’s eagle-eye is the Alpine Coaster. The Park’s first and most popular ride is being upgraded with new computers and receiving all-new wiring for its entire length along the mountainside. For guests, it will mean more fun and shorter wait times.

As Lead Mechanic, Liebelt is also the go-to guy when a ride experiences a problem. Sometimes closures are scheduled. When a ride undergoes a mandatory inspection, it may be closed for as long as a day. In that case, the Park posts the closure in advance at the base, the mountain-top and on the Glenwood Caverns website under Ride and Attraction Status.

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Other times mechanical issues arise. “We take a ride being down personally,” he said. “I happen to be very good at problem solving and can quickly diagnose and troubleshoot.” Liebelt is particularly proud of last summer’s nearly flawless operational record. “With safety as our number one priority, our goal is to keep every ride open and operating at all times.” When a ride does have to close down for a maintenance issue, Liebelt tells guests “not to worry, the average repair is completed within 30 minutes.”

What’s the best part of his work? “I love this job. On any given day I might be woodworking, painting, pouring concrete, fixing rides, doing maintenance or weekly inspections, but it’s the people that keep me here. I’ve never worked at a place that feels more like a family.” Liebelt is pretty sure guests feel the same vibe as well, “On a summer day, everywhere you go you see people—families and friends— smiling and having fun,” he said.  That’s reason enough for Mike Liebelt to keep those rides running day in and day out.

Lead Mechanic at Glenwood Caverns, Mike Liebelt often works behind signs like these. Authorized Personnel Only image by StickerMule

Iconic Local: Steve Beckley

In the December issue of Aspen Magazine, writer Hayden Gamble featured our very own Steve Beckley as part of an article on Glenwood Springs. Read the whole story here or pick up the latest issue of the magazine out now.

When he’s not envisioning additions and improvements to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park and Iron Mountain Hot Springs, Steve Beckley enjoys spending time at his remote cabin with his wife and business partner, Jeanne, and their two sons.

As a caver studying petroleum engineering at the Colorado School of Mines in the early ’80s, Beckley read about the Historic Fairy Caves in an out-of-print book, Caves of Colorado. He spent the next 16 years convincing then-owner Pete Prebble to let him visit and, eventually, buy, the cave on top of Iron Mountain in Glenwood Springs.

That led the Beckleys to quit their jobs and move from Denver in 1998. Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, which has grown from a mom-and-pop cave tour into an award-winning theme park, celebrated its 20th anniversary this year, and Iron Mountain Hot Springs has become one of the area’s most popular attractions.

What’s your favorite thing about Glenwood Springs? The people who live here, without a doubt. Ever since Jeanne and I moved to Glenwood Springs 20 years ago, we have built wonderful relationships with the people in this community. Whether we know them from our businesses, our neighborhood, the schools or the Boy Scouts, we couldn’t ask for a nicer, more supportive group of folks.

Favorite hiking trail? We are so lucky to have Glenwood Canyon right in our backyard. The No Name Creek Trail and Grizzly Creek Trail are two of my favorites.

Favorite ski trail? The Beaujolais Run at Sunlight Mountain Resort

Favorite dining splurge? It’s too hard to choose just one. The Riviera, Co. Ranch House and Smoke are among my favorites.

Drink of choice? I like to end the day with a glass of red wine on my deck overlooking beautiful downtown Glenwood Springs.

Best place to caffeinate? I drink decaf Americanos all day long. Some of my favorite places to fuel up are the Hotel Colorado, The Bluebird Cafe, The Espresso Hut and River Blend Coffee House. I drink a lot of coffee.

Favorite event? Jeanne and I both love live music events such as Music in the Park, Music on the Mountain and Strawberry Days.

Best-kept secret in GW? I’m not telling! You need to explore all the wonderful Glenwood Springs amenities and find your own secret place.

Post Independent Spotlights Caverns Employee Cole Newton

The Glenwood Springs Post Independent recently ran a feature story on our very own Cole Newton, cave tour supervisor at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. Read Cole’s fascinating story and why he has a special affinity for all things caves.

Sunday profile: Glenwood Springs native seeks the undiscovered underground

by Josh Carney, [email protected]

When he was just 2 weeks old, Glenwood Springs native Cole Newton found himself deep underground with his parents, Ken Newton and Kathy Keeler, who met while caving. Since then, caving has been a way of life for the 26-year-old Newton.

At 7 years old, Newton became the youngest person to date to submerge to Sub 1 (submerge level 1 for scuba divers in the water flow) inside Spring Cave outside of Meeker.

