PBS documentary about Glenwood’s Fairy Caves wins viewers’ choice | PostIndependent.com

PBS documentary about Glenwood’s Fairy Caves wins viewers’ choice

The Fairy Caves are seen here in a historic picture, circa 1900.
Frontier Historical Society, Glenwood Springs, Colorado, Schutte Collection

One of Glenwood Springs’ most popular attractions took home a special award last week.

The Fairy Caves were voted the 2019 Viewers’ Choice Episode, beating out the six other episodes, including the Powell Expedition, which finished in second.

The episode produced by Rocky Mountain PBS and History Colorado, is part of a series that explores the people, events and places that shaped Colorado.

Out of more than 4,700 votes cast through an online campaign, the caves took home the prize with 1,646 votes.

“We beat them by six points, it was tight. It’s great for all of Glenwood,” Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park co-owner Steve Beckley said. “The caves are just an amazing environment, and it is wonderful to be recognized for it.”

The caves are set deep within Iron Mountain, which looms over the northern edge of the Colorado River town. They were formed by the natural flowing hot springs, unlike most caves found in Colorado, and were discovered in the 1800s.

Beckley said the caves have lots of unique features. There are 54 unique species, meaning it’s the only place in the world where these species are found.

“I think the main thing is it’s one of the largest cave systems in Colorado,” Beckley said.

Beckley and his wife, Jeanne, purchased the Fairy Caves back in the late 1990s, and began construction on accessing the natural caverns in 1998.

They didn’t create the caves, but created what they feel was an environmentally friendly way for the public to visit the underground features.

The Beckleys are currently working to reopen the park later this month, after closing for the late fall and winter to replace the former tramway with a new, more efficient model.

After four months of being closed, the Adventure Park is less than two weeks away from opening for business on March 16.

Steve Beckley is excited to get the park up and running again, and said 2019 is a big year for the park with an upcoming milestone.

“We opened to the public in 1999, so this year will be our 20th anniversary,” Beckley added.

kmills@postindependent.com