Girdwood’s popular hand tram will remain closed through summer

The hand tram on Girdwood’s Winner Creek Trail will remain closed this summer, another effect of the coronavirus pandemic, officials said.

The tram generally opens around Memorial Day and closes in October.

The tram operates on a pulley system, suspending hikers 100 feet above Glacier Creek in a small metal cage as they pull themselves about 200 feet across a gorge.

Since opening in 2001, the tram has become an attraction as some visitors hike the Winner Creek Trail just to ride it.

[Spring weather is pulling Alaskans outside, but virus precautions are still in play]

However, the tram was closed indefinitely last year after two people fell from its platform, one dying and one suffering serious injuries.

The city was looking at ways to make the tram safer, including increased signage, in order to reopen it. It was also going to get cost estimates for installing safety equipment, like additional railings and netting. But those efforts were delayed as government focus shifted to COVID-19.


Additionally, said Anchorage Economic and Community Development Director Chris Schutte, the tram could serve as a point of congregation. While no official count of tram use exists, a volunteer in 2017 counted 248 people riding the tram in a four-hour period.

Schutte said it would be hard to operate the tram while ensuring proper social distancing.

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Aubrey Wieber

Aubrey Wieber covers Anchorage city government, politics and general assignments for the Daily News. He previously covered the Oregon Legislature for the Salem Reporter, was a reporter for the Salt Lake Tribune and Bend Bulletin, and was a reporter and editor at the Post Register in Idaho Falls. Contact him at awieber@adn.com.