That passion for caving has created a unique purpose for Newton’s life – educating the public on the wonders of caves, exploring new and exciting places within caves and working to preserve them for future generations.

UNDERGROUND EDUCATION

“I really hope we can continue to education people on why caves are important to our ecosystem on the surface and underground,” Newton said. “They can be a wonderful environment to study and protect. We don’t want to throw garbage into that hole, because that hole can lead to a city’s water supply and other things like that. It’s not a trash can just because it’s a hole in the ground; I want to change that perspective about caves for the general population because caves are important and special.”

Newton originally went to college to become a music teacher, but realizing that teaching in a classroom wasn’t his cup of tea, Newton went back to his passion of caving, which later led to him teaching (in a sense) tour guides all there is to know about the beautiful caves only a short trip away from Glenwood Springs.

Giving tour guides each and every day during peak season on the mountain seems like it could be a drain, but Newton attacks each tour with a uniqueness that can’t be found elsewhere.

“I don’t script my tour guides,” Newton said. “I try and read the tours and let the guests kind of feel me, in a way. It all depends on the makeup of the tours. If I have a bunch of little kids, I talk more about the dragons and the fairies within the caves; if I have a lot of adults, I’ll focus more on the science of things. I want them to get what they want out of the tour, so if I do that, every tour isn’t the same, which keeps it fresh.”

EXPANSION, PRESERVATION, AND EXPLORATION

Cave supervisor, Cole Newton. takes in the view from Exclamation Point.
Cole Newton at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. Photo credit: Chelsea Self/Post Independent

When not giving tours through the cave systems on Iron Mountain, Newton is in charge of updating the new stairs within the cave system, leading the project to put in new concrete and steel, guiding concrete and steel workers on where to place the materials. On top of that, Newton has been mapping and navigating the new King’s Row Loop tour, playing an integral part in hoping the loop comes to fruition.

What Newton loves most though is traveling around the world to visit other cave systems in hopes of learning about the geological systems within the cave.

“A lot of times, I’m looking at the geological aspects, like how is this cave different from caves in the western U.S. versus the eastern U.S. or south U.S, etc.,” Newton said. “Because the way that geology works across the world is that every cave is a little different. They all have a little different influence on how the water would have formed the cave, or whether it was lava or water, things like that. They all create different features, which I find fascinating.”

Earlier this year, Newton traveled to the Frasassi Caves in Italy, which is Italy’s top cave system. The immense cave system was discovered in 1971, and part of the caverns was opened to visitors in 1974. The caverns can be visited only on guided tours, which Newton went on.

The huge rooms of the caverns are filled with stunning stalactites and stalagmites, and highlights of the tour include the Ancona Abyss, a room so large that Milan’s Duomo (the world’s largest Gothic cathedral) could easily fit inside it, a crystallized lake, a Grand Canyon, and a room filled with formations that resemble candles.

“The stalagmites were just gorgeous,” Newton said. “They’re 30, 40 feet tall and have these amazing little cuts on the side of them, so instead of being flowy, they have these extra little features on them.”

Aside from educating himself on the geological systems within the caves he travels to see and explore, Newton also pays attention to the tour guides and how they’re structured as he’s always learning and looking to improve.

“It’s important for me to do that, because if I can learn from others and see how they’re running their own tour guides, I can bring something back from that to the Glenwood Caverns and try to make the tours I give the best possible experience they can be,” he said.

In the end though, the free exploration is what drives Newton. Moving deeper into caves is supposed to be fun for cavers, and without fun it’s not successful.

“There’s got to be some fun in it; you want to have fun,” Newton said. “That’s why you do it. That’s where you get your energy. If one person has that energy, it makes for a successful and fun trip for the group.”

That sense of fun and excitement continues to drive Newton today through his passionate daily tours of the Fairy Cave and King’s Row Cave, and during his free time caving on his own, discovering all there is to see deep beneath the earth’s surface.

[email protected]

Sustainability on the Menu

Eco-friendly products including straws, flatware, cups and plates help reduce the company’s impact on the environment, adding to sustainability practices already in place.  

Protecting and preserving the environment was a top priority for Steve and Jeanne Beckley before they reopened Glenwood Caverns and the Historic Fairy Caves to the public in 1999. It remains so today at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, which is evident from the increase in sustainability practices at the mountain-top Lookout Grille this year.

Eco-friendly Products & Practices

The onsite restaurant is now using eco-friendly forks, spoons, straws, plates for banquet meals, packaging for grab-and-go items like yogurt parfaits, pretzels or veggies with hummus and to-go boxes from Eco Brand, which is based in Boulder, Colorado.

