TUCSON – The tram service at Sabino Canyon has been at a stand-still since July 1.
There have been many complaints from visitors who miss the service that has been around since the mid-1980s.
The tram takes people from the bottom, all the way to the top, so it is a way to transport people who are not able to get there otherwise, but want to see the canyon. It’s also for hikers to get to their trailhead.
“It was quite disappointing to find that there wasn’t anything running at the moment,” said Tessa Johnston, visiting from Canada.
Johnston and her friends are on vacation from Vancouver. She wanted to take the shuttle up to see the canyon because she is not able to hike, but since it is not running, she had to wait for her friends at the entrance.
“Well I could find something to do, but it’s a bit frustrating,” Johnston said.
Johnston is like many who have been disappointed since July when the tram stopped running because the permit expired.
“Our company came from Oregon to see us and this was one of the things we knew they would love and we’re very disappointed,” said Jane Cannon, Marana Resident. “I can’t believe they didn’t renew the permit.”
For Cannon, the tram is great because it takes visitors around Sabino Canyon without having to take the long trek uphill.
Well Heidi Schewel, Coronado National Forest Public Information Officer, says they have been working with Regional Partnering Center (RPC) to implement a new tram service.
“What we’re trying to do is really provide the public with what they told us they wanted early on in the process,” said Schewel. “So we are investing some time up front to make sure the permit is complete, everything is covered and we’ll be able to provide the best experience for those who want to ride the shuttle service in Sabino Canyon.”
Until the permit is completed and signed, there are not many details.
Right now, they are testing the vehicles. So there is no word when they will officially be in the canyon.
And as far as why it has taken so long:
“We’re trying to accommodate the needs and desires of a wide array of people who want different things,” said Schewel. “So we collaborate with people on just about everything we do and try to come up with the best possible outcome that satisfies the most people, while protecting the environment.”
They will be starting with a fleet of gasoline vehicles and they will eventually transition to electric.