PROMONTORY SUMMIT — The iron horses are starting to run again at Golden Spike National Historical Park.
Beginning Friday, June 5, replicas of the steam locomotives that were on hand at the original driving of the golden spike on May 10, 1869, will be on display and making demonstration runs at the park, according to a news release from the park. The historical site is 25 miles west of Corinne, off State Route 83.
In addition, several trails and facilities will be open to recreational opportunities — including The Big Fill Trail, the East Auto Tour, the Last Spike Site and the visitor center restrooms. The visitor center itself remains closed at this time.
In an interview Thursday afternoon, Superintendent Brandon Flint said his employees were “excited and thrilled” to proceed with this phased opening of Golden Spike National Historical Park.
“We’re looking forward to a great summer out here,” Flint said. “We want to make sure we keep people and our staff safe, but we also want to make sure people come out and feel and see these locomotives.”
Although the visitor center itself will be closed, Flint said they’ll have tables set up outside, with rangers on hand to answer questions. And he said the chance to see the No. 119 and Jupiter locomotives in action are a treat for the senses.
“They are bright and colorful, they are loud — whether it’s the bell or the whistle or the sound of the steam — and there’s just something special about the way the coal and oil smells to make them run,” Flint said. “It’s a stimulating place to be; it’s pretty amazing out here.”
The National Park Service has been working with federal, state and local authorities to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and use a phased-in approach to increasing access on a park-by-park basis across the country, according to the news release. All decisions are made in consultation with the White House, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state and local health officials.
Summer locomotive demonstrations begin this weekend, with the Union Pacific No. 119 locomotive being trotted out throughout the day Friday through Sunday, June 5-7. No. 119 makes a second series of appearances the following weekend, June 12-14. The remaining two weekends in the month — June 19-21 and June 26-28 — will also involve the Central Pacific Jupiter locomotive.
Demonstration runs take place at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on those days.
Park officials are currently waiving all entry fees to the park, according to the news release.
Representatives of the Golden Spike park encourage members of the public to follow local health orders, practice “Leave no trace” principles, maintain social distance from others and avoid high-risk outdoor activities.
Despite wildfires in the area, as of Thursday afternoon all areas of Golden Spike National Historical Park remained open to the public, according to the park’s Facebook page.