This mindset is spreading. Lookout Grille kitchen manager Aaron Shockley recently noticed how much compost material was accumulating and decided to do something about it. The food compost is now being donated to Big Rock Ranch where it is put to good use feeding chickens.

 

Green Values from the Get-Go

“We have worked diligently over the years to protect the cave. From the start, we installed the airtight doors in the tunnel to King’s Row to maintain the original levels of temperature and humidity so that the cave didn’t dry out,” Jeanne Beckley, who co-owns both companies, said. “There have been computer monitors in the cave since we opened to ensure we sustained these levels, protecting the cave as well as the environment for the unique species that live inside of it.”

A few years ago, the Adventure Park replaced all of the lights inside the cave with LED lights to reduce its electricity consumption and the heat generated by the incandescent lights, which helps protect the humidity levels and the cave’s tiny creatures. Since the LED bulbs don’t have to be replaced as often, employees have less direct contact with cave formations as well.

“It seems only fitting that we now focus on reducing our use of plastic and move toward more paper and compostable products in the restaurant. Also, we hope our guests notice and are motivated to make some changes of their own,” Beckley added. “These changes fit our value system. We care deeply about the environment and will continue to look for ways to reduce our impact.”

Learn more about Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park and plan a visit today!

Interior Decoration: Cave Features

Reflecting-Pool-at-Glenwood-Caverns-by-Ken-Headrick-sm

Caves are so much more than holes in the ground, they are rooms ornately arranged by Mother Nature. Check out the wide variety of cave features that form as water dissolves rock to make caves.

The long process by which water carves caves out of limestone leaves behind fascinating formations as the mineral-rich water flows, loses carbon dioxide or evaporates, and leaves the minerals shaped like flowers, bathtubs, cones, needles, rafts, shields, chandeliers, balloons, columns, or bells, among other things.

The most familiar cave features are stalactites reaching down from the ceiling and stalagmites reaching up from the floor, usually, but not always, in a conical shape. If the minerals are deposited rapidly, for example, some stalagmites develop as a thinner structure called a broomstick. You can distinguish them by remembering that stalactites hold tight to the ceiling while stalagmites might make it to the top. Sometimes, paired stalactites and stalagmites meet to form a column.

Cave Features at Glenwood Caverns:

Flowstone. Flowstone is usually calcite or other carbonate minerals that forms in sheets as water flows over the cave floors or walls. The layers are laid down so thin that they conform to the underlying rock at first, but they can become more rounded as they thicken. Other chemicals in the calcite can produce different colors of flowstone, such as iron that gives a red tint.

Cave Bacon. Cave bacon is a kind of drapery that forms as the water flows along the edge of an overhang and leaves a trail of calcite where surface tension suspends the water before it loses carbon dioxide and deposits the mineral. These often appear on the fringes of flowstone. The buildup reflects the ripples and flows of the first deposits and looks like fabric drapery. When the drapery formations have different bands of color or darkness because of materials in the water at different times, they are called cave bacon.

Soda Straws. Stalactites in their early stages are hollow, long translucent tubes hanging from the ceiling. These delicate structures can grow long – they have been found up to 30 feet—but they usually begin to have water flow on the outside that builds up in the more common icicle shape of stalactites.

Cave bacon:

Cave Popcorn. Cave popcorn, a fairly common formation, is one form of coralloids that resemble knobs, globes, buttons, or corral and form in air, usually from water that seeps out of rocks, or still cave pools. Unlike most other features, they form because the water evaporates rather than because it lost carbon dioxide.

See all these amazing cave features on the Adventure Park’s two cave tours—King’s Row and the Historic Fairy Caves. Learn more and make plans to go underground at www.glenwoodcaverns.com.

Theme Park Gear: What to Bring to the Adventure Park

Just as there’s an art to packing for a week-long vacation, packing the right gear for a day at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park can greatly enhance your experience at America’s only mountaintop theme park.

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is unique among theme parks. First off, the Adventure Park is located on top of a mountain at an elevation of 7,100 feet above sea level. To get to the entrance, you climb aboard a Glenwood Gondola cabin which whisks you from the valley floor to the mountaintop where there are thrill rides, family attractions, a restaurant, snack huts, general store, entertainment and more depending on the season and time of day. As the name implies, the Adventure Park is also home to Glenwood Caverns and offers two spectacular cave tours.

Understanding what to expect is key to packing the right gear for a top-notch day of fun at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. Read on or check out our video that gives a rundown of what to bring.

