Gold Camp Road's tunnel three is off limits. But U.S. Forest Service officers report that didn't stop someone from ignoring all warnings and starting a fire inside early Monday morning, destroying part of the historical landmark in the process.
"At this point we can definitely say there was some human involvement there's no other cause that's at all possible for this fire, " said officer Tom Healy.
Most human involvement on this stretch of road includes hiking or mountain biking, but for at least another day, hikers will have to stay away.
"It is selfish because it takes away the great outdoors for all Colorado citizens," said Geoff Clark.
And many citizens are waiting to hear the results of the U.S. Forest Service study toward the future of opening Gold Camp Road to automobile traffic. Some don't want that to happen, and authorities suspect destroying the tunnel is a way to derail the process.
"That's certainly an element of the investigation,? Healy said. ?Was this an intentional act that was somehow tied to that project?"
But for now, authorities say every possible motive is under consideration, including Eco-terrorism and the chance this was unintentional. No one's taken responsibility for starting the fire, and investigators hope someone who knows something will come forward.
Investigators have their work cut out for them. One of the things delaying the investigation is the amount of debris falling from the tunnel ceiling. Authorities believe they have about two feet of rock to sift through before they can look for evidence.