Gear Guide: Come Prepared, Have More Fun

Comfortable shoes.  Be prepared to do a fair bit of walking at the Adventure Park by wearing comfortable footwear. Also, skip the flip flops if possible. Instead opt for sandals with secure straps that will stay on while you ride the Glenwood Canyon Flyer, the Flying Eagle Zip Ride and the Giant Canyon Swing. Sun protection. Be sun smart. Wear protective clothing including a brimmed hat and sunglasses. You can store these items in the provided cubbies while you ride the rides. Also, be sure to lather up regularly with sunscreen that’s at least 30 SPF. If you forget yours, our complimentary sunscreen is available at the Guest Services gazebo in the plaza.
 

Hydration. It’s a good idea to have a water bottle handy to sip throughout the day. Bring one from home or purchase one of our refillable water bottles. Free ice water as well cold drinks are available all day long at the Lookout Grille and the Snack Shack.

Cool off. Though lines for rides tend to move quickly, having a battery-operated hand-held fan can take the edge off on a hot summer day. Another way to beat the heat is to take a break under the misters located outside of the 4-D theater and the Alpine Coaster. Afternoons are also a perfect time to go underground with one or both of our cave tours. The caverns stay a cool 52°F year-round and provide a refreshing respite from summertime temperatures.

A light jacket. The weather in the Colorado mountains is predictably unpredictable. Normal summertime temps range from the mid-70s to the upper 90s. Because you never know when a cold front or thunderstorm might blow through, it’s best to be prepared. If you’re prone to getting chills, a light jacket is also nice to have along on cave tours.

Hand sanitizer. Keep your crew healthy with a periodic squirt of hand sanitizer or use wet wipes as needed throughout the day.

Quarters. If you want to stash your stuff while you go on a cave tour or would rather not carry it around with you all day, coin-operated lockers are scattered throughout the Park. Lockers are just 50 cents.

Having the right gear will set you and your family up for a great day at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. Now get packing and we’ll see you on the mountaintop!

Pro Tips for Navigating Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

You wouldn’t visit the Magic Kingdom without a having plan; similarly, for a 5-star experience, use these strategies for navigating Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park during the peak summer season.

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is a top activity choice for visitors to Glenwood Springs, Colorado. It rates right up there with soaking in hot springs, rafting in Glenwood Canyon and hiking to Hanging Lake, all of which reach the pinnacle of visitation during the summer months when kids and families take time off to travel. Having a strategy for navigating our theme park will help ensure a satisfying experience.

Our Best Insider Advice for Navigating the Park

Purchase tickets in advance.  Buying tickets ahead of time is convenient and you’ll spend less time waiting in the line to take the Glenwood Gondola to the mountaintop theme park. You can also save 5 percent using promo code BUYONLIN5P.

The best value. Our Funday Pass hands-down offers the biggest bang for your buck. It includes everything—the Glenwood Gondola, unlimited turns on rides and attractions and both cave tours.

Know height requirements. All of the thrill rides require riders to be a minimum height  to ensure safety and we’re sticklers about it. Family attractions also have restrictions. We’d rather see you back next year when your child easily meets the height requirement than have to tell you sorry after you’ve stood in line on a hot day.

Check for ride closures. For a variety of reasons, we sometimes we have to close rides. Sometimes it’s a short delay, perhaps due to a thunderstorm passing through. In the event it’s a longer closure we let guests know by posting it to the website under Park Info>Rides & Attractions Status. If you’ve been dreaming about riding the Alpine Coaster, rather than be disappointed that it’s closed, we recommend checking the status page before arriving.

Dress code. Wear comfortable clothing and non-flip-flop shoes; bring a light jacket for cave tours and a hat and sunglasses for sun protection.

Visit early or late. To avoid the crowds, come when the park opens at 9 a.m. and head straight for the rides you most want to enjoy. The Park stays open until 9 p.m., seven days per week, until August 11 when we will start closing at 6 p.m. on weekdays. Until then, evenings after 5 p.m. are another great way to miss the midday traffic.

Eat early or late. Avoid the lunch rush hour at the Lookout Grille by eating before 11:30 a.m. or after 1:30 p.m.  Alternatively, enjoy a lighter meal outside at Snack Shack.

Beat the heat. The sun’s rays are strongest in the afternoon. Cool off with midday cave tours.  On a hot summer day, the caverns internal temperature is a refreshing 52°F. Other ways to beat the heat include attending a 4-D Theater show which takes place every 15 minutes. The misters will cool you off outside while the air-conditioned interior of the theater will keep you comfortable inside.

Use our free stuff. Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is located at an elevation of 7,100 feet. At higher elevations like ours the chances of getting sunburned or dehydrated increase. Complimentary sunscreen is available at the guest services shack in the plaza, and there is free ice water available at the Lookout Grille. We encourage you to use both as often as necessary.

Rain, rain, go away. Afternoon thundershowers are a regular part of summers in the high country. The good news is they roll through quickly. Many people choose to leave when it starts raining, but we advise sticking it out as the storms tend to pass quickly.

Leave it outside. Caring for our caves is another top priority at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. Contact with the outside air, detritus, food, drinks, bumping or dropping things inside the caves can create irreparable damage. That’s why we ask you to leave your backpacks, handbags, snacks, water bottles, toys, strollers, etc. outside the cave entrance. If you’re not comfortable with that, we offer lockers where you can store your belongings.

Now that you have a handle on navigating Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, make plans to visit today.

Glenwood Springs Moves to 100 Percent Renewable Electricity

Starting June 1, 2019, the historic resort town of Glenwood Springs, Colorado, will be powered by 100% renewable energy. The announcement was made at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, the mountain-top theme park overlooking Glenwood Springs, which becomes one of the first amusement parks in the country to be powered by 100% renewable energy.

Glenwood Springs, Colorado, joins an elite group June 1, 2019, as it becomes the second city in Colorado and the seventh in the U.S. to be powered by all renewable energy.

Energy buzz

“We are very excited to announce that Glenwood Springs will soon be operated on 100% renewable electricity, making us the second municipality in Colorado to do so. Many cities and towns across the country have set aggressive targets, and we are doing our part today—our future is now,” said Mayor Jonathan Godes.

Members of the community joined local dignitaries, director of the Colorado Tourism Office Cathy Ritter and officials from the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN) for the signing of the contract at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. CLEER, Clean Energy Economy for the Region, which implements programs for the City, provided free LED lightbulbs for attendees.

This contract makes Glenwood Springs Electric 100% renewable electricity; MEAN is bringing the equivalent wind power onto its grid to provide for all of the electricity in Glenwood Springs. As other communities follow in Glenwood’s path, MEAN will increase the total renewables on the grid, benefiting all the members.

Clean energy makes a difference

Long a leader in sustainable energy, Glenwood Springs has been offering and promoting energy efficiency with residents and businesses by offering rebates since 2009. Glenwood Springs has been 35% renewable on the electric grid since 2013. According to MEAN, switching to 100% wind saves the environment 77,156 tons of CO2 emission that the City of Glenwood Springs would have “created” using MEAN fossil fuel plants to generate power.

Adventure Park guided by sustainable ideals

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, well-known for its cave tours and over-the-top extreme thrill rides, was one the first businesses in Glenwood Springs to take advantage of Garfield Clean Energy and City of Glenwood efficiency rebates and install LED lighting within the cave. In addition to cost effectiveness and sustainability, the LED bulbs put off less heat, which makes it easier to keep the 54 unique species residing in the cave alive.

The City’s switch to all renewable makes Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park one of the first amusement parks in the nation to use 100% renewable electricity, a move that makes owner Steve Beckley proud.

“Our business is centered on nature-based adventure, so protecting the environment and natural resources has been our primary goal since we gave our first cave tour in May 1999,” explained Steve Beckley, who owns Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park with his wife Jeanne. “We are really pleased to be one of the first theme parks in the U.S. to have all of its electricity provided from renewable sources. Sustainable tourism is an important issue these days, and this move is a huge step in the right direction for Glenwood Springs as a whole.”

Eco-friendly practices help protect Glenwood’s future

Glenwood Springs has been a wellness destination since the 1880s, with travelers from around the world visiting to soak in the healing benefits of its mineral hot springs. Prior to that, Nomadic Ute Indian tribes inhabited the area and frequently bathed and soaked in the hot mineral waters. Today, visitors also come to fish, raft and kayak the Colorado and Roaring Fork Rivers; hike, bike and ride the trails; camp and hunt in the White River National Forest; and ski, ride, snowshoe and snowmobile at Sunlight Mountain Resort. Providing clean energy to protect the area’s natural resources is a major accomplishment.

Angie Anderson, president and CEO of the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association, said, “We are thrilled that Glenwood Springs is on the cutting-edge utilizing 100 percent renewable energy. Our community has proven that clean energy is an important part of our local economy. This commitment to sustainability makes our community shine in a positive way.”

Learn more and plan your visit to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park today.